Despite His White Boots

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

Saturday, March 15, 2008

QPR 3 Scunthorpe 1

A different test for Rangers today as they had to come from behind against a dogged Scunthorpe. Rangers were unchanged, with Rowan Vine on the left in place of the suspended Hogan Ephraim, and it was nice to see Ian Baraclough at left-back for the Iron, one of very few players to emerge with any credit from the Harford/Francis era. Whatever did happen to Stuart Wardley ?

Anyway, the game had barely taken shape when Grant McCann swept a free kick past the wrong-footed, and probably at fault, Lee Camp to give the visitors the lead. Rangers almost replied immediately when Joe Murphy spilled Martin Rowlands' shot and Patrick Agyemang tapped in the rebound, sadly from an offside position. Murphy also saved well from a close-range Agyemang volley, and Damien Delaney dragged a shot narrowly wide after a quick break. Rangers didn't really threaten any time the visitors were set, but had a couple of breakaways that should have come to more with a better final pass. Five minutes before the break though, Rowan Vine burst through from the left wing and was bundled over for a penalty. After a long delay, Rowlands obliged from the spot with minimum fuss.

Scunthorpe seemed happy to settle for a point in the second half, which seemed odd to me given how far adrift they are in the bottom three, but perhaps they didn't really believe that they could score a second goal. For at least 25 minutes, it didn't look as though Rangers believed they could either. Finally some gaps started to appear as Mikele Leigertwood dragged a shot wide and Akos Buszaky's lob managed to evade both the far post and the onrushing Dexter Blackstock. Two minutes later Buszaky and Agyemang combined sublimely to free the latter, and he made a welcome return to the scorers list with a clean finish into the roof of the net.

The visitors bunged on another big striker and did their best, and had a good chance when Camp didn't collect a cross, but took too long and Rangers scrambled it away. Deep into injury time, Gavin Mahon opted to swing a ball into the area instead of keeping it in the corner ; this seemed to surprise the visiting defence and Vine was left free to clip home a third at the far post. 3-1 was probably quite flattering in a game that Rangers had to work very hard to win, but win it they did, and credit is due for keeping at it in a game that didn't really mean a lot to us.

Elsewhere you really wonder who is going to finally flop over the finish line at the top of the Championship, and how embarrassed they will be. Probably not as embarrassed as next season, when whichever three sides are promoted are liable to make Derby County look like Real Madrid.


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