Team: Kenny, Hill, Walker, Gorkss, Connolly, Derry, Taarabt (Leigertwood), Buzsaky, Mackie (Smith), Ephraim, Helguson (Agyemang).
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Rowlands, Parker, German.
Attendance: 22,968 (2,159 R’s fans)
The M1 was closed between two junctions near the Watford Gap Services, so we came off early and took a wide berth through Northamptonshire. Just the one change from the previous game with Buzsaky starting for the injured Faurlin. After 12 minutes a ball over from Adel Taarabt found that man Jamie Mackie rising to head a beauty into the net which then provoked wild celebrations from nearly 2,200 travelling R’s fans. The home side were passing the ball around well and having reached the edge of the box, the final ball was usually lacking. We tended to sit very deep and were under pressure for periods of the game but soaked it up and counter-attacked as and when possible. Although Paddy Kenny wasn’t really stretched, I still welcomed the half-time whistle.
The 2nd half took a while to get going and Leicester were lucky to get away with just two bookings, but they in turn were making the same accusations at the referee. One particular incident livened up the proceedings when home fans were screaming for a penalty and claiming that one of their players had been elbowed in the face ? Later Paddy Kenny went down for a few minutes which resulted in him receiving some treatment and then limping for some time after. He was not able to take some of the goal kicks. He made a superb save when he was forced to dive to his right but generally he dealt with everything fairly comfortably. Agyemang replaced Helguson and 5 minutes later, Leigertwood was introduced at the expense of Taarabt, who didn’t look like he was going into a tantrum at the decision.
Mackie sealed the match after I thought momentarily that the goalscoring opportunity had gone begging, but when I looked up again, he still had the ball and then slotted it in nicely. How wonderful that was when it hit the back of the net ! Jamie Mackie went off and on came Tommy Smith. Seven minutes added went up which was negotiated without any real problem. Not the best performance but certainly a gritty one, with two good goals, another clean sheet and three more well deserved points. We’re not called ‘The Untouchables’ for nothing !!! Many thanks to Jimmy for the lift.
Given the results of late and the emphatic win at Ipswich, the mood was for nothing less than a win…and we did just that. We started like a house on fire, and the build up to the first goal with Derry, Taarabt and the sweetest of finishes from Mackie, looked to be the start of another rampage…but it wasn’t to be. Leicester took control of the game, passed it very well, but created so little. No doubt we rode our luck at times, and for me, we played far too deep. We invited them on, and they camped in our half for long periods. Hit them on the break, maybe, but a dangerous tactic ?
That said, it’s difficult to criticise a team who fight for the cause till the bitter end….and it was Mackie once again, who kept his head and took his goal superbly. It’s not just his goals either, at one time in the 2nd half when under pressure, he was also helping out the left back…his work rate is phenomenal. No doubt he will get all the plaudits, but it was Derry, who although made a couple of unforced errors, was my MOM. He epitomizes what we are all about….WINNERS.
We weren’t nasty as Sousa said on the radio, but we also certainly did not shirk the tackles when required, but neither did Leicester for that matter. Probably the weakest R’s performance of the season (Derby apart) but a very gutsy one and a game we would have lost in many recent seasons. Instead, as Steve said, we showed a lot of grit and hit Leicester at the right times. Leicester had the bulk of the possession, but Paddy Kenny had little to do. They reminded me of many Rangers teams of recent seasons – played some nice football, but with no one shooting on goal and with it, appearing that they were trying to pass the ball into the net.
It does indeed look like we’re the best side in the division – and by quite some way. Now I suspect Ipswich fans might agree with that description, certainly Leicester and Derby fans would not, based upon what they saw when we came to town. One of these days Mackie will score 3 and not 2 ! Yet again he took both of his goals very well. What a steal his signing from Plymouth has turned out to be. To be five points clear at this stage is remarkable and everyone else has to play catch up now. All being well that will not happen. In conclusion, it wasn’t a classic Rangers performance, but a VERY satisfying one.
Both images were taken by Martin Percival and used with his permission.