Rangers' left feeling Jacked off
Paulo Sousa returned to Loftus Road almost a year after his release from the club with a Swansea side that look to be Play Off certainties despite their poor scoring record that includes just 16 goals in their 18 away fixtures. This contest had all the ingredients to be a possible snooze fest if the R’s attacking threat couldn’t get a stranglehold on the game. Let’s see how the events unfold.
Neil Warnock was forced into two changes for today’s fixture with Damion Stewart missing out through suspension after being sent off at Reading last Tuesday and Jay Simpson also missed out through injury picked up in training on Friday. Peter Ramage and Akos Buzsaky returned to the starting line up as Angelo Balanta, Joe Oastler and Lee Brown (no not me, even though I did get a bit of a cheer from the gang as my name was read out) took up the spare seats on the bench left by Ramage, Buzsaky and the recently departed Gary Borrowdale.
In the stands today along with myself were Lofty, PK, Corp, Sam and Justin. Unfortunately Jenson missed out through work commitments and California Hoop was also missing from the Upper Loft that was a lot busier than usual because of a ticket promotion that encouraged more fans to attend and fill up Loftus Road. A similar promotion is/has been run for Tuesday night’s game against Derby.
Within minutes of the start Rangers’ conjured up two chances. Firstly Adel Taarabt drilled a shot in from over 30 yards but was gratefully received by the arms of De Vries in the Swans goal. Quickly after it was Rangers’ on the attack again after Gorkss played a ball to Buzsaky and the Magical Magyar turned and volleyed from outside the box, the ball flashing just past the post and knocking over a water bottle or two just to the side of the Swansea goal.
Five minutes later the R’s produced their third great chance in the opening ten minutes. Taarabt and his box of tricks attacked the right hand side and passed to Buzsaky who in turn crossed to fellow Hungarian Priskin and he dragged his shot wide when under pressure from Swans defender Alan Tate.
Swansea then used a route one counter attack and came the closest to opening the scoring. A long ball was flicked on by Shefki Kuqi into the path of Nathan Dyer. The little wingers shot beat Carl Ikeme and bounced off the inside of the post and stayed out before Matt Hill cleared the lines.
Despite being the more attacking side in the game the R’s were once again on the back foot after another Swansea counter attack. Another long ball over the top caught out the R’s defence and it was Dyer again with the golden opportunity to score and just as he was about to pull the trigger Matt Hill caught up with him and flicked the ball away from Dyer but looked as if it was dangerously going in the R’s goal but luckily Ikeme was in the way as the ball flicked off his shoulder and very fortuitously bounce just wide of the post.
Rangers’ thought they had got the opening goal of the game shortly after. A corner from the left hand side was cleared as far as Gorkss on the edge of the box. His shot got deflected into the path of Taarabt and he slotted the ball away but the linesman had quickly raised his flag and disappointed the R’s crowd that had half heartedly started celebrating.
Swansea once again created a fantastic chance just before the break. Swansea broke clear with three attackers with just Matt Connolly and Carl Ikeme guarding the R’s goal. Bauza opted to shoot when he could’ve laid the ball off and created an even easier chance for one of his fellow team mates and Carl Ikeme gladly smothered the ball from the Spaniards weak shot.
At half time it’s fair to say we could’ve very easily been three down because of some poor defending of Swansea’s counter attacking. Rangers looked to attack the game a lot more out of the two teams but because Swansea had at least nine men behind the ball it made breaking them down difficult. Because of this the entertainment value wasn’t great at all but in all fairness this was expected and a 0-0 or 1-0 score line was predicted by many of the gang before the game.
The second half saw Swansea start the better of the two teams and fashioned two chances from two separate free kicks and both were saved fairly easily by Ikeme.
On 57 minutes the deadlock was broken and when there was seemingly no danger. Bauza played a ball over the top and looked to be over hit and going straight to Ikeme but with Hill running and not facing the ball he misjudged ducking the ball and it hit the back of his head and fallen into the path of Nathan Dyer and he easily tucked the ball home into Ikeme’s bottom right hand corner.
Immediately after the goal a double substitution was made, it was lined up before the goal, with Antonio German and Lee Cook coming on for the Hungarian duo of Buzsaky and Priskin. Priskin’s substitution was greeted by cheers from the R’s faithful after failing to put in any impressive performances in a Rangers’ shirt, it was nice to see German get more time on the pitch after looking impressive whenever he’s played.
The double change gave the R’s fresh impetus and attacked the game with more venom and looked a lot more threatening when going forward.
Swansea started their time wasting tactics at around the 65 minute mark and looked to take their time at every throw in, goal kick, free kick, any time they could and you can really see why they are the lowest scoring team in the division.
Rangers’ attacked and when Lee Cook took a free kick from the right hand side and Matt Connolly rose highest and his header beat De Vries but dropped just wide of the left hand side of the post, this was the start of the R’s cranking up the pressure on the visitors.
Hogan Ephraim then made way as Rowan Vine replaced him.
Three minutes after the substitution Rangers’ finally got their reward.
Alan Tate had a routine header back to his goalkeeper but mistimed it and conceded a corner. From Taarabt’s corner deep corner, which De Vries flapped at, Vine played the ball back across goal into the path of German and at the second attempt the R’s youngster stabbed home from close range.
Rangers’ continued to press and were the recipients of some poor refereeing decisions which saw Swansea awarded a series of soft free kicks and some very questionable offside decisions.
Five minutes before the end Rangers’ thought they had grabbed the winner.
Taarabt’s free kick from just outside the box was blocked by the wall and fell in the path Matt Connolly and he smashed the ball home from close range to send sets of R’s fans into celebration as some spotted the linesman’s flag straight away. I’d like to see it again because it was a very close call at the time.
Deep into injury time Rangers’ seemed to of had a clear breakaway and have the perfect opportunity to get a winner. Rowan Vine was tripped and advantage was allowed until Vine broke into the clear and it was at that point that referee Boyeson pulled play back to the original foul in what was a ludicrous decision and kill off any chance of us getting a winner.
In summary it’s fair to say we got out of jail in the opening 45 minutes when Swansea were left to rue their missed opportunities but Rangers’ were always the most positive of the two teams and the turning point for us came when German and Cook came on. German put in so much more effort up front than Priskin and chased down defenders and just looked hungry. On the performances of both Cook and German in the half hour they had to impress they have to be in the starting eleven on Tuesday night, even PK said that Cook should start and this came as a such a shock to us that I’m surprised none of us fainted.
The final task of the day is our Man of the Match award. With Lofty back in the stands with us he has resumed his duties as choosing our winner. Antonio German and Lee Cook’s efforts have been looked at as the turning point in the game from us but it was a player that was on the field for the whole 90 minutes that impressed once again. A star really has been unearthed this season and has to be one of the contenders for this seasons Player of the Year. He bossed the midfield once again and just continues to chase, hassle and work his socks off every game and because of this we once again name Alejandro Faurlin as the man of the match.
QPR: Ikeme, Ramage, Leigertwood, Buzsaky (Cook 58), Gorkss, Connolly, Faurlin, Hill, Ephraim (Vine 73), Priskin (German 58), Taarabt.
Subs: Balanta, Cerny, Brown, Oastler.
Goals: German (76)
Swansea City: Devries, Williams, Tate, Britton, Dyer (Butler 84), Rangel, Bauza, Gower (Beattie 89), Richards, Kuqi, Cotterill (Van Der Gun 66).
Subs: Cornell, Pratley, Pintado, Trundle.
Goals: Dyer (57)
Referee: Mr C Boyeson
Attendance: 15, 502