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  • Back from Preston

    And what an enjoyable weekend we had too. We stayed over at Blackpool for a couple of nights (leaving home on Friday and coming home today after the game) at a hotel where there were plenty of other QPR fans staying. Despite youngest daughter having a drama there on the Friday night which I fully expect her entire school to hear about on Tuesday, we had a great time. The weather was kind to us on the Saturday; we met Billy Connolly on the Friday night in the hotel bar and I had my photo taken with him; there were cheap pints in the bar for 1.50 so many thanks to QPR fan Andy, for sorting us out with a good deal with it.

    Of course Preston isn't far from Blackpool and we arrived at Deepdale with around an hour to kick off. They have done so well there with the developments to the ground and even younger daughter mentioned what a nice ground it is. As kick off approached I was surprised by just how many R's fans were there today. It's a long way back to London, and on a Sunday afternoon, with nothing much to play for on our part bar pride, there was a tremendous showing by our fans.

    Gareth went for a 4-4-2 formation with Vine and Agyemang up front. No Lee Cook, so Hogan played on the left wing, Routledge on the right and Mahon and Legs in the middle. No Damion Stewart in defence so Connolly partnered Gorkks in the centre with Ramage and Delaney on the flanks.
    With Preston having it all to play for they came at us right from the start and for the first 15 minutes or so we were under a lot of pressure but Connolly and Gorkks were holding firm with their clearances etc. It did seem though with around 20 minutes on the clock having been played that they got through us as the ball was slid past Cerny at the near post but the flag was raised and it took a while for it to hit some of the home fans that it had been ruled out for offside. Down the other end (with Rangers kicking towards our end) Leggy let fly with a fine shot from outside the area (shock horror, we'd had a shot from outside the area folks!) which flew only inches wide of the bar. This was a warning to the home side that they would need to keep up the pressure because we'd been holding our own and had been playing some nice stuff actually. The problem was in the final third of the pitch. At one stage Hogan had put a decent cross over but to no avail as we had just one player wtih the hindsight to make a run to the goal line area. Another time, Rowan Vine had done some good work, but it was on the wing, and again, because he wasn't inside the area, with just Agyemang in a position inside the box, it was an easy job for the PNE defence to clear.

    It wasn't too far from half time (around 7 minutes or so away) when PNE got the breakthrough they had been waiting for. They'd made an attack through the middle and one of their players (couldn't see who it was) made a right hash of a shot he had on goal, sending it way high into the stand. Cerny decided to throw the ball out to Gorkks, who, being hassled by one of their players, decided to opt to pass back to Cerny, however he played it too short, Cerny came out but alas, the big Sam Parkin up front for them, had slipped in and he put the ball past Cerny with ease, and into the far net it landed. The place erupted around us and we were all left rueing yet another defensive mix up. Some of our fans had just started singing you're not going up to the home fans literally seconds before that goal, which is just typical really.

    News was filtering through though that Burnley were beating Bristol City 2-0 so our fans continued with the chants of you're not going up and Que Sera whatever will be will be you're not going to Wemberly (I quite liked that one) and when the ref blew for the half time whistle you could feel the tension around the ground. Fair play to our players when they came out for the second half. We had the majority of the possession in the first part of this period, and within 10 minutes of the re-start we had equalised, with Vine and Agyemang linking up allowing big Pat to slide the ball past their keeper much to our delight. If it had felt tense before this, the place suddenly went very quiet for a short while before suddenly a huge roar went up around us. Looking to our left at the supporters on that side of us it became apparent that Cardiff were losing as there was much jumping up and down going on and lots of fist clenching and urging of their players going on. If it was obvious to us what was happening elsewhere then the players too would have know and this became evident when the home side really up the ante on us. A flurry of corners ensued, with Cerny making a good one handed save as a result of one of them. Big Sam Parkin (who looks more suited as a rugby player, he is huge!) looked quite lumbering but he was causing problems, and there was plenty of defending going on in our box. HOwever as well as were holding out though, you just knew they were going to score, and sure enough with around 15 minutes remaining, so the goal came that they had been pushing for. A long throw in was flicked on and as the ball sailed over to the far post, Sean St Ledger rose highest to head the ball home. There were delirious scenes going on around us and to be honest I didn't begrudge them as fair play to them, they were doing what was required of them. Ains decided to make a change by bringing Antonio German on for Agyemang, and then shortly afterwards also brought Balanta on for Mahon. It was quite funny though as we did almost equalise right at the end in injury time when a header from one of our players (couldn't see who) was headed away on the line. By this stage plenty of the home fans were making their move by moving down to the front of the stands in order to invade the pitch, this despite pleas by the tannoy announcer to not do so. Come the final whistle, plenty of them did indeed run onto the pitch. The announcer made a plea to help the club by saying that they were in the play off's and that they needed the pitch to be in a decent state for their game against Sheffield United next week.

    In the midst of all this, Gareth Ainsworth had made his way over to us to acknowledge and clap the QPR fans. I do like him, such a decent man and I hope the club treats him well, despite what happenings might occur next season management wise. There were plenty of Preston fans clapping and shaking his hand too. Hogan came over to us to acknowledge the supporters as did Patrick Agyemang, he actually was shaking many hands, Preston and QPR fans down the front. As we made our way out, we glanced towards the pitch for one final time and there were plenty of Preston fans clapping the R's fans and it was all generally a rather pleasant experience and I wish them well in the play offs.

    I'm not going to bother with any player ratings as I'm tired now and am going to watch the rest of the snooker. But generally, we did ok. Couple of shaky moments by a couple of the players, but at least they didn't lie down for Preston which was good to see. If I were to pick a motm then I think it would be Matt Connolly.

    We'll upload some photos tomorrow from Blackpool and Preston for interest.

  • #2
    Cheers Tracy #########x
    Running the London Marathon for the Down's Syndrome Association....


    Visit my charity page here

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    • #3
      yea as we start to sing you not going up they score. what mugs we sounded lol still we make some good noise for as you say a sunday afternoon up at preston with nothing to play for game. Hogan was my man of the match

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      • #4
        Hi Tracy -- couldn't find you today to say hello.
        Thought the best aspect of our game was seeing Vine bringing the best out of Pat and Hogan -- a great threesome last season, and some reminders of how much we've missed that combo this season.
        We really, really need to keep these players if poss., especially Vine -- he seems to make the whole team tick around him; and as for what position he plays in -- well, it's irrelevant, as his strength (which I'd sort of forgotten) is that he pops up where and when the oppo (and us!) least expect him to -- great movement.

        (And Rowan, if you're reading this, thanks for giving Dan your tracksuit top -- it made his day. He's having a bit of a hard time at the mo, one way or another, and needed something to cheer him up. Thanks.)
        Faurlin is my hero!!! Love him!!! #########

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