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Queens Park Rangers v Middlesbrough Your Report added at 18:21:31
I travelled my usual 70 miles to the game in heavy rain and heavy traffic and a heavy cold with no great optimism. Indeed, as I trudged towards the game in my Arctic weather gear I did question my judgement and sanity. However, the opening goal was a far better tonic for than a cocktail of Lemsip, Sudafed and any other potions or pills. We played well when we managed to get some passing movement, especially on the wings but I always felt that Boro were solid in midfield and central defence but I whispered to my mate in SAR with some trepidation, that I thought Boro didn't have a great attack and looked very vulnerable when we ran at them. For quite a while they did seem to be able to mop up all second balls and our possession was patchy although potentially lethal when we could get it to Nahki. I had also said that Wszolek was due a good game and he suggested that this was on although I don't think he was quite as great as some have said. Fantastic run into the box in the second half - proper wing play! I was relieved that Darnell looked fit and approaching his best and we seemed to be able to negate the Boro attack across the line. Pity that Lynch had to go off and that coincided with Darnell's weak clearance - not the first time I have wondered whether another keeper might have saved the resulting shot? We took the game to Boro after that and some breakaways looked as though we should surely score a couple more through Eze, Pav especially - but not to be. Wells' goal was class but it was astonishing how much room he had. Freeman and Luongo were able to have a far greater impact in the second half and the team performance made Boro look very ordinary. One special mention for Luongo, who won countless headers against very tall, physical opposition. Scowen looked a lot better than he has of late and I would like to see him back in the side and performing as he did last season.
Queens Park Rangers v Middlesbrough Your Report added at 19:40:12
A very promising start with newbies looking comfortable and a promising return for Faurlin. Thought we closed them down well but seemed to tire out in 2nd half. Subs were justified as midfield was starting to show its lack of pace and creativity. To be fair, Hull defended well and some last-ditch tackles helped them keep clean sheet. We had chances to draw or even win near the end but t'was not to be. We must make more of crossing and set pieces.
Manchester City v Fulham Your Report added at 09:57:44
The first half was frustrating as Portsmouth came clearly focused on stifling our attack, mainly by giving the likes of Taarabt and Routledge no room to play. This led to a less attractive approach all round and few quality passing movements. Kitson beat Connolly to most headers and Miller, after initially shining, was mainly subdued. Many clearances were sliced or otherwise mis-timed and this even included a wild kick by Kenny although Orr is the one that stands most in mind. Derry wasn't as effective as usual and Ephraim was typically lightweightand naive when unable to use his pace. In the midst of all this, Faurlin worked hard to gain posesssion and try some decent distribution - his left-foot shot was probably the best of the first half. The game turned in the second half when Taarabt got a bit more of the ball and started to alternately tease the opposition and frustrate our supporters. Once, beating 3 then turning left and spurning the obvious ball right to Hogan, gnashings of teeth could be heard. Shortly after that, a bit more selfishness when most of us were on the point of metaphorically throttling him culminated in smart snap shot that may have surprised Ashdown who let it slip from his grasp and into the net. Whether it was Pompey hanging heads or simply realising that they now had to chase the game - it opened up and made for a much better game. Taarabt's free kicks looked well-paced and threatening but I wish he had let Faurlin try his left foot again rather than Tarb's lame rihgt foot shot over the bar. However, a subsequent corner was deservedly headed home by Clint Hill. Pompey could have had at least two goals but decided to shoot higgh and wide; when they managed to get a shot on target, Kenny showed amazing agility to tip several efforts over when I was in the numb anticipatory state said to be experienced by quarry species when the predator is about to deliver the coup de grace. A hard-won victory and I guess this is the pattern that opposition teams will adopt when our attack can be devastating when given the chance.
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