R's Left With Plenty To Malone About......
Today the R's had the pleasure of hosting South London's finest, Millwall. The visitors have been bang in the middle of a relegation scrap as the R's were looking to seal a home tie in the play offs.
On the journey to the game we were seeing Twitter updates with all the trouble that was happening in the area, luckily the gang all managed to arrive at HQ safely, however Jess and I were stuck at Hammersmith Bridge for over an hour before finally escaping the traffic and parking up twenty minutes late. By the time we arrived in the ground with thirty minutes on the clock.
Two changes were made to the side that scraped past Watford on Monday.
Armand Traore and Kevin Doyle were replaced by Yossi Benayoun and Niko Kranjcar.
As mentioned above I was half an hour late arriving, however I was informed (after a few pieces of banter for being late) that we had not missed much in terms of action.
From what I was told Lee Martin suffered a nasty injury and was stretchered off. Apart from that we failed to get a shot on goal and Millwall looked the more likely to score.
For the remaining fifteen minutes it was much of the same as Millwall found it far to easy to breach the R's midfield and run at the R's defence that were held solid by some great defending by the ever dependable Nedum Onuoha.
Rangers' had their first real chance of the half when Morrison and Austin combined before the R's top scorer had has shot beaten away for a corner.
Then the R's were nearly punished by a catastrophic error by Dunne that let in Woolford, who then when one on one with Green scuffed his shot and somehow failed to hit the target as the ball bounced wide when it was easier to score!
At half time the gang assembled on the concourse as we all welcomed back Jack after his six months of travelling around the Far East, how unfortunate do you have to be to come back from six months away to get Millwall as your first game back and then be put through what we had to witness.
The rest of us made the most of the catch up on what was officially our last home league game of the normal season.
The second half wasn't that much of a spectacle in all fairness with Millwall getting more nervous as the game wore on and the R's gradually woke up and became a bit more of an attacking threat.
It wasn't until the 76th minute that the R's were given the opportunity to open the scoring.
Hoilett's cross was stupidly punched away by Jackson as he challenged Zamora in the air.
After some time wasting by Forde to attempt to put off Austin he was duly booked before Austin was then finally allowed to take the kick. The R's top scorer made no mistake as he sent Forde the wrong way and gave the R's a lead that they hadn't looked like getting.
Following the penalty our referee, Kevin Friend, looked to give Millwall any opportunity he could to give our visitors the chance to level the game up and that nearly happened when Williams' free kick struck the top of the crossbar.
The three points looked almost certain until a twist in injury time.
Malone took aim after a scramble in the box, his shot looked destined to hit the crossbar, however Green looked to be safe and tip the ball over the bar, however in the end he palmed the ball into the side of the net and gifted Millwall the equaliser.
All in all it was a dreadful game and deserved to end as a 0-0 on any other day.
We looked to be more interested in coasting our way through the game without picking up any additional injuries ahead of the play off games in the upcoming weeks. It's a dangerous game to play as our hopes rest on going into those games with our best players and then they will have to turn on the style, something we have only done for 4-5 games all season! I'd rather build the players confidence up and go into the two legs with momentum and players who are comfortable with the way we play and leave no room for error. Just a matter of opinion though!
Onto our Man of the Match. Lofty has decided to abstain as the performance was not good enough. Jenson opted for Carroll. The overall winner with four votes from Jess, Sam, Luke and myself is Charlie Austin, purely based on him grabbing the goal and looking like he gave a monkeys whilst he was out there. A mention has to go to Onuoha as he is definitely our shining light in defence and is holding it together whilst Dunne is struggling for form.
Lofty will return for our final visit to relegated Barnsley on Saturday.
Ahead of that Lofty Heights will be in attendance for Thursday's Fan's Forum after 10 years of running this blog we have been given recognition for the hard work we have put in.
From myself and Lofty we'd like to thank all our readers for the support over the years and continuing to provide us with your feedback!