< November >
November began with a visit to promotion hopefuls Derby County, who would be eager to gain revenge on the club in what was the first meeting between the two sides since 10-man Rangers emerged victorious at the death in the Championship Play-Off final at Wembley two years prior, courtesy of Bobby Zamora`s late winner.
Charlie Austin returned to the starting line-up for the first time in a month, but he was unable to relieve the pressure on Ramsey, as after a drab first-half that ended goalless, the Rams inflicted a second successive 1-0 defeat on Rangers as Andreas Weimann`s goal six minutes after half-time proved decisive.
The game ended in miserable fashion as James Perch was given his marching orders in the final minutes after picking up a second booking, and the end appeared to be on the horizon for Ramsey, who was losing the support of more and more of the fans with each game that passed, and his eventual exit came as no surprise.
With one point from the last three matches and no goals scored in that time, Rangers had dropped down to 13th in the table, six points adrift of the promotion places, resulting in the board finally making their move, relieving Ramsey of his duties the day after the Derby defeat, with Neil Warnock taking charge temporarily.
With some fans believing he had been harshly sacked at the end of his first spell at the club, it was a move that proved popular amongst a large portion of the fanbase, with many calling for the Yorkshireman, who possessed a vast amount of Championship experience, to be given the job until the end of the season at least.
His first game back at the helm, with Kevin Blackwell at his side, came at home to Preston, who had made a solid return to the second-tier following promotion via the play-offs the previous season, and they came into the game undefeated in five, having recorded an impressive five successive clean sheets in that time.
Despite the return of Austin, goals were proving hard to come by in recent matches, and unsurprisingly it turned out to be a largely uneventful affair despite the buzz of Warnock returning to the dugout, with the visitors having arguably the best chance of the game as Rob Green had to make a smart stop from Bailey Wright`s header late on.
With the match ending goalless, it was the third in a row that Rangers had failed to find the net, however on the plus side, things were tightening up at the back, with a third clean sheet in five games, and just two goals conceded in that time.
With a third of the season having been played out, Rangers had picked up 20 points from 16 games, and the hope of ending a run of three matches without a win, away at high-flying Middlesbrough, another Friday evening fixture infront of the television cameras, was dealt a blow as Warnock didn`t travel for personal reasons.
Just like the previous two encounters infront of the Sky cameras, Rangers came away with nothing, although rather harshly on this occasion, having more than matched their hosts throughout despite being without Austin once again due to injury, and Matt Phillips having to play in an unfamiliar role leading the Rangers attack.
With a hard-earned and deserved point seemingly in the bag going into injury time, the R`s were dealt a hammer blow at the death as Leroy Fer was shown a straight red card for deliberately handling the ball on the goaline, which saw the home side awarded a penalty, that Grant Leadbitter stuck away to snatch the win.
That result made it three defeats and a draw in the last four league matches ahead of the visit of one of Warnock`s former sides, Leeds United, who were unbeaten in their last six visits to Loftus Road, but headed into the game on the back of a 1-0 defeat at home to Yorkshire rivals Rotherham United the week before.
Steve Evans` men had picked up just four wins in their opening 17 league matches, but they would leapfrog Rangers with a victory, and given the difficult patch the club was going through, Warnock make a bold call by leaving Austin on the bench from the start, having not wanted to rush the striker back from injury.
With neither side having managed to find the net in the opening half, Warnock`s hand was forced just after the hour mark, as he brought on Austin to add more impetus to the attack, and the frontman took no time at all to make his presence felt by providing the game`s decisive moment having been on the field for a minute.
With Rangers having won a corner moments after the introduction of Austin, he rose highest to meet Alejandro Faurlin`s delivery with his head to net his eighth goal from 13 appearances in a so far injury plagued season, and after weathering some late pressure, the R`s managed to hold out to pick up their first win in five games.
Despite a recent poor run, the club were just five points adrift of the play-off places heading into the busy December schedule, and the club looked to be close to appointing a new permanent manager as rumours circulated that they were in talks with Burton Albion for the services of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who had guided the club to the top of League One on a very modest budget.
League position: 12th (P18, W6, D5, L7)
QPR Season in Review – November
< November >