Lofty Heights... 'Ohhh Bobby Zamooooora!!!'

A look at Queens Park Rangers F.C. through the eyes of the fans - follow us on twitter @loftyheights70, @LoftyQPR and @qprleeroy

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rangers' show plenty of Hart at the Lane.

The R's faithful made the short trip up to North London for the trip to Spurs today in what was our second London Derby in a week. Could Rangers' spring another upset? We were about to find out.

The day started very early for some on the R's fans as they completed a walk from Loftus Road to White Hart Lane for the Tiger Cubs, a fantastic bit of charity work by the fans and hopefully they raised plenty of money for the cause.
For the Lofty Heights gang though we took to the road at 12.15 with myself and Jess driving to PK's house to meet with him and Jenson. We met shortly after 12.30 and made our way to Wembley were we met up with Lofty at the Ace Cafe on the North Circular and then begun our journey along the roadwork filled North Circular and A10.
We arrived in Tottenham at roughly 2pm and parked along the red routeway, quite a lucky spot by PK and Jenson as that meant we could avoid paying the extortionate parking fee of £15 in one of the matchday car parks.
We made the 10 minute walk down to the ground and as we reached the road of the supporters entrance we had two lots of Sky cameras flashed on the gang as we walked past, Jenson gave the camera a fist pump and Lofty shouted "Come on you R's" as we walked past, little did we realise that an hour later as the build up was being aired on Sky Sports that we would be shown on live tv doing this! As people recognised us the texts, tweets and facebook notifications came flooding in to the gang along with a few of the mug shots, here they are for your enjoyment.

Jenson giving the fist pump

Me and Lofty with Jess' head hiding behind me.

We made our way to our seats, myself and Jess were just six rows behind Lofty, PK and Jenson and we were ready to roll.

Neil Warnock made one change to the starting eleven that beat Chelsea last Sunday.
Armand Traore replaced Clint Hill. Danny Gabbidon took his place on the bench as he makes his comeback from the knee injury that has sidelined him since the game at Wigan.


Spurs started the game with real purpose and within the first five minutes Paddy Kenny was forced into three fantastic saves and keeping the R's in touch at 0-0.
10 minutes in and Rangers' were forced into a substitution. Yes it was Fitz Hall that had picked up the injury, no shocks there, he was replaced by Danny Gabbidon.
Soon after that, Taarabt run at the Spurs defence before mis-hitting his shot which Helguson managed to stick his foot on, only to see the ball fly over the bar.
On 21 minutes we had our first goal of the game.
Friedel's goal kick was nodded by Adebayor into Lennon's path. Lennon run at the R's defence with his lightening pace and no-one got near him before he slid a perfect through ball in the path of Bale, who hit a low drive past Paddy Kenny into the bottom corner.
For the first time we actually heard the Spurs fans celebrate, but that was short lived as they soon sat down quietly and resumed watching football in their library.
Spurs continued to give us all sorts of problems and it really should've been 2-0 when Bale arrived unmarked in the area but he put his effort over the bar.
On 33 minutes it was 2-0.
Van Der Vaart was quickest to react to Ledley King's deflected shot and Van Der Vaart was there to turn and place the ball home from 12 yards out.
Rangers' were all over the place and just looking completely out of sorts. Taarabt was not getting into the game and was proving to be a hindrance to his team mates. To be fair there were not to many players out there that could be proud of the first half as we went in feeling lucky to only be 2-0 down.

The gang gathered on the concourse at half time wondering if this could be another Fulham. I made the shout that maybe if we took off Taarabt and Barton, replacing them with Mackie and Buzsaky we'd be better off attacking wise. The interval seemed to fly by and we were soon back in our seats.

Two substitutions were made at half time, one of them being a suggestion of mine.
Taarabt and Derry made way as Bothroyd and Mackie were introduced.
Rangers' started the half much better and began to give the Spurs defence a lot more to worry about.
Bothroyd gave us more options in the space behind Helguson and was able to hold the ball up more so that we could get Wright-Phillips more involved in our attacks and get Jamie Mackie hassling Assou-Ekotto down the R's right hand side.
Faurlin was able to put his foot on the ball and pick out his team mates with a lot more ease. We began to look like a team that were fighting for each other and could create problems for Spurs.
After a good 15 minute spell the R's got the goal they deserved.
Barton's corner has headed goal wards by Helguson and Jay Bothroyd nodded home from 3yards out to claim his first R's goal since his transfer in the summer.
This woke Spurs up and on 72 minutes Spurs got their 3rd.
Lennon and Bale played two one-two's with each other before Bale sidefooted past Paddy Kenny, just as it looked as if Rangers' had rattled Spurs.
Rangers' still created chances, the best falling to Luke Young as his header was cleared off the line from Barton's corner.


At half time we feared this might turn into a rout but the second half performance was one of pride and really showed that we could compete with teams in this division.
When Taarabt came off I feel we look more together as a team and really fight for the cause. Hopefully over the coming weeks we will see others that will fight for the shirt get a chance to stake their claim for Taarabt's position. Bothroyd was exceptional in the second half and helped create a different dimension to our attack with Helguson in front of him. I'm hoping that Buzsaky gets his run soon as well as we really lack quality at dead ball situations, if Buzsaky is taking our free kicks and corners then we will create more chances and inevitably score more goals.

Today's Man of the Match was an easy choice for the gang with everyone voting for Paddy Kenny. Kenny kept the score very respectable in the first half and even made his fair share of great saves in the second half.

The gang went their separate ways just after 6.30pm and made the shortish journey to our two destinations.
Jess got very excited as we drove through Tottenham and spotted some Jewish people in the streets and tried taking photos of them to share a joke with one of her friends, unfortunately they all hid away before she managed to get a photo.

All in all we all had a great day out and we still have many more enjoyable trips to come.

Lofty will return next week for the visit of Man City, another easy game!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

I've Never Felt More Like Singing The Blues...

QPR 1-0 Chelsea

If there was anyway to record your first home Premier League win of the season, then this was it, as the R's beat local rivals, Chelsea at Loftus Road, in a derby that had just about everything this afternoon...

In many ways, this is a report I have been dreading writing. Mainly as at some point, I would have to refer to our local rivals, as a quality side, which undoubtedly they are and proved it this afternoon. Testament to this would come amongst the gang who assembled at the Springbok to whom none, including myself, predicted anything much positive, especially after Sam had texted through the line ups. My personal attitude was that win, lose or draw, if Rangers played with heart and passion in a game that means so much to the supporters, I would be more than happy. But as we all know, in a game of football, anything can happen... and it certainly did...

We all took our seats nice and early to take in the atmosphere and be there for when the teams came out.... and when they did, it was something I had never witnessed before at Loftus Road. As the P.A. announcer read out the Chelsea line up, it resulted in 15,000 R's fans all booing as one and must have been so initimidating, especially for the many foreigners in the Chelsea side.

As the game kicked off, it looked as though the R's fans had their wish come true, with Rangers chasing down everything giving Chelsea little time on the ball. They did however have the first chance of the game but Sturridge badly scuffed his effort well wide.

On 9 minutes, we were in dreamland as Helguson chased and collected a long ball, Luiz barged him over and referee Chris Foy didn't hesitate in pointing to the penalty spot. After a tug if war with Taarabt for the ball, Helguson stepped up and made no mistake to cue absolute bedlam amongst the R's fans.

There were half chances for Lampard and Drogba as the R's were forcing the visitors into long range efforts. More good play from the R's saw Taarabt put Wright-Phillips away on the left on 33 minutes. The Rangers winger was then bundled to the ground by Boswinga when through on goal and when the referee raised the red card aloft to the Chelsea right back, it was celebrated like it was a second goal by the jubilant R's fans. The resulting free kick saw Cech make a fine save from Taarabt.

Things went from bad to worse for Chelsea on 41 minutes as the referee's red card made another appearance - Didier Drogba this time getting his marching orders for a quite awful two footed lunge on Taarabt. It was party time at Loftus Road!!

Despite being down to 9 men, Chelsea started the second half the better with Frank Lampard seeing a header deflected wide only a minute after the restart. But on 52 minutes, Rangers started finding the gaps and Taarabt found Luke Young on the right, who perhaps should have done much better than firing wide of Cech's goal. Shortly after it was Barton's turn as he ran half the length of the pitch before firing just wide.

Chelsea had a penalty claim of their own turned away by Foy as Hall looked to have bundled over Lampard on 67 minutes and 5 minutes later, the Chelsea end were crying again as Foy waved away a second protest, this time as Luiz claimed he was held by Helguson.

With the lack of numbers, Rangers always looked dangerous when breaking away and as Taarabt was felled on the edge of the box on 77 minutes, the resulting free kick from Barton was blasted over by Helguson from close range. A goal that surely would have sealed it and calm R's fans nerves.

It was hearts in mouth time on with 9 minutes to go when Ivanovic swung in an superb pinpoint ball on to the head of Anelka, but thankfully his effort was straight at Paddy Kenny. Chelsea then increased the hostility in the crowd - as the ball was kicked out for Shaun Derry's injury, they unsportingly played on instead of giving the ball back and it nearly led to an equaliser - Luiz hit an overhead kick, but Lampard, placed in front of the goal, deflected the ball over the bar.

The Chelsea frustrations boiled over in injury time with Meireles, Luiz, Cole and Terry all being booked and that lovely, charming man that is Ashley Cole, would surely had seen his marcing orders after bundling over Mackie - but Foy instead chose to blow the final whistle and cue the celebrations amongst the Loftus Road faithful.

QPR: Kenny, Hill, Derry (Mackie 82), Hall, Taarabt (Smith 62), Faurlin, Barton, Young, Helguson, Wright-Phillips, Ferdinand Subs: Murphy, Orr, Bothroyd, Buzsaky, Puncheon.

Man of the Match - could quite easily be given to the entire team today. Sky gave it to Faurlin, Joey Barton had his best game in a QPR shirt to date and Taarabt was causing Chelsea plenty of problems. Jess picked out Heidar Helguson as her choice and a good shout it was too. However, unfortunately for her, the rest of the gang went for the same player, making it unanimous for an awesome display from Anton Ferdinand.

Well how can I begin to summarise that? A magical day for all involved at QPR. The tactics were spot on, the players to a man, were magnificent, as were the supporters who so deserve a day like this!! As Andres Villas-Boas already has, Chelsea will criticise the referee and Terry, Lampard and Cole were in his face all afternoon. But this was QPR's day and no one can take that away from us!!

The gang will be well represented once more at White Hart Lane next Sunday but until then, let's keep the smiles firmly on our faces!!!

Come on You R'ssssss!!!!!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's Samba Time at Loftus Road as R's Held at Home Again...

QPR 1-1 Blackburn

The search for their first home Premier League win of the season continued as the R's were held at home by struggling Blackburn, in what was a disappointing game at Loftus Road.

Again, the gang arrived and assembled at various different times and locations and when walking past the Club Shop, saw a HUGE queue to get in, with people obviously wishing to spend the their vouchers received from the club during the week in compensation for the season ticket increase set down from the previous owners. I really don't know what to spend mine on yet, but there was no way I was getting into the shop today...

From there I ventured to the Springbok, of which was again, a sweatbox due to this ridiculous no drinking outside the pub rule that came into force at the tail end of last season. This really has killed the pre match atmosphere for me personally and I caught up with the gang outside the pub, which included Sophie and Birthday Boy, Richard, as well as my dear friend Laura and Dad, Graham. I later bumped into newly weds, Corinne and Mark White who were married earlier this month in the South of France. Many congratulations guys!!

For those that were in the pub, they would have seen the new Rangers owner, Tony Fernandes who was on what was a popular, meet and greet walk around and was very refreshing to see the guy wanting to meet the R's supporters. Well done that man!

Onto the game and it was a changed line up from the last time out at Fulham with Traore returning to left back, Helguson coming in for Bothroyd and the first start in 10 months since breaking his leg, ironically against Blackburn, for Jamie Mackie, at the expense of Adel Taarabt who dropped to the bench. News had also filtered through that sadly, DJ Campbell, had suffered a broken metetarsal during the week and faces a spell on the sidelines. We wish him a VERY speedy recovery!!

Following a scrappy opening 10 minutes, Blackburn almos took the lead when Ferdinand sliced Olsson's cross onto his own bar and over. But on 17 minutes, it was Rangers that took the lead - Helguson's header from a corner was blocked and poorly cleared with the ball falling back to to the feet of Helguson, who chipped into the top corner. Other reports are saying it was a cross come shot, but I would like to think he meant it as it looked one hell of a smart finish.

Rangers almost added a second moments later when Helguson was inches away from Mackie's low cross from the left. Joey Barton also went close, before the match drew level on 24 minutes - a Blackburn corner was headed home by Samba with embarrasing ease. Shaun Wrght-Phillips long range shot went just wide, but the Blackburn goal saw them up their game a great deal and the impressive Junior Hoilett saw his effort cleared off the line by Ferdinand.

Onto the second half and Rangers started brightly - Wright-Phillips cross was just out of reach for the on rushing Shaun Derry. Taarabt joined proceedings on 64 minutes and could have made an instant impact, but miscued his shot terribly after being put through by Wright-Phillips.

Inside the last ten minutes and Rangers had a penalty appeal turned away after having his legs being taken by Samba, but referee Clatternburg was having none of it. Just when it seemed Blackburn were holding on, they broke away and Olsson's effort from the left forced a fine save from Paddy Kenny.

QPR: Kenny, Derry, Hall, Faurlin, Mackie (Taarabt 64), Traore, Barton, Young, Helguson, Wright-Phillips (Smith 83), Ferdinand. Subs: Murphy, Orr, Bothroyd, Buzsaky, Puncheon.

Man of the Match - a difficult one for so many reasons with myself and Lee going for Heidar Helguson and California Hoop going for Anton Ferdinand. But with 3 votes from Corp, PK and Jenson, today's award goes to Alejandro Faurlin.

To summarise, personally I am disappointed with this latest outing from the R's. With respect, if we are going to stay in the Premier League, we have to be beating teams like Blackburn at home. But like in so many other games this season, Rangers lacked a cutting edge and the need for another striker becomes more evident.

Blackburn at home has now completed our induction to the Premier League and in the next 3 weeks, Chelsea and Man City visit Loftus Road and in between that, a visit to White Hart Lane. But hey, these are the games we are here for isn't it??? Bring them on!!!

Come on You R'ssssssss!!!!

Sunday, October 02, 2011

Handy Andy Makes An R's Out Of Us

Today over 3,000 R's fans make the short walk from Loftus Road to Craven Cottage for the first West London vs South West London derby in over 10years against Chelsea's little brother, Fulham.

After clawing our way to getting tickets a few weeks ago, Jess, Tony, Alan and myself left Henley just after 11 and made our way to Loftus Road so we could park up and catch the tube down to Hammersmith and then walked from Hammersmith to Craven Cottage.
On our way down to the Cottage we stopped off at the Distillers for a cheeky beer on what was a glorious day.
We were all in high spirits and were all highly confident that we would take something away for the game, 2-0 and 3-0 predictions were the most popular choices amongst us.
Having made the final part of the journey by foot and got to Craven Cottage at about 2ish.
Inside the ground we enjoyed another beer, albeit a tad warm, and then met up with Luke and Phill before making our way to our seats.
Jenson and Lofty were in attendance as well but we didn't get a chance to catch up with the boys.

There was one forced change from the side that drew against Villa last week. Armand Traore missed out through suspension, he was replaced by Bradley Orr.
Apparently we lost Matt Connolly through injury on Saturday and Fitz Hall tweaked a hamstring in the warm up to the game but Hall still took his place in the starting line up as Bruno Perone was the only back up defender left in the squad, and let's face it he's no-where near up to Premier League standards.

Rangers started the game brightly and fashioned the first chance of the game, which ended up going safely into Schwarzer's hands.
After the first minute had passed it all went downhill from there.
Paddy Kenny got a firm hand onto Dembele's shot but could only palm the ball out to the six yard box and Andy Johnson was there to pick up the scraps and give Fulham a 1-0 lead on 81 seconds, nightmare!
Within ten minutes it should have been 2-0. Dempsey found himself unmarked with a near open goal from 12 yards out but luckily Orr was there to stick a leg out and save the R's blushes for a while longer.
On 19 minutes thing went from bad to worse.
Fitz Hall had a routine clearance and concede a throw in when Andy Johnson was breathing down his neck. Hall must've got a call from Kenny to leave it and the usually reliable R's keeper made a right mess of things and ended up conceding a penalty as he took Johnson down and gave away a needless penalty.
Danny Murphy stepped up and coolly put the penalty away and the celebrations were so tame that it was expected that they were to beat us, gits!
The R's faithful kept on singing and even after Johnson bagged Fulham's third after even more slack defending, it was still the R's fans that could be heard singing above the 10 fans that were singing in the stand opposite. This was quite easily the quietest home support I have ever come across, maybe its because you cant teach tourists songs in an afternoon, maybe soon they will start handing out song sheets on entrance to the ground to try and drum up an atmosphere.

At half time we made our way to the fully packed out concourse that you could barely breathe in, let alone let out a sneaky fart! We quickly made our way back to our seats and sat down to endure the second half.

Shaun Derry and Adel Taarabt made way at half time with Tommy Smith and DJ Campbell taking their places.
Apparently Taarabt stormed out in a huff and left the ground upon the decision, it'll be interesting to see what happens to him now after another hissy fit.

The R's enjoyed a good ten minute spell after the break but full service was resumed on 60 minutes as Johnson bagged his hat trick with a tidy finish.
Five minutes later Dempsey made it 5-0.
Then came the R's best moment of the game...................... Jamie Mackie coming on for Jay Bothroyd to mark his comeback from his broken leg that he suffered at Blackburn in January.
However two minutes later it was 6-0 as Zamora joined in on the fun.
Mackie was clean through and clearly got pulled back when through on goal yet we had another blind referee and linesman and we were denied another penalty to deny us a consolation goal to go away with.

The R's fans were superb today, the noise they created and really stayed behind the team even though we were thoroughly outclassed by Fulham today. If we can carry on that kind of away support then the R's players will enjoy playing away from home this season.
Its a shame that some people completely lose the faith so quickly and slag the team off when they have one bad game. We've played Newcastle, who are third, off the park a few weeks ago and then controlled large amounts of the game against Aston Villa last week. Today we played against a team that are playing in Europe and have plenty of experienced Premier League footballers at their disposal. They have two decent strikers who know how to score goals in this league, something that we are lacking severely. It's still early days in our Premier League journey and days like this will provide key in our learnings and really help us become stronger as a team as we look on gaining Premier League survival.

Now onto the hard part, Man of the Match. Jamie Mackie is the only player that really sticks out to me and gets the players mention but for me the undoubted people of the match were the R's fans and that deserves rewarding, so the Man of the Match goes to the travelling fans that stuck with the R's throughout the entire game.

Fulham: Schwarzer, Riise, Sidwell, Hangeland, Baird, Johnson (Ruiz 75), Murphy (Etuhu 83), Dempsey, Zamora, Grygera, Dembele (Sa 87).

Subs: Etheridge, Kelly, Senderos, Duff.

Goals: Johnson (2, 39 & 60), Murphy (pen 20), Dempsey (65), Zamora (74)

Bookings: Sidwell (5), Hangeland (69)

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Derry (Smith 46), Hall, Taarabt (Campbell 46), Bothroyd (Mackie 72), Faurlin, Barton, Young, Wright-Phillips, Ferdinand.

Subs: Murphy, Buzsaky, Perone, Helguson.

Bookings: Faurlin (68), Wright-Phillips (82)

Referee: Mr M Marriner