Despite His White Boots

Football, football, football and, if the mood takes me, more football.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

QPR 2 Southend 0

So what's the problem ? Three points for the Rs for the first time since February 23rd, according to my phone. And it should know.

I have to say that the build-up and opening stages of this game were rather odd. First of all "ex-Ranger Gary Chivers" [1] came on to the pitch before the game, his task being to measure the volume of the crowd as the teams came on. Apparently this will be done at all 92 league ground in some kind of competition to see who is the loudest. Frankly I'm not too confident that QPR v Southend (att 12000) will trouble the scorers here.

Next, and I'm not making light of this, it was just odd, there was to be a minute's silence for Kiyan Prince, a youth team player who died in May. I read on the website that the parents had requested a minute's silence rather than a minute's applause, and that's how it was announced. However about 5% of the crowd started applauding, and then everyone else felt obliged to join in, which I felt uneasy about but what can you do.

On with the game and Rangers debutant Dexter Blackstock was booked for diving in the first attack. Could be some kind of record. Rangers turned up the heat, the crowd warmed up and were soon chanting for manager Gary Waddock to "give us a wave". Which he did, from the directors' box. Unfortunately most of the Loft didn't see him, and could only see the bench all sitting there apparently ignoring them. So they tried twice more, twice Waddock waved (more desperately each time it seemed), and finally they gave up with a few halfhearted boos, which was all a bit crap as well.

Fortunately for all concerned, I'm sure this was forgotten when Rangers started playing really well. Cook, Ainsworth, Ward and Blackstock ran the Shrimpers defence a merry dance, with Rowlands pulling the strings and having the best game I've seen him play in central midfield. And it was he who showed them all how to trouble the onion bag by blattering in a free kick on the half hour. 10 minutes later Ray Jones' prodigous leap set Nick Ward up for a tap in and all was rosy in the garden of QPR.

Southend, no doubt considering themselves fortunate to still be in the game, played well in the second half but Eastwood is either completely over-rated or was having an off day. Rangers' defending was unconvincing throughout to be honest, but perhaps Rehman and Stewart need some time to build a partnership. Of three more players who I hadn't seen before, Ward did OK but seemed to fade in the second half, while Blackstock looked pacy, skillful and generally good until he also ran out of steam later on. The real surprise for me was Ray Jones who's a very big lad but has good feet (for a big man, natch) and unlike a lot of tall strikers he can actually jump (watch Peter Crouch, he barely leaves the ground).

All in all Rangers showed enough going forward to allay fears of relegation for a while, but enough uncertainty in defence to make us grateful to bank the points while we can. Southend passed it well but were very ropy at the back, their full-backs were pants and how old is Spencer Prior now ? I can't see them troubling the top half myself.

Finally on my way back I popped into Gutshot for a chat with DY and Frode, most enjoyable. However, and I'm sorry but this is Gutshot to an absolute T, more than one person was wearing a T-shirt with "Marvelous" written on the back. I could only have put it better myself with the addition of the missing "L".

[1] Chivers was before my time, and considering I go back to 1988 with Rangers, that's a long time. I do remember people saying he was shit though.


Post a Comment

<< Home