Stoke City v QPR – When you defend like Schoolboys you end up Chasing the Game!

Team: Green, Isla, Dunne, Onuoha, Hill (Suk-Young), Henry (Zamora), Vargas, Barton, Fer, Kranjcar (Hoilett), Austin

Subs Not Used: McCarthy, Caulker, Phillips, Zarate

Attendance: 27,512 (including 1,258 R’s fans)

A poor start that got worse, improvement in the second-half, but it was all too little and too late, with the game effectively over after 34 minutes. When you defend like schoolboys, that’s what happens, you end up chasing the game, leave yourself open, concede a third which really flattered a poor Stoke sidebut it was over long before that.

Players when under pressure, passing the ball across the pitch in front of goal is something you learn not to do at the age of 12.

We played with no width with a lone Charlie Austin upfront with his back to the goal is about as good as a chocolate fireguard! An out of form Niko Kranjcar behind him, albeit he did get the goal after some good interplay.

For what its worth, Isla had a decent game as did Richard Dunne, Vargas too, however, his naivety in losing the ball contributed to us conceding. Rob Green uncharacteristically wasn’t at his best.

But play as you like, pass as you like, hit the crossbar from a free kick etc, we set up as NEGATIVE as you can.and got what we deserved. No doubt Harry will say ‘triffic for sure, we battered them’ – I just wish that I was at the same game!

Our club is screaming out for a change of management, but it falls on deaf ears. My question to Tony Fernandes is: “What to lose???” To hell in a handcart comes to mind!

Good trip, great banter with Steve R, Kevin, Danny and a surprisingly very well behaved young Finney. I hardly recognised him!!!

Till the next time.

Jimmy Murray


With his chin nuzzled into a heavy coat as he attempted to escape the vile Staffordshire wind, Harry Redknapp slunk past Queen’s Park Rangers dejected supporters, a beaten man once more.

For Mark Hughes, revenge was delivered in the cold. Two years after being sacked by QPR as their manager, he inflicted another defeat on his old employers, as the visiting team extended their record-breaking win-less run on the road to 11 miserable matches.

During an afternoon where the 100th anniversary of Stanley Matthew’s birth was celebrated, modern history was created by Jonathan Walters, who became the first of Stoke City’s players to score a hat-trick in the Premier League era on his 200th appearance for the club.

Having been informed of results elsewhere going in his favour, Redknapp’s disposition afterwards was positive, reasoning that QPR deserved more than this, for the second-half performance was stirring enough.

“If you see the game and look at the score-line you think we’ve been well beaten,” he said. “But anyone who understands football will realise Stoke were hanging for grim life at the end. Mark (Hughes) must have been hoping the whistle would go. I couldn’t have asked for more effort.”

QPR’s domination was not quite as absolute as Redknapp suggested yet they fashioned the better opportunities, the closest, of which, was a Joey Barton free kick that punched against the underside of Asmir Begovic’s crossbar.

The result means Rangers have lost every game they have played away from Loftus Road this season, representing the worst start to a top-flight campaign since Liverpool were relegated 61 years ago.

Redknapp believes goals will see his team escape the drop and though not confirming his interest in recruiting Emmanuel Adebayor, admitted the Tongolese, “would do us,” if Tottenham made him available.

It is at the other end, though, where QPR seem to have the most problems. Theirs is the worst defensive record in the league and it was that department here that cost them the most.

Karl Henry was substituted at half-time for his role in Stoke’s first goal, in surrendering possession to Stephen Ireland, whose back-heel enabled Walters to score. The lead was soon extended when again, Ireland released Walters and again, QPR’s defenders were absent from the scene. Again Walters fired low to Green’s left and again, the goalkeeper could not save it.

Though Niko Kranjcar revived hopes of a comeback, QPR were punished for a third time by Walters in injury time after Redknapp confessed to ordering too many players forward in search of an equaliser.

Walters is out of contract at the end of the season and it is not certain whether he’ll be offered a new deal. “But he’s certainly going the right way about it,” Hughes grinned.

Si Hughes – The Telegraph

We parked up outside the Harvester, situated conveniently close to the Britannia Stadium before going in for a meal and a couple of pints.

Sunday marked the legendary Stanley Matthews 100th birthday and this was commemorated before kick-off.

Poor defending and we were two down after 35 minutes. Predictable, no pace and we tried playing the ball through the middle, which usually meant that we ended up losing possession.

Mauro Zarate was to remain benched again, but the introduction of Bobby Zamora after the break meant that we finally went 4-4-2!

We had the best of the second-half and were unlucky not to equalise until Jonathan Walters completed his hat-trick in added time.

My thanks to Jimmy for the lift.

Steve Russell