Match Report

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Match Report

Post by Vampire » Sun Aug 09, 2009 3:10 pm

A bright, hot and muggy day at Loftus Road for the first game of the new season. Before kick-off, a parade of Rangers' legends were led onto the (newly laid and perfect looking) pitch - Lazarus, Stan, Stevie Wicks, Birch. The compere asked Laz "Are Rangers fans the best in the World?". There was a slightly embarrassing pause, before an uncertain "Yes?" was heard. Made me smile anyway.

After an aptly raucous minutes applause for Sir Bobby, we got underway.

We lined up in a notional 4-4-2, with HH and Adel up front, a middle four of Routledge, Rowly, Mahon and Balanta and a back four of Borrowdale, Gorkks, Fitz and Ramage. In reality it was more of a 4-4-1-1, with Adel showing his midfield instincts and dropping off HH.

Rangers completely controlled the first half - retaining possession, passing the ball well, getting shots in from outside the box and generally looking impressive, although not massively threatening. We were aided by a frankly woeful Blackpool side, which stood off us way too much (very un-Holloway) and attacked by simply pinging the ball up the pitch as quickly as possible and hoping for a lucky bounce (very Holloway).

Three thoughts ran through my head as the half progressed :

1. We need a striker.
2. We need a striker.
3. We need a striker.

We were putting a lot of high balls into the centre of the box from the flanks (with Angelo, Wayne and Adel showing lots of industry and skill). But it was all fairly pointless. Neither HH or Adel are the kind of player who will terrorise a centre back for that sort of delivery. It was no surprise that our best chance came from Routledge, skinning his man and advancing into the box to the by-line. He pulled back the ball, on the deck, to HH, who incredibly ballooned the ball onto the bar, with the keeper AWOL.

Blackpool's goal was well taken and out of nowhere. We were beaten in the air to a high one at the corner of the box. Burgess turned and finished nicely into the far corner of the net. Not a huge amount Cerny could do. Thankfully (and as opposed to the first game last year) the crowd stayed positive (although a few of the players shoulders dropped alarmingly for the rest of the half). When Borrowdale (fairly anonymous, with almost nothing to do defensively) spooned a line pass into the Ellerslie, there were more shouts of encouragement than moans and groans. Hopefully we can keep this up.

The second half was more of the same really, although Blackpool got a little more in it as we chased the game and left gaps. Balanta smacked one against the bass of the post after their keeper flapped the ball to his feet at the corner of the six yard box. Vine came on for the ineffective HH and looked lively and committed, but not match fit (he was holding his groin so much I was close to calling the police at one stage). However, he is not much of a goal threat (he is more a Rooney than an Owen).

Buzz came on for Balanta and looked quality but again off the pace (his lungs were hanging out of his arse after one run and (weak) shot).

Rowly (who put in a commanding and robust performance) then went down very badly, making a last ditch tackle in our area. I fear the worst for him, as he was hitting the turf with his fist in a frustrated "pribbling idle-headed giglet, I've aggravated something bad I'm going to miss the rest of the season" kinda way (I'm a great reader of body language). I'm sure he appreciated being left by the physio to hobble off the pitch on his own and off down the tunnel. Nothing like wrapping your prized assets in cotton wool. He was subbed for Pat.

Now, Pat is a bit of a mystery to me. He was probably our one "classic" style centre forward on the pitch, but seems to be allergic to the turf inside the box - consistently running to the wings to assist and then not putting in the hard yards to get back to threaten from our crosses. Someone should hammer a pole into the penalty spot, tie a 10 yard leash to it and wrap it around his waist. Stay there son. We have a 150 midfielders who can do the wing play.

Any road, we continued to press (although with less direction with Rowly missing) and there was lots of nice interplay between Adel, Routledge, Buzz, Vine and (occasionally) Pat - very little genuine goal mouth threat though.

About halfway through the half, Wayne was scythed by one of 'Pool's centre backs. The ref waved play on and the game switched to our end. Routledge picked himself up, ran up behind the centre back and then pole axed him with a wonderful two footed challenge. Not seen by the ref or the lino - the two Blackpool centre halfs ran after the ref screaming blue murder. The ref looked a bit confused, spoke to the lino, who hadn't seen it/flagged, spoke to Wayne and then (thankfully) booked him (thus preventing an almost certain post match red, if video evidence was considered). All a little odd.

It seemed strangely apt that when our goal eventually came, it had nowt to do with any of our strikers, wingers and assorted midfield maestros. Ramage (who can put in a decent ball) popped one towards the far stick, it sailed over the keeper's flailing hands and into the corner of the net. Fluke City. Cue Rambo running towards R Block giving it all a bit of Stuart Pearce in '96.

I thought it reasonably weird that Ramage was given man of the match (awarded before he scored). He really had very little to do as Blackpool were so poor. He was ok (ish) coming forward, but his defensive play is still suspect. Terrified of pace and consistently giving too much space and yardage to their winger in the second half. Expect him to get roasted when we play a decent outfit. I've seen that others on here disagree with this view and I'm more than happy to cheer him to cult status if it gives him a bit more confidence (which he clearly lacked last year) and effectiveness. My view remains that he is not good enough for a promotion chasing team.

FT - 1-1

Overall view? - two points dropped. The opposition was a chicken there to be plucked and we came over all veggie. We need a big carnivore of a striker very, very quickly.

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Post by old pauline » Sun Aug 09, 2009 4:20 pm

A great summation of the afternoon's events. Cheers.
Come on you Sooopa ........

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Re: Match Report

Post by DAVEf » Sun Aug 09, 2009 4:24 pm

Vampire wrote:
Now, Pat is a bit of a mystery to me. He was probably our one "classic" style centre forward on the pitch, but seems to be allergic to the turf inside the box - consistently running to the wings to assist and then not putting in the hard yards to get back to threaten from our crosses. .

He's at his best running (with or without the ball).

Heading and/or nimble poaching are not really his thing so, in the slower build-ups, he is always likely to pull wide (and stay wide). Then it is the responsibiility of others to get into the box.

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Post by The Hat » Sun Aug 09, 2009 5:49 pm

Cracking report - Exactly as I saw it too.....

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Post by dm » Sun Aug 09, 2009 7:50 pm

Thanks for that vampire. You make some interesting points with a nice style.

Please do again next match.

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