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That sums it all up
That sums it all up
Saturday, 22nd Apr 2006 01:23

Rangers finished their season at home with another defeat in typically comical circumstances against Watford.

The penultimate home game of the season saw us face promotion-chasing Watford. Despite missing some of their main men they came away from the game with three points and now look forward to the lottery of the play-offs. Meanwhile, all QPR fans just wish the season would end now.

All-in-all it was an action packed affair in W12 on the final Saturday of the season. Red cards, own goals, diabolical referring decisions, ex-defenders hobbling off, wasted chances, shoddy linesmen………..this game had plenty to keep any neutrals entertained.

Watford came to town having already secured their play-off place, the only question now being who they would play over two legs. Rangers on the other hand had gone nine games without a victory before this fixture. Fresh from a crushing defeat at Norwich on bank holiday Monday, the statistics aren't looking too favourable on Waddock's caretaker charge at the moment.

Waddock named the same side that had thrown away a two-goal lead at Carrow Road. The bench had a youthful feel about it with Donnelly, Howell, Cole and Ray Jones being called up to the squad for the first time.

Watford had the first half chance of the game when following an Ashley Young free kick Malky MacKay hooked his shot over the bar from six yards. Rangers' first effort came courtesy of Paul Furlong. His long range 25 yard effort went just wide of Ben Fosters' post.

Lee Cook soon forced a corner and from the resulting kick Shittu managed to knock over two Watford men when going for the ball - no mean feet so well done to Dan! The Hornets had an excellent chance to take the lead when MacKay's far post header hit the side netting, he should have really finished it and some visiting supporters thought he had.

The game really burst into life after 35 minutes; firstly ex-Ranger Clarke Carlisle hobbled off after picking up a foot injury much to the amusement of the Loftus Road crowd.

Just two minutes after the substitution Rangers took the lead. After a neat breakaway down the right Ainsworth attacked the full back and found the on-rushing Cook in plenty of space in the area. Cooky should have pulled the trigger first time but he took some touches. He was challenged by Doyley and the ex-Hornet went to ground. As I've said before, Cooky has trouble keeping his feet at the best of time so I wouldn't go anywhere near him in the area.

After the initial celebrations of getting a penalty, Rangers fans quickly realised that the taker was non other than Mr Nygaard. Yes, the man who continues to frustrate with his inconsistent performances was being given the kick!! He must have sensed the apprehension around the ground and went pretty mad when he sent the keeper the wrong way. So mad in fact that he decided to take his shirt off and whirl it around his head! Now most haven't got a problem with this but the powers at the FA obviously have, so D'Urso took great delight in handing him a yellow card. We all know it's a stupid and pedantic rule but the Dane should have known the ref would be itching to get his card out for this one.

Well, all was going well as we continued to attack Watford. Just minutes later Furlong got the best of his man after a ball over the top. He chipped the on rushing keeper but unbelievably the ball hit the ground and hit the bar and bobbled around the six-yard box!!

It summed up Furlongs' season really and ours generally. What a slice of bad luck. If it hit any other blade of grass in the box it would have probably gone in! But really we should have had players following the ball up and our players should have only started celebrating when the ball had crossed the line. If we had scored that, the game would have probably been beyond Watford but they came back immediately.

With most still clutching their heads or jumping around in the stands Watford attacked and immediately equalised. A real kick in the teeth. Talk about highs and lows in the matter of minutes. I missed the goal as I was leaping around but it appears Young hit a terrific shot from 25 yards into the top of the net. We were left shell-shocked.

Just before half time the game really exploded into life in the most dramatic of circumstances. After a high ball to the Watford strikers, Henderson went up with Shittu, just one of their many battles during the first half.

Henderson caught Shittu, with what looked like an elbow and big Dan went down on the turf. The crowd again jumped into life and were baying for a Henderson red card. Predictably then followed the usual skirmish of players who swamp the ref and push and shove each other. Milanese was one of our main culprits with a couple of Watford players. In the middle of this, clearly still pumped up from his goal, Nygaard came tearing into the gang of players and raised his hands and grabbed a Watford player. It was a stupid thing to do and Ainsworth knew this as he was ushering him away.

D'Urso finally managed to restore some kind of order on the pitch and then preceded to hand a yellow card to Henderson and then hand another yellow to Nygaard, which of course meant it was the end for him. He went marching towards the tunnel again taking his shirt off, this time in disgust. Well, D'Urso had certainly made his impact on the game and had completely lost control at this point. Some sources gave Nygaard's second yellow as dissent, I'm sure he did say a few things to the ref, but he certainly was involved in some handbags with the Watford players.

This was the final action of the half and D'Uro brought it to an end with a chorus of boo's ringing around Loftus Road - not for the first time this season but this time they were meant for the man in black. He and his two linesmen were given an escort from the pitch back to the safety of their changing rooms.

Watford sensibly decided to replace Henderson at half time as there was a strong chance of him seeing a red during the second half.

The game looked to be heading for a draw as neither team initially seemed capable of breaking the opposition down. QPR were working hard with a man down and our defence was working well as a unit against a pacy Watford side. Ainsworth moved upfront with Lomas, Bailey and Cook holding the midfield area.

The majority of the talking points were related to officials or hyped-up fans. The linesman, Joe Ross I believe his name to be, was at the centre of much of the trouble. Constantly getting decisions wrong throughout the game he became a hated figure during the second half.

Before that a bottle was thrown from the C Block of South Africa Road and almost hit Jordan Stewart who had cheekily decided to move the free kick forward a matter of yards. Now everyone was frustrated and annoyed with the pitiful officials but this will certainly come back to haunt the club and will probably hurt us financially. The club hasn't got any money so this is all we need. If the moron involved could please write out a cheque to the club for the appropriate amount that would be most appreciated.

Now for the linesman down by the Ellerslie Road during the second half. He was consistently poor all day and from where were sitting looks like he reacted to the abuse from the crowd. That's a bad idea if you're an official and he can't be allowed to do this. Unfortunately again objects were thrown from that corner of the ground so expect action over that as well. It's just a shame that Rangers fans themselves were caught in the cross-fire and took some of the brunt as the coins might have knocked some sense into the prat of a linesman.

Now back to the action - and with 12 minutes remaining we committed suicide. Following a long ball forward the ball arrived in our box and Santos was on the ball. Jones had left his line and big Georges headed home past the stranded Welshman. A lack of communication, pure madness, whatever you want to call it - this again pretty much summed up our season. Watford celebrated, Georges held his head in his hand, Rangers fans sighed and threw abuse and some (rivals editors!!) rolled around on the floor in front of their seat. (it's called a break down Mark alright, I'm going into therapy this week - ed)

It was a depressing end to a frustrating season and for many that was the moment to walk out of the ground for the last time this season.

Ainsworth had a decent long range effort in the second half and another one disallowed for offside but once again we struggled to actually test the keeper. Watford had started to stretch us the final 15 minutes or so and had begun to test Jones a bit more. However we continued to work hard but had been let down by an awful individual mistake and a player who couldn't keep his shirt on.

Donnelly entered the field towards the end as did Jones who came on for his debut but it was too late really as the damage had been done. This game will unfortunately be remembered for the poor referring decisions and the crowd's impact on the field.

The team battled hard but we just couldn't convert chances. The defence was fairly solid and well marshalled by Shittu. Milanese defended soundly and supported Cook when he could. Ainsworth was industrious as always and Cook was again a danger going forward. Lomas had a poor game and he looked to be off the pace, Bailey didn't quite live up to his previous two games but he's got lots of learning left to do. Furlong worked hard but his appearances next season will be far more sporadic.

Overall this game summed our season up and I'm sure everyone will be glad of the break; it looks increasingly likely that we won't see some of those players again in a Rangers shirt.

QPR: Paul Jones 7, Bignot 6 (Donnelly 81, 7), Shittu 7, Santos 6, Milanese 7*, Ainsworth 7, Bailey 6, Lomas 5 (Ray Jones 83, 7), Cook 7, Furlong 6, Nygaard 6.
Subs Not Used: Cole, Evatt, Howell.
Sent Off: Nygaard 44
Booked: Nygaard.
Goals: Nygaard 39 pen.

Watford: Foster, Doyley, Mackay, Carlisle (McNamee 38), DeMerit, Stewart, Chambers, Bangura, Spring (Mariappa 83), Young, Henderson (Robinson 45).
Subs Not Used: Chamberlain, Eagles.
Booked: Henderson, DeMerit.
Goals: Young 42, Santos 78 og.

Att: 16,152

QPR Man of the Match: Mauro Milanese - Defended well all afternoon and showed signs of his cool head and attitude. Will surely be kept on for another year as he could be one of the few experienced players next season. Milanese also works very well with Cook and the two complement each other. Only blemish was his unnecessary part in the swamp of players after the Henderson elbow.

Ref: A D'Urso (Essex) 1 - And that's being complimentary. D'Urso came into the game with a bad reputation and managed to leave W12 with an even worse one!! Quite unbelievable really. He couldn't control players, he unnecessarily blew up when he could have easily let the game flow and he was assisted by two god-awful linesmen. Henderson should have seen red but instead only received a yellow. No doubt his report will be highly critical of the crowd so we can expect some penalties coming our way too.

Photo: Action Images

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