Friday, 23 December 2011

Queens Park Rangers - Loftus Road

Queens Park Rangers FC
Loftus Road Stadium
South Africa Road
W12 7PA

020 8743 0262

Matchday Number: 8
Wednesday 24th March 1993
Queens Park Rangers 0-3 Blackburn Rovers
Premier League

My first visit to QPR's Loftus Road ground was for the Premiership game with Blackburn Rovers in March 1993. I'd actually completely forgotten about it until a couple of nights ago, when I was watching Match Of The Day and it suddenly came into my head that my list on here was wrong, having initially put my first visit as 2002. So after much renumbering of my posts on here, I was able to continue with my site. I must admit, I don't remember much about the game. I know I went with my school and the result, but not much else. Records tell me that the attendance was just 10,000 and that Blackburn's goals came from Moran, Ripley and Atkins. This was just at the start of Jack Walker pumping millions into the Ewood Park club, which saw them lift the Premier League title a few years later under Kenny Dalglish.

Wycombe's first visit there came in 2002. I had only decided to go at the last minute, begging my Dad to give me a lift over there, and getting the supporters coach back. I will leave the ever excellent Chairboys On The Net, to provide a view on the action.. it was a cracking game!

Wycombe fans left Loftus Road more than a little shellshocked after seeing Wanderers reduced to nine men on the stroke of half-time before finally going down 4-3 to an impressive QPR side. It will be the highly controversial double sending off of Jermaine McSporran and Danny Senda that will remain the talking point of Wycombe's first ever senior visit to Loftus Road. Both players were shown straight red cards for alleged violent conduct following a penalty award to the home side for a clumsy challenge by Jason Cousins on Kevin Gallen when the score was 1-1.
Wanderers players reacted badly to Gallen's delight of winning the spotkick, with Michael Simpson and Danny Senda leading the charge of abuse directed at the Rangers player. The obligatory mass brawl followed and following a lenghthy discussion with both his assistants, referee Phil Prosser made the amazing decision to send-off McSporran. A case of mistaken indentity perhaps but after further advice and to make matters worse for Wycombe the official then directed Senda down the tunnel. It was a full five minutes later before the spot-kick was eventually taken and to complete the scene Martin Taylor dived to his left to push away Andy Thomson's effort.
Before all this fun Wycombe fans had seen a rather surprising team selection by Lawrie Sanchez, with both Darren Currie and Stuart Roberts left out of the starting line-up in favour of Dannie Bulman and Keith Ryan. As expected Jason Cousins came in for the injured Paul McCarthy while Andy Rammell returned after his three match ban with Paul Emblen ruled out due to suspension.
It was Cousins who had a gilt-edged chance to put Wycombe ahead within the opening couple of minutes. The ball had fell to Cousins around eight yards from goal after Dannie Bulman's shot had been deflected but Cousins was unable to keep his snap effort on target.
However, there were ominous signs that Wycombe were soon to be run ragged at the back. In the 6th minute Gavin Peacock's shot from the right bobbled up and Martin Taylor was grateful to push the ball wide of the far post. Five minutes later Senda was caught out on the Rangers left flank by Karl Connolly but tops scorer Andy Thomson was unable to convert the loose ball at the far post.
It was Thomson who gave the home side the lead on 27 minutes when he followed up Karl Connolly's shot from the left that had been parried at the near post by Taylor. However, Wycombe drew level four minutes later when Terrell Forbes barged Rammell off the ball following Simpson's high ball into the box from the right wing. Steve Brown stroked home the penalty with his left foot, dummying Fraser Digby before sending the R's keeper the wrong way.
The goal boosted Wycombe's moral and McSporran then had two glorious opportunities to put Wycombe ahead before madness descended on West London. First in the 34th minute an excellent through ball from Rammell found 'Jocky' but he couldn't find the space to get in a decent strike on goal. The best chance came a minute before the end of normal first half time. Brown and Simpson combined to send 'Jocky' away down the right but Digby narrowed the angle and the eventual shot was saved at the near post. Moments later Wycombe's day was turned upside down as the match officials lost control of a situation that could have been covered with a couple of yellow cards to each team. Instead of that, Mr Prosser and his side-kicks conned the public out of watching a fair game.
Half-time QPR 1 Wycombe 1
With Wycombe reduced in ranks the match looked effectively over as a contest when first Gallen on 54 minutes and then Connolly seven minutes later gave Rangers a 3-1 lead. However, urged on by a seething mass of Wycombe fans, Dannie Bulman smashed home a 63rd minute free-kick that had been brought forward to the edge of the Rangers penalty area to make the score 3-2. Gavin Peacock restored the two goal cushion for the home side on 76 minutes but as always Wycombe refused to give up and when Ben Askar pulled back Rammell on 80 minutes, it was 'Rambo' who picked himself up to convert Wycombe's second spot-kick of the day. Sadly Rammell limped off minutes later with an ankle injury but with both Roberts and Currie now involved it was left to Simpson to go within inches of salvaging a remarkable draw with a stoppage time shot that whistled past the upright.
Full Time QPR 4 Wycombe 3

LOFTUS ROAD is a bit of a dump to be honest, and to progress they need a better ground. I do hate slagging off a ground, but the away end is pathetic, only in a few seats in the top tier can you see both of the goals. Where I sat v Blackburn in the home end is a better view, but the ground is still in a bit of a rough area, all I can remember is going to the local pub. I didn't try to look for any food places, though I recommend that anyone visiting does - I was served a raw hot-dog in a bun, and had to take it back!

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