Despite His White Boots

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

Monday, October 08, 2007

QPR 1 Norwich 0

A desperately needed but well-deserved win that must, however, be taken in the context of how poor Norwich were. Rangers had mostly the better of a first half that can't have enthralled any neutrals watching on Sky, without testing visiting keeper David Marshall. He was certainly kept busy after the break as Rangers pushed on, boosted by unexpectedly not conceding a dopey goal just after the break. Marshall could only watch as Martin Rowlands' long range daisy-cutter came back off the post, and Rowan Vine was surely hauled to ground inside the box a few minutes later, with no reward. Rowlands did call the keeper into action with a 30-yard free kick and finally the pressure told when Vine was hacked down once again, with the referee obliging this time. Rowlands slammed home the penalty and so, with the visitors showing exactly why they hadn't scored for five previous games, that looked pretty much like that.

It certainly would have been over if Rangers had managed a second during a spell of complete dominance following the goal. Gareth Ainsworth's volley was deflected narrowly wide during a string of corners, and Marshall saved well from Damion Stewart, Vine again and Hogan Ephraim. Unfortunately, probably from lack of practice at defending a lead, Rangers tensed up and stopped attacking, preferring to try to stand on the ball in the corner and boot the ball away every time they won it. So even Norwich were able to put some balls into the box but nothing came of them and the win was secured.

In Mick Harford's favour, his team selections make more sense than JG's did this season, and he has managed to bring in some players on loan who are a definite improvement on what we already have. Vine is a right handful up front, and has a lot of skill too, while Portsmouth's Martin Crainie was exactly what we needed in defence, always where he needed to be and didn't make any mistakes. Mind you, Norwich were so abysmal going forward that they made Damion Stewart look composed. Darren Huckerby was a shadow of his former self and no one else offered any threat whatsoever. I know they had some players missing (particularly ex-Ranger Jamie Cureton) but they look set for a very long winter. It said it all when the travelling support greeted their first shot on target (in the 76th minute) with prolonged sarcastic applause.

Onwards and upwards for the R's though hopefully. Reports indicate that Glenn Hoddle is not interested in the job (thank God) and the Ealing Gazette, which I suspect knows a bit more about what's going on than the national press, suggests that Rangers will look abroad "unless speculative approaches for a couple of current Championship managers come off". I'm going to speculate that they probably mean Iain Dowie, and perhaps Bristol City's Gary Johnson. But let's keep it in the present for now, and while three points doesn't quite lift us off the bottom, it should definitely lift sprits going into the (zzzzz) international break.

Update : Also WTF : "for the newspaper photographers the excitement before kick-off centred around the appearance of glamorous celebrities Naomi Campbell and Tamara Beckwith in the directors' box." Expect the Evening Standard to tout them as candidates for the manager's job.


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