The sixth part of our review of the 2009/10 season – as the R’s entered the new year in hope.
Sheffield United 1-1 QPR – 03-01-2010
Once again more in hope than expectation, Rangers travelled in a bid to banish their FA Cup woes, a competition they have failed to be victorious in since 2001.
Imagine the surprise in the away end when Wayne Routledge supplied Jay Simpson for the opener, and for a few moments the R’s were in FA Cup wonderland.
Richard Cresswell soon poured scorn on this feeling whenhe equalised on the stroke of half time, but Paul Hart’s men held out for the replay.
Goals: Cresswell 45; Simpson 39
Team: Radek Cerny, Peter Ramage, Damion Stewart, Mikele Leigertwood, Wayne Routledge, Akos Buszaky (Hogan Ephraim), Patrick Agyemang (Heidar Helguson 85), Kaspar Gorkss, Matthew Connolly, Alejandro Faurlin, Jay Simpson, Gary Borrowdale
QPR 2-3 Sheffield United – 12-01-2010
All the pre-match talk surrounded the possibility of Rangers breaking their recent FA Cup baron run – it would certainly be their best chance for a number of years.
Lee Williamson doused these hopes 19 minutes in as he fired home unmarked, but it was Jamie Ward that lit up the occasion from the bench in the second period.
He scored a goal a minute after his introduction, and Paul Hart lost the supporters when hauling off star performer Alejandro Faurlín. Supporters vented their frustration more visibly moments later when Richard Cresswell completed two goals in two minutes.
Rangers were down and out, but the Blades feeling in charitable mood gave the hosts a penalty – Ákos Buzsáky dispatching from the spot – and moments later Damion Stewart converted an opportunity from a corner.
There was a degree of excitement in W12 as a slumbering crowd came to life, and Antonio German was a whisker away from handing the R’s extra time – but as it stood Rangers were condemned to more cup woe.
Goals: Buzsáky 71pen, Stewart 88; Williamson 19, Ward 68, Cresswell 70
Team: Radek Cerny, Peter Ramage, Damion Stewart, Mikele Leigertwood, Wayne Routledge, Ákos Buzsáky, Patrick Agyemang, Kaspars Gorkss, Alejandro Faurlín (Adel Taarabt 69), Jay Simpson (Antonio German 80), Gary Borrowdale.
Blackpool 2-2 QPR – 16-01-2010
Paul Hart opted to leave his post and his assistant Mick Harford was promoted to manager for the second time – the R’s travelled to face Blackpool with change once again ringing in their ears.
Mick dipped into the market to secure Carl Ikeme on loan and he started ahead of Radek Cerny, with the bizarre choice of Fitz Hall at right-back – this was soon exploited by a buoyant ‘Pool.
Hall was easily beaten down the flank before a cross picked out the unmarked Charlie Adam on the far post, and the record Blackpool signing wasted no time in dispatching his effort.
Into the second half and Rangers started to improve and as a result earned a penalty – Adel Taarabt coolly chipped down the middle for the equaliser.
Disaster struck with little over ten minutes remaining as Keith Southern’s shot rebounded off a wily Gary Taylor-Fletcher, but even this clever piece of ingenuity couldn’t out-shine the eventual equaliser.
Antonio German came from the bench to show great strength and set-up Matt Connolly. The defender belied his goalscoring record to take control and smash home on the volley – looping over Rachubka.
Goals: Adam 9, Taylor-Fletcher 77; Taarabt 55pen, Connolly 84
Team: Carl Ikeme, Fitz Hall (Peter Ramage 77), Kaspars Gorkss, Matt Connolly, Wayne Routledge, Mikele Leigertwood, Alejandro Faurlín (Antonio German 80), Ákos Buzsáky (Hogan Ephraim 46), Adel Taarabt, Patrick Agyemang.
Nottingham Forest 5-0 QPR – 26-01-2010
Nottingham Forest were riding the crest of a wave at the top of the league, and former Reds boss Mick Harford was charged with the task of stabilising the R’s season.
Matt Hill and Nigel Quashie were drafted in for this clash, but it didn’t take them long to realise the true plight of Rangers and the fight of Forest.
Rob Earnshaw slotted home the opener before the 20-minute mark after a dominant opening for the hosts – and the former Cardiff City man doubled the lead three minutes later to leave the R’s fans with a sinking feeling.
To add insult to injury Dexter Blackstock slammed home a penalty against his former club to give Forest a deserved half time unassailable lead.
Forest were looking every bit the winners and indeed promotion fodder as Chris Cohen found space and time to slam home the fourth – and the six goals required to go to the summit looked a distinct possibility.
Rangers were floundering and giving their supporters very little in terms of cheer, and when James Perch was allowed to power home the fifth, even the gallows humour began to subside.
Thankfully the scoring stopped there, but it was evident from this display that Rangers would have to fight for their lives if they were to stay in the Championship.
Goals: Earnshaw 18. 21, Blackstock 32pen, Cohen 49, Perch 78
Team: Carl Ikeme, Matt Connolly, Damion Stewart (Peter Ramage 46), Kaspars Gorkss, Matt Hill, Ákos Buzsáky, Mikele Leigertwood, Nigel Quashie, Alejandro Faurlín (Hogan Ephraim 46), Adel Taarabt, Jay Simpson (Rowan Vine 70).
QPR 0-1 Scunthorpe United – 30-01-2010
A win for this one become more crucial as Rangers started to slip towards the wrong end of the table, and the unthinkable prospect of relegation began to rear its head.
Despite seeing a good proportion of the game Rangers were undone by a moment on the counter-attack when some useful play by Gary Hooper found Garry Thompson and his strike condemned the R’s to defeat.
What riled supporters more was the sight of Mr Briatore storming out of the ground once the ball hit the back of the net – he was hounded by those around him as he skulked away.
The unthinkable became a very real prospect as Rangers slumped at home to who were now a relegation rival – the slide was certainly in full flow.
Goals: Thompson 74
Team: Carl Ikeme, Mikele Leigertwood, Rowan Vine (Antonio German 75), Ákos Buzsáky (Angelo Balanta 80), Kaspars Gorkss, Nigel Quashie, Matt Connolly, Alejandro Faurlín, Matt Hill, Jay Simpson, Adel Taarabt (Lee Cook 75).
Stay tuned – more coming soon!
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