Carling Cup First Round
Team: Kenny, Orr, Hall, Connolly, Borrowdale, Mackie, Leigertwood, Derry (Oastler), Ephraim, Clarke (German), Parker (Rose)
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Faurlin, Brown, Ehmer.
What concerned me was that this was a chance for the younger players to make a mark – and they failed to do so. They weren’t helped by some abject performances from the senior players like Hall and Leigertwood who I thought were shocking. I don’t like to think we are the sort of club who can look disdainfully at the League Cup – anyone who knows our history should know that it gave us our proudest moment – and I’m gutted at yet another embarrassing home defeat against lower league opposition. I know for some, a good result up at Bramall Lane is of much more importance, but yet again the hard-core fans that turn out to support the club come shuffling out of Loftus Road ashamed of what they’ve just seen. Clueless, inept, gutless – seen enough of that over the past few years, not what I wanted to see in the second game of the season !
Were they all up for it ? Port Vale were better at the basics and I really do wonder why a creative player like Faurlin wasn’t involved at some point ? As Mark said, we ended up as a long blue and white line spread across the pitch as another meaningless ball was pumped in ! Everyone sitting near me agreed that our ‘goal’ didn’t even cross the line. I enjoyed a few pints of ‘London Pride’ in the Crown & Sceptre before the game, but I didn’t witness much of it on the pitch though. Very humiliating !!!
As the rain poured down at Loftus Road, the match began on a very wet pitch that otherwise would’ve been like a carpet. The Port Vale players in particular struggled on it at first, but once they found their feet they began to grow in confidence. About five minutes before their first goal, they hit the underside of the bar from a corner, and the ball bounced down (my initial reaction was that it was behind the line, but I haven’t seen anyone agreeing with this). Moments before, Leon Clarke had squandered an absolute sitter following a good through ball from Matt Connolly.
With QPR’s lack of fuss about this game becoming more apparent, Vale sensed an upset, and went ahead on the half-hour when Justin Jackson broke the offside trap (or perhaps didn’t according to some Rangers fans) and very coolly stuck the ball in the bottom corner. Just six minutes later and they were at it again, when some very average defending allowed Rigg to turn and curl it into the far corner, just out of Kenny’s reach. There was still time for Parker to break through on goal, but only for him to drag his shot to the near post, which it hit on its way out. Another chance that we should have scored from, and at 2-2, obviously we would have been in a very different situation. The half time whistle came, and not a moment too soon, to a chorus of boos from six-and-a-half thousand or so QPR fans.
During the break, we could see Romone Rose warming up with a Coach, but it was Antonio German who replaced Clarke. It made little change at first as Vale went up the other end and Jackson bagged his second following up a spill by Kenny (albeit from a good save). Just after the hour mark, German received another good through ball (from Connolly, if I remember correctly), and took a shot. It hit the post, bounced across the line and then hit the other post, before bouncing out. To the surprise of the fans around him, the linesman gave a goal, but it was little more than a consolation. Rose and Oastler were brought on immediately after the goal, but Warnock’s attitude to the game was further shown by leaving the only senior player (except Cerny) on the bench. Although, having said that, I don’t know if Faurlin would’ve made much difference overall.