Today Rangers' fans visited Loftus Road for the first time in 2014 in hope of seeing a much better performance than we have seen of late. The opportunity to put poor showings against Forest and Watford behind us came as Doncaster Rovers were the visitors.
Could the R's avenge the last minute defeat that was dealt to us when we visited the Keepmoat just four weeks ago.
Jess, Clive and myself made our way round the M25 before reaching our usual parking spot, only to find that Lofty was parked up just three cars in front of us. Due to the rain we all refused to move for around half an hour before finally conceding that we needed to brave the rain on our short walk to the ground.
Shortly after getting through the turnstiles we met up with PK who still seemed to be struggling after the Watford after party on Sunday evening.
Sam, Luke and Lorna all made an appearance just before we all headed to our seats.
Jenson was not in attendance, the reason was not clearly known, so I shall put it down to a hangover.
Rangers' made two changes from the dull affair at Watford. Gary O'Neil and Charlie Austin were restored to the starting eleven as Matt Phillips and Tom Carroll made way.
The R's started brightly with Krancjar going close after an excellent through ball from Hoilett found Simpson advancing down the right flank and pulled back to Kranjcar who done everything right but hit the target.
In the build up Hoilett pulled up injured and was quickly replaced by Matt Phillips, who was extremely unlucky not to of retained his place in the starting line up.
That was pretty much the only highlight for the home crowd to get excited about as Doncaster pulled the strings and took apart the R's midfield piece by piece and carved out several excellent chances but found themselves lacking in the final third.
Doncaster's pressure finally got it's reward just before half time.
Yossi Benayoun was easily brushed off the ball and spent more time complaining than concentrating on tracking back whilst Doncaster broke clear. Macheda played in Theo Robinson and his drive left Rob Green with no chance as it nestled in the bottom corner.
At half time we were all in agreement that we were deservingly behind to an efficient and hard working Doncaster side. Rangers' lacked any energy and enthusiasm during the first 45 minutes and to be honest it really did not look like Rangers' had any kind of chance of getting anything from the game.
The start of the second half saw Yossi Benayoun rightfully get hauled off as Andy Johnson took his place and signalled the R's intentions of wanting to attack Doncaster and put all the wrong from the first half right.
As it was the half started as the first half ended, with Doncaster much in the ascendancy.
Only Matt Phillips looked the likely source of being Rovers' downfall as he was looking extremely dangerous on the right wing and produced several excellent crosses that found neither of the R's forwards correctly anticipating the cross and the frustration for the home fans continued.
Doncaster, in my opinion, were very unlucky and on the wrong end of a poor refereeing decision when Gary O'Neil took out a Donny attacker with a waist high challenge. How Doncaster were not awarded a penalty and given the opportunity to double their lead is beyond me. Rangers' should of been two down and without a hope of getting anything from the game........ that is how bad the R's were today. As it was we we very fortuitous and made the most of it!
The equaliser soon followed. Assou-Ekotto's far post cross was met by Austin, who's header was blocked before the ball bobbled through to Phillips and he tapped into the unguarded net to lift the tension around Loftus Road and give us all hope. This was Rangers' first goal since 14th December at Blackpool.
Just as it looked that the visitors were about to take away a deserved point there was a final twist in the tail.
With 93 minutes on the clock Rangers' broke away and Phillips fed Simpson down the right and the resulting cross was picture perfect and Charlie Austin, who had no right to win the header, leapt and met Simpson's cross and directed his powerful header into the far corner and sent R's fans into raptures!! Turnbull got a good hand on the header, however the header was so powerful he could not keep it out!
Doncaster can feel massively hard done by as they deserved something from the game and really controlled the majority of the game. On any other given day they would've probably won quite comfortably.
Rangers' were poor today and shows that we really need an injection of pace in our game as we are so slow and lethargic, it's very painful to watch at times.
The positive to take out of this is that we have our match winner back in the team and despite Austin having a relatively poor game, he worked his socks off and popped up with the winning goal at the most crucial moment of the game, that's why we paid good money for him at the start of the season!
Onto our Man of the Match
. There are several contenders selected from the gang today. Clive opted for Joey Barton, whilst Lofty and Luke swayed towards Danny Simpson after he produced the fantastic cross that assisted the match winning goal. However with four votes from Jess, Sam, PK and myself our winner is Matt Phillips
for his hard working display and always looked a threat as he attacked the Doncaster full backs and popped up with the equalising goal.
Lofty will return with a report of the FA Cup game at Everton at the weekend.
Happy New Year!!!!!