One 'Pelle' of a Winner..
Southampton 2-1 QPR
QPR's away day woes continued, however it was a much improved performance against a very much inform Southampton at St Marys this afternoon..
The trip to Southampton is certainly one of the easier ones of the season and just Jenson was missing today, still holidaying in sunny Cyprus. I was the first on the road and picked up PK, Sam and Luke in Burnham and had a trouble free journey to Winchester Services to meet up with Lee and Jess - and after arriving back in the Country in the early hours from their own holiday in Cyprus, arrived looking extremely well refreshed and extremely tanned, making the rest of us look like we had all been ill...
After a spot on lunch, the ease of the journey continued until we hit Southampton itself and along with PK's navigational skills, crawled towards the ground through the heavy traffic and arrived at around 2.15pm. We then joined the massive 3000 plus R's contingent in the Stadium and it was safe to say, we were all a bit concerned with how Rangers would set up for the game, following the previous disastrous away encounters.
As we climbed Mount Everest to get to our seats, much entertainment was provided by a female supporter sitting just in front of us with her husband, who was extremely vocal and expressive in her support for the team.. in honesty, it was sometimes annoying, but mainly entertaining, but you just couldn't knock the passion of her support.. good on you Girl!!!
Onto the game and it was no surprise that it was the Saints making all the early running, creating 3 good chances in the opening 5 minutes, included a deflected effort that struck the Rangers upright.
After losing Sandro to a head injury, Southampton continued to pile the pressure on but were finding Rob Green in fine form in the R's goal. It wasn't until the 36th minute for the R;s first effort on goal, but Phillips sadly shot high and wide. But Rangers confidence was growing after surviving the Saints onslaught and some good work from Vargas, found Austin who dinked an effort just wide just before the break.
It's safe to say that we were all much more encouraged by the fact that at half time, the game was far from over as we had a drink on the concourse.
Onto the 2nd half and on 54 minutes, Southampton took the lead - Tadic's wayward cross from the right evaded everyone, but Mane kept chasing. he then completely wrong footed Isla and Phillips with a cheeky back heel for the oncoming Bertrand who found the net from a tight angle. I am sure the excellent Rob Green would feel he could have done better.
It was almost 2 minutes later when Tadic was denied by Green from close range but by now, Redknapp had made a change bringing on Hoilett for the again, ineffective, Phillips.. and it was Hoilett who was instrumental in bringing the R's level on 66 minutes - dribbling across the box before finding Vargas on the right, who found Charlie Austin with his back to goal - the R's number 9 took one touch, swivelled 180 degress before firing home!! A superb goal which saw over 3000 R's fans go beserk and give the Saints fans to the left of us, plenty of stick!! Sam and Jess took the chance also to celebrate with the young lady in front of us!
But just two minutes later, they were giving it straight back - and what a goal it was too! Pelle controlled a knock down and then sent an acrobatic volley past Rob Green for the Saints to regain the lead.
The game was now going to from end to end with Rangers looking so much more threatening coming forward with Junior Hoilett on the pitch. Davis and Long went close for the home side with Austin and Fer having chances at the other end, before Niko Kranjcar's 30 yard free kick smacked the Southampton cross bar.
Queens Park Rangers
- 01 Green
- 03 Traore
- 04 Caulker
- 05 Ferdinand
- 14 Isla
- 07 Phillips (Hoilett - 58' )
- 30 Sandro (Henry - 11' Booked )
- 10 Fer
- 24 Vargas (Zamora - 77' )
- 09 Austin
- 19 Kranjcar
- 06 Hill
- 12 McCarthy
- 15 Onuoha
- 20 Henry
- 22 Dunne
- 23 Hoilett
- 25 Zamora
The gang were certainly divided on this one but we do have an outright winner - myself singled out Armand Traore, with Sam and Luke picking out Leroy Fer. But with 3 votes from Lee, Jess and PK, for the second week running and with a bit of luck, would have been on the scoresheet again, todays winner is Niko Kranjcar.
Away Day Pie Rating
With being full up from lunch earlier, Lee took one for the team with this one and chose a Chicken Balti from the Pukka range - the feedback was that with Pukka you can't really go wrong but there were no thrills added, giving the Southampton Pies a rating of 7/10.
Well, despite defeat, I think many were encouraged with the R's performance, especially in the second half and after his showing, I think Hoilett has to be considered for a start next time out in place of Matt Phillips. Also, I singled out Isla for some criticism last week, but Lee pointed out yesterday something that I also went on to look at very closely. A lot of the criticism has also been pointed at Rio Ferdinand, but on several occasions yesterday, Steven Caulker was caught out going forward, leaving Isla to come back on cover him in central defence and the more we watched it, the more it was becoming a concern. I wouldn't be at all surprised if Nedum Onouha returns next week and it may well cause uproar of the place he may well take... we shall have to see..
We shall return next week to review another tough away trip, this time across London to West Ham..
Keep the Faith and Come on you R'ssssssssss!!!