QPR Awaydays - Wolverhampton, Molineux
Wednesday, 26th Mar 2008 11:52
QPR shared six goals with Wolves at Molineux on Saturday in front of a decent sized travelling support.
1 – The Match
Wolves started the brighter of the two sides and could have scored at least once in the first ten minutes with Ebanks Blake and Keogh both heading presentable chances wide and Camp spilling a simple shot back into the danger zone only to be rescued by the linesman's flag. QPR then came back into the game and could have scored twice themselves with Patrick Agyemang pulling a shot wide and then passing when he should have shot before Buzsaky gave them the lead with a rasping low drive from the edge of the area. As usual Rangers then tried to cruise into half time and were punished when Keogh headed in unmarked right on the stroke of the break with Connolly clearly fouled in the build up.
It was Wolves’ turn to feel aggrieved with the match officials straight after half time when Neil Collins was very harshly adjudged to have handled in the area and Dexter Blackstock rolled the spot kick home. After that Mr Oliver seemed keen for Wolves to come back into the game and subsequently awarded them a similarly ridiculous penalty when Jarvis fell under little or no contact from Mancienne well outside the area – Ebanks Blake stuck home his third goal of the season so far against QPR from the spot. Lee Camp then made three superb saves to deny Wolves, he’d earlier been lucky to survive three terrible handling errors in the area, and Rangers took the lead against the run of play when Mikele Leigertwood cracked a half volley in from the edge of the box. That looked like it might be enough for a win when Rangers made it through the advertised five minutes of stoppage time unscathed but with Mr Oliver deciding to add on a further sixty seconds on top of the already ludicrous amount of added time Wolves forced an equaliser through Keogh after Ebanks Blake had seen one shot saved by Camp and another come back off the post. Superb entertainment.
2 – Rangers’ Performance
It’s hard to know whether we came out for the second half to defend or attack again because with the half barely two minutes old we were back in front with a penalty. Wolves were then treated to a penalty leveller and from then on the old QPR on the road problems resurfaced. Mikele Leigertwood’s goal against the run of play disguised what is becoming a familiar problem. When we have a point or three to defend away from home we start to give the ball away, we start to drop deep, we go away from everything we did well to get us into that position in the first place and sooner or later we are punished. That it took until the second reading of the classified football results was down to a referee intent on evening up his earlier incorrect call for the QPR penalty, but Rangers had only themselves to blame. Plenty of positives, plenty of negatives, but in the end a result we would all have taken at kick off.
3 – Travelling Support
4 – The Ground
5 – Atmosphere
There was a time at 2-2 where Karl Henry passed the ball back to his keeper from just inside his own half – a perfectly reasonable thing to do to maintain possession under pressure – and he was roundly booed. Would they really rather he just heaved it down field and gave it away? Then when Wolves score they’re worshipped like heroes. I’ve never known a crowd like it. The idiotic, fickle nature of the Wolves supporters can best be summed up by Andy Keogh – his selection booed at the start, bowed down to like a God after scoring twice during the match. Andy Keogh is clearly a very, very good player at this level with the potential to go even higher. To boo the selection of such a player shows a disappointing lack of knowledge from a group of supporters. Poisonous at times, euphoric at others, never less than entertaining.
6 – Pre Match
After dodging the buses at a complicated road junction we realised that, despite only walking for two minutes or so, we’d nearly passed through Wolverhampton “city” centre and arrived at the ground which was clearly no good to us so we glanced around at the five or six pubs and bars on offer to us and picked the only one that looked like it was offering what we wanted – food and live football – The Royal London. Now I’ll warn you in advance, this was a “Scream” pub and I must say this chain’s reputation is well deserved.
There was a “no away fans” sign on the door, as there was on every pub, but we weren’t in colours and don’t really look like away fans to the neutral observer so wandered into the relatively quite pub without any bother at about half 12. The build up to the Portsmouth game was just starting so we positioned ourselves in front of the screen with a bottle of Becks (in a glass bottle) a glass of white wine (in a wine glass made of glass) and a half pint of lager (in a plastic glass). Close the book on ‘thickest bar staff of the year’ award right here and now – you can cause less damage with a wine glass or a bottle than a half pint pot can you? I come back to plastic glasses again – needless, horrible, germ infested spawn of Satan.
As usual with pubs using plastic glasses they then served us some food on a heavy dinner plate with a sharp knife. Seriously, you couldn’t make it up. Choose your weapons, steak knife, glass bottle, or half pint pot. The food was, to be frank, absolutely shocking. There was a toad in the hole that appeared to have been made with a real toad some months prior to being served and microwaved to death about twenty minutes before we ordered it before being allowed to cool in a faulty fridge somewhere. Still, at least the toad in the hole made an attempt to give the impression of a hot meal, the fish cake salad arrived with the salad nicely luke warm and the fish cakes stone cold, dripping in grease and yet to be introduced to anything other than old potatoes and ash. Certainly it didn’t appear as though any part of a fish had ever been anywhere near this monstrosity.
The other really noticeable thing about this pub was just how cold it was. The three of us sat there in coats and scarves throughout and were still shivering. The front door was permanently propped open while several hundred locals smoked and even without that constant draft it was like sitting in a chest freezer. The toilets were a disgrace to the human race, a clear health hazard and based at the top of a maze of freezing cold concrete steps. It was like being in prison, only worse. I’d planned to stay to the end of the Spurs game but with there being no sign of goal I just couldn’t stand to be in the place any more and left at quarter past two. Tottenham promptly scored twice as we walked to the ground, which just about summed it up.
I really don’t know what to recommend for next season. Birmingham is a horrible place and Wolverhampton is even worse. Every pub I’ve ever been in has been so bad that I’ve resorted to try Scream bars to find somewhere bearable! Basically the whole bloody place for twenty five miles in every direction is a complete hole and to be avoided.
7 - The Journey
Firstly Mr Oliver’s interesting interpretation of the rules regarding time meant that I missed the train back to New Street that I’d targeted and ended up on some stopping service that somehow managed to find three different stations in Dudley alone where people wanted to get on and off. That was a bit of a drag and as a consequence I arrived at New Street a fraction too late to jump on the Central Train to Derby and was forced to wait, with several thousand Sunderland fans and Steve who I’d met up with again, for the Cross Country train to Newcastle. The Sunderland fans were in good voice after their win at Villa but we all managed to get a seat as the train arrived and I was just settling down to read the programme and another excellent issue of A Kick Up The R’s as we moved out into the late evening gloom.
Just as I was starting to read I became distracted by a disturbance further down the carriage and this turned out to be more entertaining than anything I’ve seen on a train for a long time. Basically every seat was reserved by a Sunderland fan apart from the ones we were sitting in and a gang of Mackems further down the carriage had arrived to find a seriously rough looking woman sitting at a table they had reserved surrounded by empty cans of special brew. This should not really have presented a problem, she knew she was in the wrong and they had a ticket to prove it so out she should have gone but instead this developed into a 20 minute long stand off. The woman, one of the ugliest it’s ever been my misfortune to find on a mode of public transport and clearly off her face on some serious chemicals as well as special brew, said she would not be going anywhere unless they “f***ing well found her another f***ing seat” and followed this up with a 30 second tirade against everybody else in the carriage including that “grey haired c***” who was actually a rather perplexed old aged pensioner sitting on a seat adjacent to mine. She indiscriminately attacked several Sunderland fans, scratching one across the face and spitting on the shirt of another. She kicked out, ran up and down the carriage targeting other passengers. She was clearly out of control. But entertaining all the same.
I can’t ever recall seeing scum on this kind of level before and, thankfully, she was turfed off by British Transport Police at Derby. Thankfully she’ll be dead long before me and I can therefore live in a world without her. At the moment I’m uncomfortable with the idea that she’s out there somewhere and our paths may cross again. Credit to the Sunderland fans – so much more polite, well mannered, well spoken, well behaved in the face of provocation and less obnoxious than the groups of Newcastle fans it’s often been my misfortune to travel with on the East Coast line.
Sadly those little men digging the line up at Sheffield meant a diversion for the Cross Country service and so my journey was interrupted by a very cold 25 minute change at Chesterfield onto a Central service. After all of that I drove up to Nibbles in Broomhill, picked up one of their awesome pizzas and headed for Scunthorpe in poor driving weather, eventually rolling in at half nine.
8 – Police and Stewards
Total – 48/80
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Great write up, really good read - Jeff Michael
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