Rangers put in a dominant display to defeat Championship surprise package Bristol City at Loftus Road this afternoon.
Gigi De Canio was not in attendance due to a family bereavement, but he would have been delighted with a first half brace from in form striker Patrick Agyemang, followed up by an excellent second half strike by Akos Buzsaky. It was the least the R`s deserved as they dominated proceedings for large spells in this encounter.
Rangers made changes after a disastrous midweek performance against Cardiff City. Hogan Ephraim and Michael Mancienne were recalled for the starting lineup. There was also a sensational recall for Zesh Rehman, as Fitz Hall dropped out through injury and Mikele Leigertwood and Matthew Connolly dropped to the bench.
Bristol City made one change of note. New signing Dele Adebola started the game with Lee Trundle missing out of the 16 due to a mouth abscess. Ivan Sproule returning for suspension replaced Scott Murray on the bench as city looked to wrestle top spot away from West Brom.
Rangers looked to force the issue early on with a number of chances, most notably Martin Rowlands first minute effort being deflected wide by Jamie McAllister, this subsequently led to a succession of corners with Marvin Elliot heading against his own bar as the pressure was building. This created a chance for Rowan Vine, but his drive narrowly missed the target.
The preferred strike force of Agyemang and Vine were causing all sorts of problems for the Robins backline, robbing giant defender Jamie McCombe and Tamas Vasko on a number of occasions. But it was Jamie McAllister who was at fault for another Rangers chance. Agyemang was closing down every ball, and when it seemed a simple clearance, the big Ghanaian caused McAllister problems, robbing him of the ball infront of the City travelling army before squaring to Akos Buzsaky, whose effort was fumbled but held by City keeper Adriano Basso.
McAllister was then down the other end within minutes driving a rasping drive just over Lee Camp`s crossbar, this gave the R`s a warning of why City are where they are.
Bit City failed to heed the warning given by several Rangers attacks, and the R`s took the lead in the 18th minute. A goal that owed much to the enterprise of Rowan Vine, who slipped a perfectly weighted pass through to the powerful front man, who took one touch a coolly slotted home into the bottom left to give Rangers a deserved lead.
QPR 1-0 BRISTOL CITY
Vine was an absolute handful for the Robins backline, and he had a good chance to double the Rangers lead. He was somewhat fortuitous as his touch rebounded off the defender and he drilled a fizzing shot from the edge of the area, narrowly wide of Basso`s right hand post.
Lee Camp then required treatment after being flattened after having both hands on the ball in an aerial challenge to which the referee inexplicably waved play on, after previously stopping play at the other end for a similar set of circumstances. This gave Gary Johnson the opportunity to regroup his players for a team talk on the pitch. It seemed to have a positive influence on the Robins, as Nick Carle bent his effort narrowly wide of Camp`s right hand post from the edge of the area.
Rangers doubled their lead within a minute, with Patrick Agyemang making it 5 for Rangers in 4 games. A good run by Akos Buzsaky down the right culminated in a powerful drive towards goal, Basso`s parry gave Pat the chance he wasn`t going to miss, pouncing to score in the 33rd minute. It was the least Rangers had deserved after a lot of early pressure and chances.
QPR 2-0 BRISTOL CITY
Rangers nearly had a third on the stroke of Half Time when Buzsaky`s rasping drive clipped the top of the cross bar, as the Bristol City travelling army, 3,000 strong were clearly distressed at the way the play was going.
Vasko then responded as a corner was swung in by the managers son Lee Johnson, and the Hungarian, on loan from Bucharest outfit, Ujpesti, rose highest to head wide. A rare glimpse in what was a disappointing first half performance from the Robins, in stark contrast a tremendous display from the R`s.
Half Time QPR 2-0 Bristol City
Gary Johnson made a change after half time, the aforementioned Vasko, given a torrid time by Rangers forward line was withdrawn in favour of Liam Fontaine.
City had their best chance of the encounter 6 minutes after half time, when a free kick cleverly worked, saw City`s new Australian signing Nick Carle, swing the ball over from the left to the far post. Jamie McCombe was lurking and his looping header went wide of the far post. A fantastic chance for City, which saw Assistant Manager Keith Millen, kick the advertising boards in frustration.
The miss proved crucial as Rangers furthered their tally through Akos Buzsaky, and how! The Magical Magyar cut in from the right hand side, played a neat one-two with unstoppable striker Agyemang, before drilling a slightly deflected left footed volley, that flew past Adriano Basso, and nestled beautifully into the bottom left hand corner. A trademark strike from Buzsaky, who never stopped running down the right throughout the 90 minutes. A 63rd minute strike that ended the game as a contest.
QPR 3-0 BRISTOL CITY
City began to assert some pressure in the game, Dele Adebola drove into the box late on and unleashed a lethal drive which rebounded off the inside of the right hand post. He subsequently got to the rebound which was saved well by Camp with his feet at the near post.
One of the biggest cheers of the day for City fans was the withdrawal of Lee Johnson in place of David Noble. Quite why there was such a cheer, ironic or not for Johnson was a mystery. But there was no mystery about how the result came about. A truly inspired first half performance, coupled with a brace battling second half, culminated in 3 points for Rangers, and the Robins ruing a lack of guile and creativity.
Full Time QPR 3-0 Bristol City
Lee Camp – 7
Not an awful lot to do today, but saved well from Adebola late on. Made some good punches from set pieces, and was brave to do so after being clobbered early on.
Michael Mancienne – 7
Dealt well with all he had to do, made alot of defensive tasks look extremely easy with some clever turns to send Darren Byfield out the ground several times over. Looked to sweep any trouble away, and did so fantastically.
Zesh Rehman – 7
A surprise inclusion for Rangers, after not appearing since the arrival of the new signings. Once again coped admirably against some difficult characters in the City attacking line. Went off to an excellent ovation from the Loftus Road crowd which will do wonders for his confidence.
Damion Stewart – 7
He will be missed when he goes on international duty. An absolute rock at the back, and snuffed out any attacks City had to offer with ease. Had a tricky customer in Adebola today, and he only got one chance in the game. Won alot in the air, and was vital in helping Rehman along.
Damien Delaney – 7
A vast improvement from the Cardiff performance. Was steady at the back, and got forward on a number of occasions in the second half, even breaking into the box at the end. A useful performance.
Akos Buzsaky – 8
Buzsaky tormented his opponents all game, with some clever runs and touches. Perhaps could have done better with a few chances, but the goal made up for anything missed, another tremendous strike from the Magyars’ repertoire.
Martin Rowlands – 7
Another useful performance from the central midfielder. Created a few chances spreading the ball wide, and gave the opposition midfield alot to think about with some good attacking runs.
Gavin Mahon – 6
Did well on the whole winning the ball in midfield and playing it wide. Had a constant ground and aerial tussle with Marvin Elliot, which he won by and large. Another vast improvement on the Cardiff performance.
Hogan Ephraim – 7
Linked up well with Delaney down the left, and his skilfull touch and direct running was causing all sorts of problems for Bradley Orr. An excellent performance in his first league start for the R’s since joining permanently in January.
Rowan Vine – 8
In his prefered strikers role, the ex-Birmingham player relished his chance being a constant menace to McCombe and Vasko, and contributed to Vasko’s withdrawal, nicking the ball off both defenders at every opportunity. Played some neat football with Buszaky, and helped to link in play with Agyemang. Definately staked a case for starting upfront again.
Patrick Agyemang – 9
Well, what can I say that hasn’t already been said. His pace and power in attack could not be coped with, he kept hold of the ball well upfront and distributed intelligently. The 2 goals were a strikers instinct, the first was truly magnificent in its simplicity.
Looked lively down the left when he came on for Hogan. A very skilfull player, and lively aswell and I will look to see more of a role for him in the coming weeks.
Relieved Zesh Rehman, and made some intelligent passes and simple headers back to the keeper to relieve pressure. Looks to be a very shrewd signing.
Didn’t have enough time to judge, but looked to get forward at every opportunity.
Joe Dunbar – 8 – It was a team effort on the bench really with Gigi De Canio absent. Paolo Pavese was on the touchline, with Dunbar and Gareth Ainsworth barking the orders. Must have been an excellent teamtalk as Rangers came out firing. Kept running until the end and never gave up.
Gary Johnson – 6 – I think he underestimated Rangers to epic proportions, the defenders could not cope with the running and the midfielders were losing the battle, the lively attack were never given service. It’ll be back to the drawing board for the previously impressive Robins, who have been dragged down to earth.
Before the game I predicted a narrow win for the R’s. We got the win, but in somewhat better circumstances, dominating proceedings. It was something I could not forsee in this game following the Cardiff debacle, but nevertheless I’m glad to be wrong.