QUEENS PARK RANGERS 2-1 COVENTRY CITY BY KEV MONKS
Date 23/01/11 At Loftus Road
Yet again, failing to put away their chances meant that Coventry City did not get their rewards for a battling performance at Queens Park Rangers
in a Sunday lunchtime Championship game.
Like QPR had done less than a month ago, an early departure for a televised game was required by the 484 strong Sky Blue Army which came from as far away as Denmark and contained a number of southern based supporters including some from Brighton, Surrey, Cambridgeshire and Kent.
The City support, some of whom had been forced into paying for gold tier ticket at £30 which offered the same view etc as those who had paid £25, journeyed to a ground where results had been good since we got shot of Peter Reid and it was a result that City needed, not having won a league game since December 4th and the worst shots per goal ratio in the division.
For much of the first half, it looked like we could something from the game. City had brought back Marlon King in place of Lukas Jutkiewicz and by playing a tight back four had stopped Neil Warnock's side who came out on the attack straight from the first whistle.
The City supporters were just informing the home fans as to where we place our cats, when Wayne Routledge crossed and Heidar Helguson was allowed a free 12th minute header which thankfully the former Watford man headed down and the ball bounced over the bar.
MARLON KING, who had City's first real chance in the 14th minute he fired at Paddy Kenny, was booed by the home fans but ten minutes later, King got his own back on those abusing him when he got to a cracking cross from Gary McSheffrey and steered the ball past Kenny into the net.
Midfielder Abel Taarabt was a big threat for QPR and was able to have too much freedom on the flanks. The likes of Doyle in what could be his last match and Gunnarsson, who for me, worked well in the centre of midfield, kept him quiet until the half hour mark, when he got through and fired into the side netting.
Then in the 34th minute, City really should have been two goals up when normally deadly Freddy Eastwood wasted a glorious chance, dragging his effort wide after being sent through.
City boss Aidy Boothroyd had called for a tough referee for this game and Mr Haywood should have been a lot stricter with some of the tackles from Neil Warnock's side. That included a 38th minute tackle from Shaun Derry which was as two footed and feet off the deck as the tackles which had seen King and Gunnarsson who both worked hard, given three match bans.
To be fair the referee was not helped by his assistant on the Main Stand side who had to change his broken flag in the 42nd minute. The yellow flag-waving official was guilty of not picking up on elbows and petty fouls by the home team too often and incurred the wrath of the City support on a number of occasions.
Now where the referee got the amount of stoppage time from that he played, was a mystery to the friends and fellow City supporters that I spoke to at the break, but it was long enough for ABEL TAARABT to run at Richard Keogh, who for once backed off and allowed him enough room, to curl a shot high into Westwood's top left hand corner of the net.
City who have been linked with Luke Moore of AFC Wimbledon, replaced Freddy Eastwood at the break with Lukas Jutkiewicz and the striker just missed on getting to a McSheffrey cross two minutes into the second half.
As the City supporters enjoyed some banter with Paddy Kenny, insinuating that the former Sheffield United keeper had a body odour problem and could do with a friend or two, Taarabt struck a post.
The craic with Kenny continued. However, the Irishman proved his worth when he made a superb 60th minute reaction save to deny first King and then Jutkiewicz who came in for the rebound.
At the other end, Keiren Westwood was also having a fine game and made a cracking save before McSheffrey up the end where the City support was, skied a King cross.
It proved to be costly as in the 78th minute, QPR relied on the long ball which was banged up to the classy orange booted WAYNE ROUTLEDGE who rounded Westwood to put the West Londoners ahead.
City went back to hoofball when Clive Platt was sent on and won a couple of corners for which Keiren Westwood went up, but it was not to be and today, the Sky Blues did not get the share of the spoils that their efforts merited.