Team: Kenny, Hill, Orr, Gorkss, Connolly, Derry, Faurlin, Routledge, Taarabt, Miller, Helguson.
Subs: Cerny, Hall, Shittu, Chimbonda, Buzsaky, Vaagan Moen, Hulse.
Well, I was dreading the journey to Preston as snow had been forecast and I had flashbacks to Leeds away where I must’ve had twelve layers on, brrrrrrr, cold. So I set off from Hull at 11am in driving rain and got to Leeds where the snow had settled. The further I got along the M62 the deeper the snow got. It was dark over the moors with thick snow and still snowing, and it wasn’t looking good. When I got to the other side of Manchester there was no snow to be seen, very weird, just drizzling. I parked up in the school opposite the ground, where I saw Carl Serrant (the QPR fitness coach) parking up the Audi. Still couldn’t believe that he had to park with the minions and then make his own way to the ground ?
I walked to the ground where I met a nice Hoops fan called Mark who talked me into walking to the Sumner for a drink and a bite to eat, fat coke and chips with curry sauce later (this diet isn’t working)I headed back to the ground to meet up with my pals and bumped into a lad I knew from my school days on the concourse. He now lives in Crewe, so it was brilliant to see him and his lovely little lad. We went to take our seats and take in the ground. I was impressed with the number of travelling fans, who were in fine voice. I still giggle at the number we get now compared to when I was at Sheffield United and Derby away, or am I being cruel ?
Kick off, I honestly couldn’t call it in the first 10/15 minutes as it was up and down the pitch, after that Rangers seemed to settle and started passing it around and trying to drive the ball forward. Taarabt tried his best with a few shots at the Preston goal, but they all seemed to either just go a little wide or straight over the top. Faurlin for me had a great game and is relishing his role in midfield. He seems to be in the thick of everything and had a few shots at goal, even if they were a bit wayward, they were shots ! Treacy (that’s a girl’s name !) had a shot just wide of the uprights for the home side and on 37 minutes, Derry passed the ball through to Miller, who with his strength and determination, left a few defenders in his wake to drill the ball across the box for Helguson to slot into the back of the net. Paddy Kenny made a fine save before the break when Johnson shot from about 12 yards out.
As people went downstairs for refreshments, my friend Sam and I stayed in our seats where we heard over the speakers that a 3-piece band called ‘Juice’ were coming onto the pitch to sing us two songs. Well, we were a bit confused as there were two mic stands and two lads came out onto the pitch with the PNE mascot, someone pressed play on the backing track (I guess the third one must of pressed play or was a drummer) and we couldn’t stop laughing. They were singing live, but kept saying: “Come on Preston, join in”, which was a bit difficult as we’d never heard of them or their songs before in our lives ! The Rangers subs were warming up on the pitch behind them and I was willing Akos to boot a ball into the back of them, now that would of been half time entertainment !!! It really wasn’t on the same level as Sky’s attempts at half time entertainment back in the day. The Preston players came back onto the pitch and the guys were still singing. It really was funny.
The second half kicked off and we started brightly with Connolly doing a fancy reverse free kick and Helguson leaving his opponent and heading it onto the bar and over. I thought that it was going in and was already out of my seat, doh !!! Miller came off and was replaced by Vaagan Moen after he seemed to pull something after a challenge and couldn’t seem to run it off (hope that it’s only a strain as he does get some good runs into the box for us). We seemed to go off the boil and this gave Preston the chance to gain confidence and they kept running at us. On 64 minutes, Nicholson then proceeded to lob Kenny. From our seats it looked like it was going over, but it dipped and went over and in behind for a goal. Absolutely gutting, the Preston faithful (there wasn’t that many of them, lots of empty seats) went mad. One of the ball boys decided to goad us all by kissing the badge on his shirt and doing a victory dance towards us. If it wouldn’t have got me arrested I would’ve gone down and swiped him, little sod !!!
Hulse came on for Helguson on 74 minutes and then Buzsaky replaced Routledge after 86 minutes. It was great to see him on the pitch, he seemed fit and was bombing about quicker than I thought he would at this stage of his recovery. Here’s to him back in the squad again very soon. Adel really tried to get us back into the game, but sometimes he was frustrating when he’s not passing, especially to an unmarked Buzsaky, and kept taking shots at goal. I know he would’ve been the saviour if they had gone in, but sometimes he really does forget about the rest of the guys. Final score: 1-1.
Uncle Neil needs a few more striking options as our finishing isn’t what it was. It was very frustrating when 3 points should’ve been easy with us being top and them being bottom of the league, but to be honest they weren’t going down without a fight and we should all be thankful for the point. Let’s see what Tuesday brings, rumours of Troy Hewitt joining and Miller leaving. I can’t really complain though, 5 points ahead and still top of the league. C’mon UR’rrrsss !
Lastly, on my drive home, I was so determined to get back in good time to go out that I forgot to get petrol at the last Services on the M62 before home, as after Leeds there are no more. I managed to get within sight of Asda and I ran out of petrol, yep how girly is that ? Give me my due though, it’s the first time I’ve ever done it, phone call to Dad who came to my rescue. Dads really are the only men you can rely on in your life. Boro’ away is the next game for me, but I will be listening on Tuesday as usual.