Despite His White Boots

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

Saturday, November 15, 2008

QPR 1 Burnley 2

Just like last season, Burnley fell behind early on but came back to record a deserved win at Loftus Road. At least the difference this time was that Rangers rallied after falling behind and had a good go at chasing the game, but it wasn't to be.

Rangers started very well, threatening down both flanks, and took the lead when Lee Cook and Damiano Tomassi worked some space down the left wing. Cook found Dexter Blackstock and he curved a shot around his marker and into the far corner. Rangers pressed for another 5 minutes as the visitors looked rattled, but they soon re-asserted themselves and took a grip on the game. When the excellent Robbie Blake was given far too much space on the edge of the area, he rifled in an unstoppable equaliser. From that point until half time, Rangers were totally unable to keep possession and could consider themselves fortunate to hold the visitors at bay till the break.

It seemed impossible for Rangers to come out and concede so much territory in the second half, and indeed the Rs had the better of the opening stages as Blackstock was bundled over by Clarke Carlisle in the box for a very close penalty call, and Di Carmine was denied by visiting keeper Jensen. However, when a weak header from Fitz Hall fell to substitue Alan Mahon, his good finish put Burnley ahead.

One thing in Gareth Ainsworth's favour is that he doesn't hang around with his substitutions, and he immediately made his final change, sending Patrick Agyemang on to make a third striker. Agyemang looked by far the most threatening forward from that point, and must surely be playing ahead of the ineffective Di Carmine in future. Burnley defended well though, and did plenty on the break to keep Radek Cerny busy. Rangers had another penalty shout through Blackstock which I didn't think was as good as the previous one, although Ainsworth afterwards indicated that he thought this was a clear penalty. In the closing minutes Agyemang headed wide from a corner when I thought he was going to score, and fired in a snapshot that Jensen tipped over, but the visitors held on for the win.

Of course there was a certain amount of grumbling from the home fans but this was nowhere near as bad as the Derby game ; IMO we just got turned over by a better side. People need to remember where we were this time last year, and the season before for that matter. Me, I think it would help to stop reading gossip websites and messageboards, and just stick to what actually does happen. Or basically just go to the games, enjoy them and forget about it the rest of the time. It's only football.

Update : A couple more thoughts from yesterday : Radek Cerny had no chance with either goal, made a number of good saves and looked very confident throughout. He was applauded by by both of the home "corners" in the early stages and now looks very comfortable in goal. It's very tempting to date this back to Lee Camp's departure (albeit on loan) but who knows whether that's just a coincidence.

The Lee Cook situation needs to be resolved. He's trying very hard, perhaps even too hard, but not really firing and doesn't look the same player as he was two years ago. I honestly don't see the point of sending Balanta off to Wycombe and giving Ephraim half a game here and there when we have loan players like Cook (and Ledesma to an extent) playing in their positions. Similarly with Di Carmine who just doesn't look up to it. Loan players have to be clearly better than what you already have or there's no point IMO.

Finally I was astonished to see Michael Mancienne called up in the England squad. Pleased for him for sure, but he really didn't impress much last season. Either he's suddenly playing blinders for Wolves or, more likely, he has generally been good in the U21s. Anyway good luck to him.


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