Sparky Gets The Buz Back At The R's.
With the R's winning their first FA Cup tie in 11 years on Tuesday night with a dogged and scrappy performance at Loftus Road, we turned our attention to the league and a massive six pointer against Wigan. This was Mark Hughes first Premier League game in charge so could Mark put the spark into the R's climb up the table?
We are about to find out.
On Tuesday there was a massively depleted gang in attendance but today we were back to full strength and ready to roar the lads onto victory.
With a lot of focus being on Joey Barton lambasting Neil Warnock in the press yesterday, a lot of the talk during the pre-match centred around our hopes that he would do a lot more talking on the pitch today rather than on his Twitter account. As long as we see full commitment from our captain and performances that we know he is capable of then what his does on Twitter is completely irrelivant to what he does on the pitch.
There were three changes to the side that won against MK Dons. Danny Gabbidon missed out through injury whilst Jay Bothroyd and Freddy Macheda dropped to the bench.
Their replacements were Fitz Hall, DJ Campbell and Heidar Helguson.
Wigan has the first change of the game within the first two minutes. A Wigan free kick from the left found Rodelega in acres of space in the box and his sidefoot creeped just wide of the post.
After a nervy fifteen minutes the R's started to find a rhythm and a battling quality that has been lacking of late. With SWP beginning to see more of the ball and running at defenders we looked the more threatening going forward without creating many clear cut chances.
In the 33rd minute the R's had a corner that was floated in from the left and as the ball reached the Wigan box an arm flew out, handball! The referee's assistant, linesman, whatever they are called these days, signalled the infringement and the R's seemingly had a decision go their way for once.
Heidar Helguson stepped up and sidefooted the penalty into the right corner with Al-Habsi not far away from getting a fingertip to it.
Minutes later Buzsaky lined up a free kick just outside the box and Al-Habsi saw it late and pushed it past the post for a corner.
Not to be deterred, a minute before half time Buzsaky had a free kick in a similar position and this time he curled it onto the left hand post before flying across goal into the opposite side of the net. Definitely a goal we will all enjoy watching on Match of the Day tonight.
The half time huddle on the concourse with us all including Michael and Jack was the most positive atmosphere at a home game since the Chelsea half time talk a few months ago. The buzz was coming back to us and all hoping for another half of commitment, energy, movement and commitment from Sparky's troops.
There was a change at half time with DJ Campbell coming off and being replaced by Tommy Smith.
The second half started with the R's looking bright but again no clear cut chances were being created.
On 65 minutes Wigan drew level. A free kick was awarded for what looked to be a nothing challenge about 25yards outside the R's box.
Hugo Rodelega stepped up and curled the free kick up and over the wall into the top right corner with Paddy Kenny rooted to the spot. The 30 Wigan fans in attendance would have definitely enjoyed watching that fly into the back of the net.
Rangers' were given a great chance to stretch their lead once more in the 73rd minute when we were awarded a somewhat fortuitous penalty.
Helguson was clearly fouled by Caldwell but from where we were standing the foul clearly outside the box, however the referee pointed to the spot for our second penalty of the day.
Helguson stepped up and this time sidefooted it to the left but Al-Habsi guessed right and pushed the penalty out before Wigan cleared their lines.
Minutes later Helguson nearly claimed his second of the game. The ball bounced just outside the left corner of the 18 yard box and Helguson attempted a lobbed volley that went over Al-Habsi and bounced just centimetres past the post.
Just as it seemed the R's where in for a difficult final ten minutes we broke away with SWP down the left and he squared it to Tommy Smith, he took a touch and unleahsed a shot from a full 25-30yards out that flew into the top corner with Al-Habsi having no chance! Another great goal to watch on tv tonight!
The goal killed the game off as a contest and with Rangers' creating a few more chances before the final whistle was blown and we were savouring our second home win of the season in Mark Hughes first home game in charge of us in the Premier League.
The performance was one of commitment, organisation and energy. We looked to grow in confidence more and more as the game went on and to close the game out with a superb goal from Tommy Smith really was the icing on the cake!
Rangers' are back? I certainly hope so!
On to our Man of the Match. It was a two horse race for this one, Helguson received two of the votes but with a massive six votes our unanimous winner and scorer of the fantastic second goal is Akos Buzsaky.