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LFW Awaydays - Doncaster, Keepmoat Stadium
LFW Awaydays - Doncaster, Keepmoat Stadium
Wednesday, 25th Nov 2009 21:21

On the pitch QPR were poor and well beaten, off the pitch we have a contender for Away Pub of the Season after a terrific afternoon out in South Yorkshire.

1 - The Match
Well it was nice to see a couple of Championship teams at least trying to play the game the right way, but in very poor conditions it was all a little hit and miss. Doncaster surprised me in the first half by playing a fair few long balls into the channels for players to chase in behind full backs but once in front they looked very slick and confident on the ball. QPR attempted to play out from the back as always but once behind they put Agyemang and Pellicori on and tried to go more direct that didn’t suit them at all. Doncaster won the game with two goals from defensive errors. On both occasions Gorkss played a poor pass to Williams who surrendered possession – on the first occasion it led to a corner from which Billy Sharp was able to stroke home unmarked, and when Rangers made the same mistake for a second time Shiels took the ball on himself and curled a fine goal beyond Cerny. It was a fair result, QPR managed only one serious shot on target in the entire match and Doncaster were the better side in a pretty dull game.

2 - QPR Performance
About as bad as we have been all season. Both goals came from poor defensive play – both the initial concession of possession deep in our own half and the marking from the corner for the first that was absolutely non existant. Worryingly this is not the first time this season that our previously water tight defence has been caught out by a quick set piece, Derby springs to mind, and for all the good Magilton has done this season he deserves criticism for chopping and changing the best back four in the division last season to the point where nobody knows who is first choice and we are no longer able to keep clean sheets regularly. The midfield was a bit of a mess as well with Reid and Watson getting in each other’s way and Faurlin, the outstanding QPR player in the first half, strangely removed at half time. Routledge, Simpson and Buzsaky all had their worst games of the season in attack – clearly missing the link up play of Taarabt in the first half and removed too quickly in the second half when he was introduced. Everybody below par and a highly questionable team selection and choice of substitutions.

3 - QPR Support
It has always seemed to be the case that whenever QPR fans travel in decent numbers the team lets them down. The relegation six pointer at Port Vale in 1999 springs immediately to mind where 4000 R’s were treated to an abysmal display and 2-0 defeat. There weren’t quite so many at the Keepmoat on Saturday but the chance to see a new ground (last season’s game was midweek) and the improved recent form meant that a good 1500 R’s travelled north despite the ludicrous situation that saw this game made all ticket. Pay on the gate may have lifted the travelling numbers closer to 2000, despite the inclement weather. The travelling support brought with it a number of flags, including the superb “meet me by the railway track” Les Ferdinand number that was strangely removed by the stewards midway through the first half. This sparked a bit of a reaction in the away end as rumours spread as to why it had gone and on whose orders but hopefully this will be a one off – it’s a great flag and should be displayed at home games as well where possible. Not a great deal of noise and singing from the faithful – poor weather and a rank performance from the team to blame.

4 – Atmosphere
Having been inside the Keepmoat when it has been packed to the rafters for a Rugby league semi final I can confirm that it is not the best for creating an atmosphere in. Usual problems with a new ground that I shall come onto shortly but with the QPR fans pretty quiet considering the numbers travelling and Doncaster’s signing sections consisting of only about 200 fans to our right and a group at the back of the stand at the far end it was pretty quiet all in all.

5 – The ground
I’m like a broken record when it comes to new grounds I know but here we go again. It is obviously hugely beneficial to Doncaster to be away from Belle Vue into an all seater stadium with parking, hospitality and various training and community facilities on the same site. It’s great to see the Rovers success story close up after years of turmoil very recently. However, as a place to watch football and create an atmosphere in the Keepmoat is right up there with all the other soulless, dire, horrible, identikit stadiums that have sprung up across the country. Leicester, Middlesbrough, Southampton, Darlington and others have all got similar versions – all on one level, all in one colour, seats too far away from the pitch, fans too spread out, vast banks of seats between rival supporters, no history etc etc etc. They’re soulless places these, and heaven forbid QPR ever end up in one.

6 – Journey
We came over from Scunthorpe for this one and the 1110 ran to time and took less than half an hour to get us to Doncaster. We had to go through the rigmoral of sitting outside Doncaster station for five minutes waiting for a platform, when you would think they’d have had enough practise at getting trains in the right place, but anyway can’t complain. Those coming up from London reported a fast, frequent and on time service. I’d be lying if I said I could remember what train we got home afterwards

7 – Pre Match
That memory loss owes much to an afternoon spent in an early contender for LFW’s Away Pub of the Season award the Tut ‘n Shive. Located right in the town centre, less than a minute from the station and boasting everything you could ever want from a pre-match boozer. Made entirely of recycled wood the pub offered a variety of real ale on tap, Sky Sports and ESPN on separate screens, a great and friendly mix of supporters from both clubs, plenty of seats and a great atmosphere. Then the food arrived, £3.50 a meal, and it was excellent as well – I had fish and chips before the match and a cheese and bacon burger afterwards and it was so much better than the slop served up in Yates’, Wetherspoons, Lloyds Bar and elsewhere, and so simple as well. A good burger is not hard to do, neither is a good plate of fish and chips. If you’re using a microwave you’re going wrong. The service was friendly and quick despite the pub being busy with the bar staff very firnedly and the locals chatty and entertaining. It had the football commentary on rather than music. It was brilliant, a superb all round pub. So good in fact that we crashed in there afterwards and partook in further eating and drinking while Ipswich and Sheff Wed bored each other to death. Later we went home, no idea when or how. The only mistake was leaving the bloody pub for the match.

8 – Police and stewards
No problems with either evident, although as previously stated the Les Ferdinand flag was removed for reasons unknown.
Total – 49/80

Photo: Action Images

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