Wes Leaves Rangers Feeling Brown-ed Off...
QPR 2-3 Sunderland
Sunderland threw away a two goal lead, before Wes Brown struck in the last minute to give the Black Cats, a not so lucky win at Loftus Road last evening.
With Rangers seemingly free falling towards the bottom three in the Premier League, many were calling this the biggest game of the season so far and there was no doubt, that three points would be vital for both sides.
A bit of a change to the routine for me personally. As I was off work, I took up Jenson's offer of a few beers in Paddington beforehand and joined him, plus Mark Banks, Paddington Trev and Craig. From there we hit the White Horse on the Uxbridge Road before making our way to the ground and arriving just before kick off. On arrival, we found that the rest of the gang were somewhat depleted with Corp and PK surprisingly missing, reasons unknown. California Hoop, out on an Xmas work do, somehow ended up in the School End Lower Tier for this one.
Onto the game and two changes were made from Sundays defeat against Man United - Shaun Derry came in for Bothroyd and Paddy Kenny returned to the R's goal, in place of Radek Cerny - the R's reverting back to the 4-2-3-1 system.
Rangers had the first chance of the game, but Shaun Derry headed harmlessly over from a corner. From there on in, the first half belonged to Sunderland as, inspired by the impressive Sessegnon, they completely over ran Rangers in the midfield - Bendtner hit the post early on with a header when in truth he really should have scored. But on 19 minutes, he made amends as he headed home unchallenged from a corner and the visitors were in front.
Just one minute later, Kieron Richardson went close with a 20 yard drive and Sessegnon's goalbound effort was blocked by Gabbidon on 37 minutes.
Onto the second half and Adel Taarabt was brought into the action, but somewhat surprisingly in place of Shaun Wright-Phillips, who was one of the few who starred for the R's in the first half. Rangers first real clear cut chance came on 51 minutes, when Helguson's close range header was cleared off the line. The missed chance proved extremely costly just a minute later - Sessegnon got on the end of Bendtner's flick on, went through on goal, easily sold Paddy Kenny a dummy before tapping home into an empty net.
Just as R's fans were giving up all hope, Rangers pulled a goal back and very much against the run of play - excellent work from Traore, found Faurlin who's dangerous low cross was bundled into the net by R's top scorer, Heidar Helguson.
The R's crowd were alive once more and just 4 minutes later, absolutely erupted - Faurlin's ball into the box was headed back across by Helguson, into the path of Jamie Mackie who's diving header flew into the net for his first goal of the season.
There was only one winner in this game now, or so it seemed...
The impressive, Adel Taarabt went close with a low drive on 68 minutes, but from there, Sunderland were starting to exploit the gaps and were breaking with pace as they had been throughout the evening - Gardner bringing the best out of Paddy Kenny on two occasions.
But just as the game was petering out into draw, which after the first half, R's fans would surely be happy with? - Wes Brown's near post header from a corner in the 89th minute found it's way into the roof of the net and Sunderland had stolen the victory.
QPR: Kenny, Derry, Gabbidon, Faurlin, Mackie, Traore (Hall 80), Connolly (Bothroyd 90), Barton, Young, Helguson, Wright-Phillips (Taarabt 46). Subs: Cerny, Hill, Campbell, Smith.
Man of the Match - with some extra voters this evening, we had single votes for Mackie, Helguson, Faurlin and Kenny. But with a massive 6 votes, it was in the end a landslide victory and a well deserved acolade for Adel Taarabt, who made such an impact when he came on in the second half.
Heartbroken? Frustrated? Disappointed? Either one of them led to R's fans feeling very flat after the result and dare I say, performance. It all led to the rest of the evenings festivities falling a bit flat as shortly after a very nice curry in the Goldhawk Road, we all headed for home. Shepherds Bush closing for business at midnight also didn't help matters...
Anyway, with two away games on the horizon, this is the last you will hear from me until the New Year now and the home game v Norwich. So I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS and a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!!
Come on You R'ssssssssssss!!