Despite His White Boots

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

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

QPR 1 Preston 0

A massive win for Rangers, definitely the most important since clinching promotion 3 years ago. It could have been so different in the first 30 seconds ; England striker David Nugent was given the freedom of the Rangers box but he inexplicably poked a tame shot wide when he had plenty of time to take the ball down. Rangers settled down after the early scare and worked their way into the game without creating too much. Mark Nygaard latched onto Gareth Ainsworth's deflected cross but spooned his shot over, while Ainsworth and Dexter Blackstock both passed the ball to no-one when a shot on goal seemed to be called for. At the other end Lee Camp made a couple of saves from Simon Whaley (?) but Preston didn't threaten all that much.

Rangers suffered a double blow as neither Lee Cook nor Michael Mancienne reappeared for the second half. Five minutes in though, and the ground was brought to life by a stunning goal. Nygaard chased a defender back for a bit and then gave up, which left him free to receive the ball when Rangers won it back. Out of nothing, he floated a perfect 40-yard pass into Blackstock's path. The striker still had loads to do, but he made some space with a fine first touch and then lashed the ball into the net from 25 yards.

Once in front, the commitment and desire shown by every Rangers player was absolutely outstanding. Bodies were thrown in the way of everything, Nugent was invisible and the visitors only threatened from free-kicks. Michael Ricketts curled one just wide from 20 yards with Camp beaten, but the keeper was able to claw Patrick Agyemang's flicked header away from another set-piece delivery. Someone seemed to bat the ball down with a hand in the Rangers box but the ref waved it away.

Into injury time, Preston won another free kick in the Rangers half. Keeper Andy Lonergan looked set to come forward but Rangers bravely left Jimmy Smith upfield to forestall this, a smart move because set-pieces are so regimented today that everyone knows beforehand who they're supposed to mark, and when the keeper comes up it is very disruptive. Rangers managed to clear, Smith sprinted away and Blackstock almost added a second from his cross, Lonergan making a fine save. The five minutes finally ran out and home players and fans celebrated together at length.

As Harvey Keitel said in Pulp Fiction though (and this is the modern equivalent of "As God said in the Bible"), let's not start sucking each others dicks just yet gentlemen. There's plenty still to do but everyone in the ground was proud of the way the team performed last night and more of the same will see us safe.


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