Despite His White Boots

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

Sunday, August 10, 2008

QPR 2 Barnsley 1

QPR recorded an unconvincing win in their opening game, but a win nonetheless. Cerny, Gorkss, Ramage and Ledesma made their debuts for the home side, but it was Barnsley's new signing Iain Hume who sprinted through a big gap in the Rangers defence to open the scoring on five minutes. It wasn't even their first chance, Jon Macken having fluffed an excellent opportunity from 10 yards, and Rangers were seriously wobbling. Fortunately Barnsley couldn't add to their lead, and with Ledesma coming into the game, Rangers started to push forward. And it was the Argentinian's free kick that led to the equaliser ; Barnsley keeper Steele fumbled the low shot, and a whole posse of Rangers players forced the ball in via the crossbar, with Fitz Hall claiming the final touch. Within two minutes, Hall added a second, volleying from over his shoulder across the keeper after Barnsley had failed to clear Lee Cook's corner.

Rangers then had the better of the first half, but Barnsley were stronger in the second, especially after Hall of all people wasted the chance to kill the game from the penalty spot. Most people around the ground assumed that Hall was taking the penalty because he was on a hat-trick, which seemed unprofessional at 2-1, but Iain Dowie maintained after the game that Hall was the designated penalty taker, which seemed unlikely until you actually looked around the team and wondered who else would have taken it. Fortunately Martin Rowlands will be back soon to relieve him of the job.

Barnsley had several set-piece opportunities but with Gavin Mahon seeming to head almost all of them out of danger, Rangers hung on, more comfortably after Van Homoet was sent off for slashing at another debutant Dani Parejo from behind. The Spaniard showed a few neat touches in a 20-minute cameo without seeing much of the ball, as did winger Matteo Alberti. Of the starting newcomers, Ledesma was the clear pick, very skilful and a real threat. Ramage had a decent game at right-back, but Gorkss and Cerny perhaps need some time to settle in. It does seem harsh on Lee Camp to be immediately replaced in goal IMO, and he looked a lot less than happy during the half-time subs kickabout.

In the end everyone was glad to pick up 3 points even if the performance could have used a lot of improvement ; it's very important to start with some momentum, and that's one game out of the way before Rowlands comes back at least.


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