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

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Charlie's R Angel.......

The R's were back in action following the International break and on the horizon was a good old fashioned London derby against South Londoners Charlton. Could Rangers' get back to winning ways?

The gang arrived in near full strength, with only PK missing out through illness this week.
It was an early entrance for Lofty, Jenson and myself as we gained a prime position to watch the Merseyside derby whilst Sam and Luke enjoyed an early beer down the White Horse and Jess took to Westfield shopping for Xmas presents.
As we saw Lukaku score the equalizer for Everton Lofty accidentally squeezed his cup of tea and burnt his hand, his third misfortune of the day following his xbox controller breaking and forgetting his pin number for his card, it could be old age creeping in for the poor man!?!

The team news broke just after two as we saw Junior Hoilett miss out with his 12th hamstring injury of the season. He was replaced by the returning Niko Kranjcar.

Rangers' got off to a flying start and dominated the opening 15 minutes, with Kranjcar and Austin coming the closest for the home side.
Rangers' were in total control and making it look like a training game at times as they retained possession at ease and popped the ball around but at times without any real threat as they passed around the back line and deep in midfield.
Charlton, as you would expect, did have a few moments where they un-nerved the home fans and when Rob Green had to be in top form to stop Cousin's excellent 25 yard effort you did begin to wonder whether we would be made to pay for not making the most of all the possession and not making the most of the chances that had been created.
Rangers' were finally rewarded five minutes before the break.
Charlie Austin took control of the ball just inside the Charlton half and found himself in acres of space as he advanced then he took a swing from 30 yards out and we saw the saw move around like a beachball and just as it seemed that Hamer was going to get his hand to it, the ball took one final swerve away and hit the top corner as Loftus Road watched in amazement. This is an early contender for goal of the season in my eyes and all those that have bad mouthed Austin over the past few weeks can finally shut the hell up and enjoy what a talented and hard working striker we have at the club.

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Rangers' were deservedly leading at half time but the only disappointing thing is that it was only a solitary goal that was the cushion. The possession that was kept by the R's was phenomenal, however it is just a question of whether that could be maintained for another 45 minutes as every team has a spell in every game, could the lead be extended?

Charlton came out in the second half with a lot more purpose and it looked like Chris Powell's team talk had rejuvenated the visitors and on several occasions there were a few scares along the way and mid way through the half in looked like Charlton could have been awarded a penalty, which we gladly saw waved away.
Rangers' slowly got a hold of the game as the game drew to a close and we saw an Austin/Johnson partnership look to have some real promise as they linked up superbly on several occasions only to see Austin miscue his best chance.
As injury time drew to a close SWP waltzed through the Charlton defence before looking like his mis-hit his shot and just as we thought it was going to dip into the far corner the ball bounced off the top of the bar before being cleared to safety.

After a great first half performance we saw a contrasting second half, with Charlton presenting a lot more of a threat and all it would've taken was once mistake or deflection and the visitors could've quite easily taken something away from the game. We really need to start being a lot more ruthless and putting teams to the sword and give someone a real hiding, it's got to happen at some point soon surely??

Onto our Man of the Match. This week we have three nominations from the gang. Sam's vote went to Joey Barton, Luke and Jess voted for Assou-Ekotto for his excellent performance at the heart of the R's defence. However our winner with votes from Lofty, Jenson and myself is Charlie Austin for his superb goal and a great all round performance. Austin never stops working and puts in a massive shift for the team, often without too much service.

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Lofty will return next week with one of his excellent reports from Doncaster.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Reading go for a Barton as R's Faurlin Love...

Reading 1-1 QPR

A superb late free kick from Joey Barton earned another valuable away point as Rangers drew 1-1 at Reading early yesterday afternoon. The goal celebration in tribute to injured, Ale Faurlin was as memorable as I've ever seen as an R's supporter.

With Sky selecting this one, it made it an early start still despite the game being reasonably local and I met up with Jenson at just after 10am. The 20 minute journey saw us at the ground in plenty of time for our pre match catch ups etc. PK had decided to give this one a miss and sadly, we didn't manage to catch up with Sam and Luke at all. Lee and Jess were also absent as Lee had sadly fallen ill the night before, wish you better mate!!! We were however joined by Zach and friend as we took our seats for the game, before respecting an impeccable minutes silence in honour of the fallen for Remembrance Sunday..

Onto the game and Rangers started like a train and in the first minute, Junior Hoilett struck the Reading cross bar with a tremendous 25 yard effort. From there it was typical that we found Reading keeper, McCarthy in superb form, denying Austin 3 times and later again from Hoilett as the R's laid siege to the Reading goal.

Reading slowly worked their way back into the game and Jordan Orbita was doing his one man Ashley Young impressions, throwing himself to the floor at every opportunity. But the referee was having none of it and rightly turned down his penalty appeal as he claimed to be held by Danny Simpson in the penalty area. Reading's best chance came to Chris Baird who's glancing header was pushed away by Rob Green.

McCarthy's first half heroics looked to have proved crucial and on 62 minutes, Reading took the lead - Baird fed McCleary who was not closed down quickly enough and he powered a 25-yard drive that smacked off the post and into the net, a great goal to be fair.

It could well have been two a while later when Ashley Young, sorry, Orbita was found on the left, but his low drive was somewhat fortunately kept out by the legs of Rob Green who appeared to have been wrong footed.

But Rangers kept pressing and now looking a much better attacking threat with Andy Johnson on the pitch and the latter linked up well with Austin who fired straight at the keeper. With about 12 minutes to go, AJ linked up well again with Austin but former Ranger, Kaspars Gorkss brought him down on the edge of the box..

As the Reading wall broke, Joey Barton curled his effort low into the right hand corner of the net. Although we didn't see it at the time due to excessive celebrations of our own, the goal celebration was a joy to behold - Barton ran to the dug out, followed by his team mates to collect Ale Faurlin's number 32 shirt and lift it aloft. Absolutely superb and yet more evidence of the superb team spirit that is at the Club this season!!

Andy Johnson went close late on with a superb turn and shot and if Phillips had looked up and seen Austin unmarked instead of trying his luck from a tight angle, it may well have been all three points we were bringing home...

Queens Park Rangers

  • 01 Green
  • 02 Simpson
  • 39 Assou-Ekotto
  • 36 O'Neil (Johnson - 66' )
  • 05 Dunne (Onuoha - 45' )
  • 06 Hill
  • 07 Phillips
  • 17 Barton
  • 09 Austin
  • 16 Jenas (Kranjcar - 31' )
  • 23 Hoilett


  • 03 Traore
  • 08 Johnson
  • 15 Onuoha
  • 18 Chevantón
  • 19 Kranjcar
  • 20 Henry
  • 26 Murphy
Man of the Match

No need for an editors choice this week as we almost have a clean sweep. Only Trevor and Lee have differed with votes for Assou - Ekotto and Charlie Austin respectively. But with votes from myself, Jenson, Sam, Luke, Jess,PK and this week, Zach, the award goes to another commanding performance in midfield and very nice goal to boot - Joey Barton

Away Day Pie Rating

A bit of a disappointment as all they had on offer with about 45 minutes before kick off, was a Curry Pie. Myself and Jenson took up the challenge. It was in general agreement that the pastry was somewhat soggy and the curry filling had too much pepper to try and bring out it's flavour. It was ok, nothing more, both 6/10 votes from both of us giving the Reading Pies a rating of, well, 6/10

In brief summary, although a point on the road is always good, I think on balance Rangers deserved this one. It seemed a game where we would look great one minute and then sit back the next. Reading appeared to be very direct and it certainly showed in the early stages as Rangers were pulling them apart. But there is no doubt in mine and everyone else's mind that we did look more of a dangerous attacking threat with both Andy Johnson and Charlie Austin on the field, who were linking up very nicely indeed. Something maybe for Harry to think about over the International Break..

Lee will return in a fortnight when we hope our superb home form continues against Charlton..

Come on You R'sssssssssss!!!!

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Matt'll Do Nicely......

The R's looked to bounce back following three difficult away trips and two long northern trips in four days with only two points to show for their efforts. 
The game saw Steve McClaren return to Loftus Road for the first time since his departure to his new employers Derby County.

Traffic issues on the motorway saw most of the gang arrive later than usual and it wasn't until we arrived inside the ground at the Blue and White bar that we all managed to assemble as Lofty, PK, Jenson and myself were joined by Michael, Tony and Alan as we all caught up and discussed the previous performances. We all could not understand the negativity surrounding the point earned at Wigan as the JJB is a tough place to go to and a draw was a result I would've happily taken before the game started and I still feel that it will be a valuable point come the end of the season.

There were two changes to the team that started at Wigan.
Gary O'Neil and Niko Krancjar both missed out through injury and they were replaced by Matt Phillips and the returning Joey Barton.
This saw the R's play with two natural wingers with Jermaine Jenas supporting lone striker Charlie Austin.

The first half started with both sides looking to break quickly in behind each others defence but it was the R's who were showing better ball retention and used their passing game to create space inbetween the Derby defenders and use Phillips and Hoilett's pace to expose the County full backs.
It was the hard work of Phillips down the right hand side before drilling his cross in the path of Charlie Austin who turned the ball goal wards only to see Lee Grant produce a close range save, however he was not able to hold onto the ball and Jermaine Jenas was on hand to tap the ball into the empty net from four yards out, 1-0 Rangers!
Phillips was really looking in the mood today and was giving Forsyth a torrid time down the R's right and when Phillips found Austin mid way through the first half it looked like Austin had a great opportunity to double the lead but the R's top scorer failed to hit the target.
A few minutes later Derby grabbed a controversial equaliser.
First of all the R's were penalised as Faurlin fairly won the ball only to see the ginger ref somehow award Derby a free kick in a very dangerous position.
The resulting free kick saw Ward cross towards the far post to find a fellow Derby player climb all over Charlie Austin's back, without getting penalised, and his header found Simon Dawkins who superbly volleyed past Rob Green and level the game up. Firstly it was never a free kick, secondly it was a foul on Austin but you cannot take anything away from the finish! You have to play to the whistle and Dawkins done just that.

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We went into the interval happy with the performance and felt like we should have been making more of the chances that the R's were creating. Phillips and Hoilett enjoying plenty of possession in the wide areas whilst Ali Faurlin was controlling the R's midfield and really showing that he is a huge asset to Rangers' on the pitch.

At the start of the second half Danny Simpson's mistake presented Derby with a golden opportunity to take the lead but Bryson's initial shot was well saved by Green and Martin's follow up only found the side netting.
Derby were really getting in the R's faces during the second half and looked to make the game physical whilst also trying to break on the counter attack and expose the lack of pace in the centre of the R's defence.
Rangers' battled away and on the hour began to turn the screw and were rewarded for their efforts on 64 minutes.
Matt Phillips accelerated past Forsyth and the Derby defender seemingly wanting to rip Phillips' shirt off his back before the winger hit the deck on the edge of the penalty area.
Faurlin swung his free kick to the far post where Hill jumped with Buxton and the ball bundled itself over the line to give the R's the lead for the second time in the game and lifted the home crowd. For me judging by the players celebrations it was a Buxton own goal as no-one run away claiming the goal, very unfortunate for the Derby defender.

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Soon after it was so nearly 3-1.
The impressive Phillips made his way down the right before cutting in and creating space for himself to crack a sweetly struck left foot effort only to see it somehow crash off the underside of the bar and bounce away to safety. It's the least that Phillips deserved for his hard work this afternoon!
We left Loftus Road the evening hoping the best for Ali Faurlin after he was stretchered off with what looks like a serious knee injury. Faurlin was given a standing ovation as he left the field by the R's faithful for what was a superb display from the fans favourite. I have to say that I'm hugely disappointed that none of the Derby fans clapped Faurlin off as he left on the stretcher, very unsporting!

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The win today was extremely hard fought but deserved in my eyes.
Derby were very physical but also counter attacked very well and you can see why they are in the top half of the table and pushing for a play off spot, which I would expect to see them challenging for at the end of the season. Will Hughes looked superb for Derby and you can see why so many of the top clubs are looking to capture the youngsters signature, keeping him is key to Derby's success.
There were times today that we looked extremely good and Jenas enjoyed by far his best game for us as he played the attacking midfield role superbly and could've easily got himself on the scoresheet more than once. Jenas combined well with Barton and Faurlin as a midfield three and could quite possibly be our best trio in the centre of midfield, with the exception of Tom Carroll.
Charlie Austin also put in a massive shift today and was very unlucky not to score with the three excellent opportunities that were presented to him. Austin always gives 100% and is well worthy of his place in the starting line up, when he gets the right service like what he got from Phillips today, he will be the top scorer in this division come the end of the season.

Onto our Man of the Match.
The gang were split on the votes today as Lofty, Trevor, Sam and Luke all voted for Joey Barton's stylish performance in the centre of the R's midfield whilst Jess, PK, Jenson and myself all voted for Matt Phillips impressive performance that saw him create the opening for both of the R's goals today. With the votes being split for the second weekend running we again go to the editors choice and I maintain my Matt Phillips vote and award him as today's Man of the Match.

Lofty will return next week with another one of his always entertaining away day reports as we make the short trip down the road to the fake hoops of Reading.

U R'SSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!