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LFW Awaydays - Sheffield Wednesday, Hillsborough
LFW Awaydays - Sheffield Wednesday, Hillsborough
Monday, 16th Nov 2009 09:24

QPR continued their decent away form with a win at Sheffield Wednesday last weekend - Jay Simpson and Kaspars Gorkss got the goals in a 2-1 success.

1 – The Match
Pretty bog standard Championship fair. Both sides did at least try to play football the right way, and succeeded on several occasions with some eye catching passing moves through midfield. But too often they simply cancelled each other out, or broke down mid flow without ever really getting into full flight. QPR looked like they were going to win easily in the first ten minutes when they scored, hit the post and forced a good save from lee Grant but a little over confidence and over playing in midfield when Taarabt and Watson conceded possession presented Jermaine Johnson with an equaliser. The game was pretty even from that point on – Wayne Routledge forced a very decent save from Grant and Taarabt fired into the side netting either side of half time while Miller struck the base of Radek Cerny’s post for the home side. With the cold weather and evening gloom closing nin most in the ground would have taken a point and happily gone home but this scrappy encounter was settled in QPR’s favour by a late header from a corner by Kaspars Gorkss. The way Wednesday’s players and management banged on about the injustice of it all in the post match interviews you would think they had ripped QPR apart for the whole 90 – they hadn’t, but a draw would certainly have been a fairier outcome. Not that QPR were complaining much.
6/10

2 – QPR Performance
QPR will play better than this between now and May and lose. The R’s were a long, long way short of their best for the majority of this game. They were far superior on Tuesday night against Palace and only drew the game. Things started very well with Routledge, Simpson and Taarabt carving Wednesday apart in the opening ten minutes – scoring one and going close on two other occasions. The Wednesday equaliser came from sloppy play in the QPR midfield and the R’s continued to be sloppy and disjointed until Alejandro Faurlin came on with 20 minutes left to play. Only then did the visitors start to pass and move the ball a w all know they can and in the end that substitution probably turned the game back in QPR’s favour as Wednesday were pressing, and had just hit the post, when it was made. Kaspars Gorkss played very well at the back, and we looked much more secure when Fitz Hall went off injured again and was replaced by the returning Matt Connolly. The full backs had awkward days with Ramage uncomfortable at left back filling in for Borrowdale and Leigertwood unable to get close to Jermaine Johnson. Taarabt and Routledge troubled Wednesday in flashes but Mahon and Watson never really clicked and it was only when Faurlin came on that things really started to purr in there. Simpson worked hard and deserved his goal. Overall mediocre at best, but a win’s a win.
6/10

3 – QPR Support
Only 400 tickets sold before the match meant QPR were given the lower tier of the Leppings Lane End as opposed to the upper, however I’d say almost that many again turned up and paid cash at the turnstile making for a reasonable travelling support of 700ish. The lower tier is fairly shallow and fans are spread right out along the length of the byline. That, and the height of the roof, made atmosphere hard to generate even when the late winner went in off Gorkss’ head.
5/10

4 – Atmosphere
Less than 20,000 people in attendance in a ground built for twice that, and the previously mentioned change of arrangements in the away end, made for a funeral parlour like atmosphere for the most part. There was no band at the Kop End and huge banks of empty seats to the right and left of the away end so except for the odd chant of “Wednesday, Wednesday” whenever the home side went close to scoring there was almost total silence from the three home stands, and the small gang of travelling QPR fans were pretty quiet as well.
3/10

5 – The Ground
Really looking its age. Sheffield Wednesday hold out hopes of hosting a World Cup game here should England be awarded the tournament but the only thing it really has going for it is the capacity. The away end s usually pretty poor when we have to sit upstairs, but it only gets worse when you are moved to the lower tier. This was the first time I can remember QPR fans being forced to sit down there, apart from the promotion game when we sold every seat we could of course, and we had to make do with a piss poor view, crowded and uncovered amenities round the back of the stand, and a genuinely all round crap match day experience – please can we go back in the upper tier next season where you at least have a roof over your heads and half a view of the pitch? In fairness any ground with 20,000 empty seats in it for a match is hardly going to look its best and I’d still take Hillsborough over any of the horrible new identikit stadiums that teams like Derby, Coventry, Leicester and Cardiff play in as it has a bit of history and tradition and is a proper football ground with decent transport links but I’d say you’ve more chance of staging a World Cup game in my back garden than here.
5/10

6 – The Journey
As LFW Towers is about two and a half miles away from Hillsborough and all we had to do was get a tram from the middle of town at about 2pm I’ve turned this section over to Tracy who travelled up from Staines for the game on Saturday and returned on Sunday. While her trains did run to time on both days she did sadly find on arrival at London St Pancras that the tickets she booked over the phone a fortnight in advance did not actually exist, and was forced to pay again at a higher price. Luckily with a rail card discount, weekend rate and kind woman in the ticket office pulling a few strings that came in under £40 but still, having made the effort to save money and reserve a seat weeks in advance as the company advises you to do it is very disappointing to find that somebody at East Midlands Trains has cocked up on your behalf and the attitude of the employees at the station to that is basically “tough, you’ll have to pay again”.
5/10

7 – Pre Match
This turned into a proper session, starting on the Friday night and running right through to the early hours of Sunday morning. We were in our usual haunt The Old Monk before the game – right in the middle of town and convenient for both the tram to the ground and London based R’s arriving by train. This used to be a quite a dark and grotty place where you’d rather lick the rim of the toilet bowl than try the food on offer but it has recently had a bit of a makeover. It is now a very bright and airy place that still shows all the football on an enormous screen and serves reasonable pub food – including some quality burgers from a local butcher. I must however at this point mention that Owain did once again partake in the heart attack inducing breakfast sausage spectacular – a battered sausage wrapped in an egg, wrapped in a pancake and served in a baguette – that looked absolutely revolting. He’s had two of those things now and although doctor’s have advised against a third we have won at Derby and Sheff Wed on both previous occasions so it looks like he’ll have to indulge before Doncaster for the good of the team. That did us nicely from 11am until 2pm. After the match we had a few in The Harley before diving home to change, back out again to Nandos where the waitress laughed at my old man style first name and then to Muse, or Dogma as I believe it’s now called, where we intended to start the evening pub crawl. The problem with Muse/Dogma is the seats are rather comfortable and after we’d settled in a corner we decided there was little point in moving anywhere else. The girls drunk themselves into a surly stupor on white wine and cocktails, Tracy remembers little of the evening, while Phil and myself downed our body weight in bottled lager. Don’t even remember getting home but came to about midday on Sunday so all in all it seemed like a good day.
8/10

8 – Police and Stewards
QPR fans have had problems here before with certain people being refused admission to certain crucial promotion games for the heinous crime of “selling a fanzine” but there were no signs of either police nor heavy handed stewards on this occasion and an always welcome “sot where you like” policy was in force in the away end.
9/10
Total – 47/80

Photo: Action Images



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