Oliver Gives Villa More
QPR returned to Super Sunday for the first time since we were promoted back to the top tier.
Today's visitors were Aston Villa.
The gang were in near full attendance this afternoon, only California Hoop missed out but was able to catch the game whilst being at home looking after the family.
Lofty, Jenson and Sophie were already sat outside the Springbok when PK, Jess and myself arrived after our mini shopping spree in the clubshop and PK running down South Africa Road chasing after Joey Barton to sign a birthday card for Sam as she celebrated her birthday today. With the pace and the way he managed to skip between people in the road, I suggest Neil Warnock look into signing him on a short term contract as there are some defenders that wouldn't know how to keep him quiet.
There was only one change to the team that won 3-0 at Wolves last week. Fitz Hall came in for Danny Gabbidon.
Heidar Helguson took the vacant place on the bench.
The R's crowd were in fine voice at the start of the game and really made a great atmosphere inside Loftus Road.
Rangers controlled the first half and created so many shooting opportunities but if it wasn't for some good Villa blocking and being fortuitous that the R's couldn't make the most of the chances.
Taarabt came the closest to breaking the deadlock in the first half. His turn and beautiful curling effort from 25 yards out had beaten Given but just the outside of the post denied the magical Morroccan of his first Premier League goal.
Jay Bothroyd was the culprit of missing the next R's chance. Joey Barton floated in a beautiful free kick from the right hand side and Bothroyd jumped highest but could only glance the header wide instead of powering his effort on target.
R's were flowing and Villa were looking very ordinary and very physical, some may say dirty, I would say very dirty!
On the half hour mark you began to see Villa's negativity begin to come to light as Shay Given began time wasting and continued to do so all the way through until the half time whistle.
Fitz Hall and Anton Ferdinand had Gabby Agbonlahor in their back pockets and it was evident that the little front man was getting frustrated with the lack of service.
At half time the gang gathered around on the concourse in a very positive mood. The way the R's were playing shows how far we've come since the transfer market has closed and the brand of football being played is a joy to watch......... we just need to score that all important goal to get the confidence rolling.
The second half started and Villa seemed to have a different, more attacking approach that actually made the R's work a lot harder than they had to in a very one sided first half.
On 57 minutes controversy hit Loftus Road.
Warnock crossed in from the left hand side and Agbonlahor was stretching at the back post to reach it and tumbled to the floor and the ball went out for a goal kick.
However the referee, Michael Oliver, pointed to the spot! Much to the bemusement to most of the players on the pitch, the entire 16,000 people in attendance and however million watching at home, how was it a penalty?
The texts came flooding in saying how much of a joke the decision it was and even after seeing it at home tonight I'm baffled! Minimal contract and no appeal from any Villa fans or the players, that just shows you how much of a joke it was.
Barry Bannan stepped up and only just managed to slide it past Paddy Kenny to give the visitors an unworthy and very contraversial lead.
It just didn't seem as if Rangers could buy a decision off of a ref that didn't seem to want to give anything to the home team.
There were two handball appeals, one of them a stonewall penalty as Hutton pretty much tipped the ball around the post. The second shout was a hopeful one but they have been given before.
A number of challenges worthy of yellow cards and in some cases a second yellow were continuously overlooked by a ref clearly wanting to have the spotlight whilst being on tv.
As we entered injury time Traore clumsily clattered into Albrighton and received his second yellow. His first yellow was for the Villa penalty awarded earlier in the half so we now have Traore suspended against Fulham next Sunday.
This however did not deter the R's searching for an all important equaliser right at the end.
In one final attempt, a hopeful ball was aimed at DJ Campbell and his flick found Heidar Helguson who in turn drove a cross along the six yard box and deflected off a Villa defender onto Richard Dunne and into the back of the net.
Overall you have to say that scoring a last minute equaliser is pleasing but there is the sense that we really were a lot better than Villa and deserved the three points based on the entire game.
Its just a case of needing to take our chances and if we can have a striker that is always in and around the six yard box then we will score more goals. DJ Campbell needs to start games, he's a little live wire and now he's looking to be back to full fitness you can be sure a starting place is only just around the corner.
We go onto Man of the Match.
There are a few contenders for this. Jenson selected Paddy Kenny for his superb stop from Bannan's free kick in the first half, how he kept that out I really don't know.
PK selected Shaun Wright-Phillips for his effort and work rate getting up and down the by-line. Surely its only a matter of time until he gets his first R's goal.
Jess selected Luke Young for another strong performance in defence. It was also Young that was sliding in at the end that caused the Villa defender to kick the ball onto Dunne for the own goal.
However, the Man of the Match goes to Adel Taarabt. He looks to be getting back to his best and now he seems to be passing the right balls at the right times he's looking to be a class above once again.
We will return next week when we travel to Fulham!