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10/04 QPR 2nd Half
By: Tony Butcher
ANTOINE-Curier was replaced by Thorrington at half time, meaning a bit of shuffling. Jevons played at centre forward, with Thorrington on the right, Anderson the left. Jevons and Rowan together again. Never fails to satisfy .... the opposition.
Queens Park Rangers 3 Grimsby Town 0
Furlong unmarked at the far post heading down, Fettis sprawling to his left and clawing the ball away from the goal line and rising to block the follow up. Well, is it now then? Ainsworth swaggered through the Town defence on the left, treating Crane with disdain as he washed his feet. Crane lunged, Ainsworth fell. Up went the home fans, up went the ball, popping to Furlong half a dozen yards out at the near post. Down went Fettis clutching the header on the line. Rage poured down from every little seat. It sure looked like a penalty from 120 yards away.
During all this Town had ....no shots. Thorrington occasionally received the ball as he bear hugged the touchline, but he didnâ€™t manage to get past his full back. Crosses came in but without any thoughts of joy. Rowan was barely alive when inside the penalty area, seemingly shocked and stunned that the ball might go near him Actually, thatâ€™s what we thought too, sat just a dozen yards away. Town did do a fleetingly interesting move with Coldicott at the hub. Some one-touch flicks between Anderson, Rowan, Jevons and Crowe saw the ball returned to Coldicott in the centre, 30 yards out. He curled a pass up the centre, it was laid off in the air to the touchline where Crowe out jumped Bignot and sent Jevons free in to the penalty area. Jevons got to the bye line and his cross was blocked out for a corner. That was it. You didnâ€™t expect a shot did you? How innocent you are in adult matters. Town had several moments where things could have happened, crosses ready to go in, streets full of people, no-one there. All hope gone to the moon.
With about 10 minutes left Armstrong fell, clutching his left hip and signalling to be taken off. Despite this clue no-one stripped off to replace him and Town again played for a minute or two with 10 men. Eventually, Warhurst trotted on, going to centre back with Crane moving up to an indefinable position upfield, something akin to left wing. It is not possible to describe the formation thereafter. Defence-Coldicott-everyone else is the best I can come up with. A couple of minutes after Warhurst came on he flipped the ball out for a corner, on their left. It was swung in, cleared back out and crossed back beyond the far post towards the unmarked Furlong and Gnohere (who has no hair, but they donâ€™t care). Furlong headed the ball into the ground, turned, retrieved the ball and laid it back to the gremlin, just outside the area about 20 yards out and to the right of centre. BIRCHAM took one touch forward and lampooned a swirling right-footed half volley into the top left hand corner of Fettisâ€™s goal.
At this point the homeyboys and girls felt confident enough to start taunting us, and their players were finally confident enough to play like a team destined for promotion. A couple of minutes later - hereâ€™s the statutory third. How did they score the third? Well, QPR hit it and it went in. The ball was bibbling about in the middle, there was some head tennis, Cureton flicked the ball on as Edwards challenged, and the unmarked FURLONG ran in from the centre left and passed the ball across Fettis and into the bottom right hand corner.
The Rangers players began to delve into their party trick bag, showing off and have a whale of a time, which is no way to treat Tony Crane, our very own beached whale. Someone please lever him back in to the water. Almost from the kick off Cureton let fly form about 30 yards with a hugely dipping volley that Fettis superbly tipped over the bar. There were four minutes of added time during which Coldicott smacked a shot just over the crossbar from about 25 yards out. Fortunately it didnâ€™t go in and spoil our day. If the Stacemeister is going to score, make it Monday, not a wasted goal in a lost game.
The game ended, allowing the home support to go home to their canapÃ©s and raspberry coulis. The Town players walked over to the remaining Mariners and acknowledged us. They werenâ€™t booed, or jeered, for it hadnâ€™t been a terrible performance. The scoreline flattered QPR, but donâ€™t kid yourself that Town deserved to draw. QPR were better. Not great, just better. Raising their individual and collective game to the level of "occasionally good" and doing enough. There was no threat from Town, the defence was mostly adequate, undone (initially) by some ropey refereeing and then by some added pace and purpose. This was an extremely mundane game, for large parts it was very boring. I suppose thatâ€™s the future, isnâ€™t it.
You can forget about Lawrence for several games, and probably Armstrong too. Youâ€™d like to forget about Antoine-Curier and Rowan, but you canâ€™t, not with Rankin gingerly hobbling stiff legged down the steps at the end of the game. It doesnâ€™t look good does it? No players, no goals, no points. The players? Well, they may find themselves in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife and a beautiful car. But, they have to ask themselves "How did we get here?" As the games go by, the points are flowing underground.
Nickoâ€™s Man of the Match
Three Town players to choose from. Coldicott was a dynamic and deceptively effective cruncher. He tamed Bircham, no mean feat. Fettis made some excellent saves, though the suspicion is that he should have caught the ball for the first goal. So, as ever, and just to ram home the message, Mike Edwards. He did what he always does, in his usual way.
M Thorpe. He was untrustworthy. For every good decision, some may even say brave decision, there were three wilfully poor ones. He appeared to play to the crowd after refusing the home fans free kicks and a penalty. His bookings were arbitrary too, the wilder the challenge the less likely he was to book. He didnâ€™t have control. The abacus of life says 3.784.
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