Team: Green, Simpson, Dunne, Hill, Assou-Ekotto, O’Neil, Kranjcar (Faurlin) – (Jenas), Barton, Henry, Hoilett (Phillips), Austin.
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Traore, Ehmer, Cheventon.
On a day when I’d taken a draw before the game, we got just that, but it felt like a loss. Given that we were in control for the vast majority of the game, with Millwall little to offer, we simply didn’t create enough clear-cut chances.
There were some good performances and some not so good. Charlie Austin did extremely well taking his goal, but not getting the service he needs this will go on costing us. Man for man our players were a cut above, yet we are in danger of passing the ball to death, without really opening teams up.
We got deeper and deeper in the 2nd half and invited them innever tempt fate! Millwall were poor, but they kept going to the end. I thought that Harry got the substitutes wrong, Phillips being the worst, fresh legs, but you’d never have known it?
Unless Harry sorts out the service to Charlie Austin, this won’t be an easy ride.
“Man for man our players were a cut above, yet we in danger of passing the ball to death, without really opening teams up”. That was my main gripe on Saturday, for all the possession we had, and I don’t believe for one minute they matched us in that department despite what the media said. Forde made one great save from Hoilett second-half and was rooted to the spot when Niko Kranjcar hit the post first-half.
While it was 2-1 Harry Redknapp should not have made changes as that handed the initiative to Millwall. My Millwall mate said after that ‘we couldn’t believe our luck when first Kranjcar went off then Hoilett’. They were two of the best players on the pitch if not the best.
Millwall’s left-back really impressed me and I’ve never heard of him before. Talking of which, it was good to see Ian Dawes presented to the crowd before kick-off and he got a great reception from all four sides of the ground. The PA announcer described him thus: ‘this man is the best predominantly right footed left-back I’ve ever seen’ which is how I’ve described him ever since seeing him.
Harry Redknapp’s 30th anniversary as a football manager turned ugly in injury time as he was hit in the face with a ball thrown by a steward moments before Millwall equalised through Jermaine Easter.
The Millwall substitute shot into the far corner with an unerring finish, adding to an earlier strike from Scott McDonald, as QPR’s extraordinary run of 13 hours without conceding a league goal was halted. It was a valuable point for Steve Lomas’s side, who were seldom outshone by their monied opponents. Redknapp looked less than amused by it all.
“We had four forwards on the pitch at the end and went for it,” said Lomas. “It was a great finish from Jermaine, to come off the bench and execute it, but it’s no more than the lads deserved.”
Millwall had suffered bruising defeats in their last two matches, conceding five goals at Bournemouth and four at Birmingham, and their manager must have rued the timing of such a tricky fixture against his former boss and mentor, Redknapp.
Following an energetic opening, the home side were incensed when Niko Kranjcar gave QPR the lead in the 26th minute. There was nothing controversial about the Croatian’s slick finish from the edge of the box – and nothing the Millwall goalkeeper, David Forde, could have done to stop it – but it was preceded by a strong penalty appeal at the other end. The Millwall midfielder Liam Trotter appeared to be bundled over by the QPR striker Charlie Austin but the referee dismissed his claims.
Trotter protested even as the teams took to the centre-circle for the re-start, such was the iniquity in his opinion.
“For me it was a blatant body-check, but us conceding a goal off the penalty incident is our fault,” said Lomas, refusing to look at the final result as two points denied. “It was a double whammy when they went up and scored, but I thought we had created chances in the first-half against a very, very good team, so we had to take the positives.”
Indeed, Trotter had flashed two headers wide for Millwall, while an earlier opportunist half-volley from Kranjcar rattled the post for QPR. Joey Barton’s attempts to wind up the home crowd by running his fingers repeatedly through his long hair earned him wolf-whistles and exacerbated the antagonistic atmosphere at the conclusion of the first-half.
Six minutes into the second period, QPR were exposed when Trotter dispossessed Richard Dunne and played a neat ball to McDonald six yards out for a tap-in. It brought to an end 826 minutes of football since Redknapp’s men last conceded in the league – a goal scored by Huddersfield’s James Vaughan on 10th August. Nevertheless, QPR took the lead again in the 69th minute when Austin burst on to a through ball in the central channel and dinked a cute finish over the goalkeeper.
There was uproar when Redknapp was hit plum in the face by a ball in injury time as Millwall hurried to resume play with a throw-in. Redknapp’s assistant, Kevin Bond, brushed it off as an “accident”. It was some accident: the same thing had happened to Joe Jordan moments before, from a ball thrown from the crowd. But it was Easter’s late equaliser which will have irked the visiting coaching staff most of all.
Jonny Weeks – The Observer
After a few pints we set off to London Bridge station with large numbers of police in attendance. It was a certainly a big squeeze in the carriage and thankfully it was only for the one stop! It was good to see Ian Dawes again before kick-off who received a good ovation from around the ground.
Rangers passed the ball around as in previous games, but we didn’t create as much as we should around the box. Charlie Austin works so hard for so little service. A superb strike from the edge of the box by Niko Kranjcar gave us the lead and the home side equalised after the interval in the 51st minute. We re-took the lead following a through ball by Niko Kranjcar and Charlie Austin did well under pressure to finish.
What did Matt Phillips think he was doing out there? Brought on for Junior Hoilett, nearly every time I looked at him he seemed to be standing adrift in no-man’s land, not closing anyone down or purposely involved in the game. Very disappointing considering that there were others that could have put in a shift.
I really thought that it was game over at 2-1, but I have to say that we sat back far too deep. Very disappointed that we didn’t kill the game off and I certainly didn’t expect the 5 added minutes. Millwall pushed for the equaliser and it finally came in the 92nd minute. Best player for me was Niko Kranjcar.
As expected we were kept back for quite a while and we were later met at London Bridge by an army of police who even followed us towards the underground platforms. Jimmy and I had a couple of very welcome pints in a pub near Marylebone Station before heading home.