Ainsworth marks QPR's Championship return - History
Monday, 23rd Nov 2020 17:29 by Clive Whittingham
QPR's first game back at this level after the memorable Ian Holloway promotion campaign of 2003/04 was a home match against tomorrow’s opponents Rotherham.
QPR 1 Rotherham United 1, Saturday August 7, 2004, Championship
Rotherham United were QPR’s first opponents back in the Championship on the opening day of the 2004/05 season, with optimism and feel good factor coursing through everybody at Loftus Road.
Relegated, in administration, and with just six fit senior players under contract in 2001, Rangers had spent a memorable three years in the third tier rebuilding under Ian Holloway. A play-off final had been reached in season defining style with a late semi-final win against Oldham in 2003, but lost in extra time against Cardiff in Cardiff. It actually turned out to be a blessing, with Martin Rowlands and Gareth Ainsworth added to an already very strong QPR team that summer to set them up for a tilt at automatic promotion in 2003/04.
That was achieved by winning the final game of the season 3-1 at Sheffield Wednesday, holding off a challenge from third-placed Bristol City to win promotion alongside Plymouth. A parade around the borough of Hammersmith and Fulham for finishing second in League One may sound a bit tin pot, but after what the club and the fans had been through that promotion meant so much to everybody. When the fixtures were released for the first season back at the highest level, Rotherham at home looked like exactly the sort of game Holloway’s team needed to hit the ground running.
The beginning of the new millennium was something of a golden period for Rotherham who won back-to-back promotions from Third Division to First between 1999 and 2001 under the management of Ronnie Moore. The Millers would spend four years at this level, surviving their first on goal difference from Crewe before finishes of fifteenth and seventeenth. It was and achievement that saw Moore linked with a host of jobs resulting in a ridiculous situation after a home draw with Gillingham in October 2002 when he waved farewell to the crowd after the match believing he was about to be appointed the new manager of Ipswich only for it to transpire that an ‘official approach’ received from Town chairman David Sheepshanks on the Friday was actually a prank phone call.
By the time 2004/05 rolled around, however, circumstances were starting to catch up with the South Yorkshire club, still based in their tiny and dilapidated Millmoor Stadium.
They fell behind early at Loftus Road with Rowlands, an attacking winger in those days, crossing from left for his wing man Ainsworth to head firmly home coming in from the right at the School End. But a quick reminder that things wouldn’t be quite as easy in the higher league came when former Arsenal youngster Paul Shaw scrambled an equaliser.
That was one of three draws at the start of the Millers’ season but it would take them until November 29 at home to Leeds (1-0) to get their first win and by then 20 matches had already passed and they were well adrift at the bottom. Moore left the club in January to be replaced on a caretaker basis by former Rotherham centre back Alan Knill but although they registered surprise away wins at Leicester and Millwall (1-0 and 2-1) over the Christmas period they then embarked on another arduous ten-match winless run to effectively have them relegated by the time QPR came back for the return fixture in mid-March which Rangers won 1-0.
QPR started poorly themselves. There was another draw at Sunderland and defeats to Watford, Derby and Sheff Utd as Ian Holloway’s side struggled to adapt to the higher level. Rumours of new investor Gianni Paladini’s boardroom politicking and attempt to replace Holloway with Argentinean Ramon Diaz were doing the rounds, despite the ‘Hand of Bean’ winning goal at Gillingham in a Sky Friday night game removing some of the pressure.
With Danny Shittu returning from his long term knee injury and Holloway’s players rallying around their boss, a dramatic 3-2 home win against Plymouth was secured with goals from Paul Furlong (two) and Kevin Gallen when defeat would apparently have meant the boot for the boss. The R’s subsequently set off on a famous seven match winning run, beating Crewe (2-0), Brighton (3-2), Leicester (3-2), Coventry (4-1), Stoke (1-0) and West Ham (1-0) in some of the most memorable Rangers matches of the modern era. Burnley (3-0), promotion chasing Wigan (1-0) and old enemies Cardiff (1-0) were subsequently beaten at Loftus Road to make it ten wins from 15 games and at one stage the Hoops were as high as fourth in the league.
But, as we’ve become accustomed to over Ian Holloway’s two spells in charge as manager, long winning runs sit hand in hand with long periods of poor results. Seven defeats and a draw in eight games over Christmas restored a sense of normality and left us bobbing around midtable as we moved into 2005.
This would become a very odd period in the club’s history, as Paladini staged his infamous boardroom coup to oust chairman Bill Power and CEO Mark Devlin – QPR fans both – and take charge of the club himself with former football agent Antonio Caliendo and Brazilian World Cup winning captain Dunga. The very first hints of what was to come were starting to be seen as 2004/05 drew to a close, with Italian keeper Generosso Rossi fresh from a match fixing ban on the bench for the game at Rotherham and Dean Sturridge, signed through Paladini’s network of Midlands contacts with no medical, making a rare outing as a sub.
The weird and wonderful names only got more weird and wonderful as we moved through a 2005/06 of Mauro Milanese, Marc Nygaard, Ugo Ukah and Sammy Youssouff into the 2006/07 nadir of Egutu Oliseh, Adam Czerkas, Nick Ward and Armel Tchakounte.
Rotherham stuck around at Millmoor until 2008, even starting a redevelopment of the side stand towards the end of their 100 year stint there. But an argument with their former owner Ken Booth, on whose scrap yard the ground sits, saw them move out and play until 2012 at the Don Valley Athletics Stadium in Sheffield before moving to their smart community stadium nearby where they reside today. Millmoor is still there, and visible on one side of the train between Doncaster and Sheffield, with the development of the main stand remaining half finished. It’s recently been used for youth football matches apparently.
QPR: Day; Bignot (Santos 81), Rose, Gnohere, Padula; Ainsworth, Bean (Thorpe 82), Johnson, Rowlands (McLeod 82); Gallen, Furlong
Subs not used: Cole, Edghill
Goals: Ainsworth 5
Rotherham: Pollitt; Stockdale, Swailes, Gilchrist, Minto; Sedgwick (Vernazza 84), Garner, Mullin (Scott 84), Shaw; Proctor (Warne 77), Barker
Subs not used: Montgomery, Hurst
Goals: Shaw 15
QPR 1 Rotherham 2, Tuesday March 13, 2019, Championship
Rotherham won their only away match of the 2018/19 season as Steve McClaren’s brief reign as QPR manager flatlined across a disastrous week at Loftus Road when the bottom two sides both came and left with 2-1 wins. A truly horrendous spectacle looked to have been settled by a long range Semi Ajayi goal worthy of a greater stage, but Bright Osayi-Samuel forced an equaliser for Rangers four minutes from time. They couldn’t even hang on for that point though, conceding a second to Ajayi, this time with his head, after giving away a ridiculous free kick in the fourth minute of added time.
Subs not used: Ingram, Cameron, Scowen, Manning
Goals: Osayi-Samuel 86 (assisted Wszolek)
Bookings: Bidwell 43 (foul), Furlong 90+4 (foul)
Rotherham: Rodak 6; Vyner 6, Ihiekwe 8, Wood 6, Mattock 5; Taylor 7, Ajayi 8, Towell 7 (Crooks 64, 6), Newell 7 (Forde 83, -); Smith 6, Wiles 6 (Jones 90+2, -)
Subs not used: Palmer, Price, Yates, Williams
Goals: Ajayi 71 (unassisted), 90+5 (assisted Forde)
Bookings: Mattock 17 (foul)
Rotherham 2 QPR 2, Tuesday November 27, 2018, Championship
Luke Freeman rescued a point for QPR in injury time when these sides met for the first time that season in South Yorkshire at the end of November. Lousy defending had allowed Vaulks and Robertson to both score early for Rotherham either side of a well taken equaliser from Nahki Wells. That looked like being it through a trying second half, appallingly refereed by Andy Woolmer, when home keeper Rodak made an unbelievable save to deny Ebere Eze. That was until a late cross from the left by Jake Bidwell was bundled in at the near post by Freeman despite Rodak’s best efforts once again.
Rotherham: Rodak 8; Vyner 6, Ajayi 5, Robertson 7, Mattock 6; Vaulks 7, Williams 7 (Proctor 86, -), Towell 6, Palmer 6 (Wood 69, 6), Taylor 6 (Newell 60); Smith 7
Subs not used: Price, Forde, Wiles.
Goals: Vaulks 6 (assisted Towell), Robertson 15 (assisted Vaulks)
QPR: Lumley 6; Rangel 5, Leistner 6, Lynch 5, Bidwell 5; Cameron 6, Luongo 5 (Scowen 76 5); Wszolek 4 (Hemed 69, 5), Eze 7, Freeman 7; Wells 6 (Smith 76, 5)
Subs not used: Ingram, Hall, Cousins, Osayi-Samuels
Goals: Wells 7 (unassisted), Freeman 90 (assisted Bidwell)
Bookings: Bidwell 23 (foul), Wzsolek 35 (foul)
QPR 5 Rotherham 1, Saturday March 18, 2017, Championship
Although Joe Newell scored probably the goal of the season at Loftus Road in 2016/17 to draw Rotherham level at 1-1, the relegation haunted Millers were quickly swept aside as Rangers built on Matt Smith’s early goal to run in their biggest score of the season. Luke Freeman had burst through to add a second before half time and a penalty won by Smith was converted by Yeni Ngbakoto straight after half time to finish the game. The biggest cheer of the day was reserved for Massimo Luongo’s first goal for the club just prior to his 100th appearance for Rangers, and Nedum Onuoha smacked in a fifth in injury time.
QPR: Smithies 6; Furlong 6, Onuoha 6, Lynch 5, Bidwell 6; Luongo 7 (Goss 74, 6), Hall 7, Freeman 7 (Morrison 63, 6); Sylla 6, Ngbakoto 7, Smith 7 (Washington 63, 6)
Subs not used: Mackie, Ingram, Wszolek, Manning
Goals: Smith 5 (assisted Sylla), Freeman 15 (unassisted) Ngbakoto 49 (penalty won Smith), Luongo 57 (assisted Ngbakoto), Onuoha 90+1 (assisted Ngbakoto)
Rotherham: Price 2; Vaulks 5, Ajayi 2, Belaid 2, Purrington 5; Taylor 5 (Forde 65, 5), Adeyemi 5, Frecklington 4, Newell 6; Ward 4 (Smallwood 85, -), Yates 5 (Morris 70, -)
Subs not used: Blackstock, Bray, Warren Bilboe
Goals: Newell 13 (unassisted)
Yellow Cards: Belaid 48 (foul)
Rotherham 1 QPR 0, Saturday December 10, 2016, Championship
Although the home fixture was QPR’s biggest win, and one of their best performances, of the season, that was in stark contrast to the away fixture in December which was probably the nadir of the campaign. In the middle of one of Ian Holloway’s runs of six consecutive defeats, the R’s slipped to a 1-0 loss and should have been beaten by more. Isaiah Brown scored the only goal of the game after 24 minutes but only flying form from Alex Smithies kept the score down.
Rotherham: Price 7; Fisher 6, Wood 6, Belaid 6, Mattock 6; Forde 6, Adeyemi 6 (Vaulks 85, -), Frecklington 8, Newell 7 (Kelly 90+3, -); Ward 8, Brown 8 (Taylor 86, -)
Subs not used: Ball, Blackstock, Yates, Bilboe
Goals: Brown 24 (assisted Ward)
Bookings: Adeyemi 50 (foul), Frecklington 83 (foul), Forde 87 (foul)
QPR: Smithies 7; Onuoha 4, Hall 5, Lynch 5, Bidwell 4; Sandro 4 (Gladwin 72, 5); Luongo 5, Cousins 5; Chery 5 (Wszolek 89, -); Ngbakoto 5 (Polter 59, 5), Washington 5
Subs not used: Ingram, Henry, El Khayati, Shodipo
Bookings: Ngbakoto 45+3 (repetitive fouling), Luongo 48 (foul), Polter 73 (foul)
Rotherham 0 QPR 3, Saturday January 16, 2016, Championship
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink secured his first win as QPR manager at the eighth time of asking when Rangers won 3-0 at Rotherham in January 2016. It wasn’t without difficulty, with the score deadlocked at 0-0 at half time and Rangers playing particularly poorly a victory looked a million miles away. But a quick blitz after half time featured goals from Junior Hoilett and Matt Phillips inside two minutes and Seb Polter stuck one in from close range in injury time to round off a 3-0 win.
Rotherham: Camp 5; Facey 6, Broadfoot 5, Belaid 6, Mattock 6; G Ward 7, Green 6, Smallwood 5, Newell 6; D Ward 6 (Clarke-Harris 55, 5), Derbyshire 5 (Ledesma 80, -)
Subs Not Used: Wood, Collins, Richardson, Cairns, Thorpe
Bookings: Facey 76 (foul)
QPR: Smithies 7; Perch 6, Onuoha 7, Hall 7, Konchesky 5; Henry 6, Luongo 7; Hoilett 7 (Mackie 87, -), Fer 6, Phillips 5 (Chery 86, -); Polter 8
Subs not used: Lumley, Angella, Tozser, Sandro, Petrasso
Goals: Hoilett 52 (unassisted), Phillips 54 (assisted Luongo), Polter 90 (assisted Fer)
QPR 4 Rotherham 2, Saturday August 22, 2015, Championship
QPR were settling back into life in the Championship under Chris Ramsey when Rotherham were swept aside at Loftus Road in August 2015 on ‘Stan Bowles Day’. New signing Tjaronn Chery scored twice either side of half time, first picking his spot in the far corner after being perfectly teed up by Charlie Austin at the end of a flowing move, then sliding into an unguarded net after forceful approach play down the right by Mass Luongo. Poor goalkeeping allowed Charlie Austin to power in a third and although there were some nerves Harris and Thorpe brought it back to 3-2 with time still remaining, Austin settled the whole thing back down with a penalty in injury time.
QPR: Green 6; Perch 6, Hall 6, Onuoha 6, Konchesky 6; Faurlin 6 (Doughty 77, 6), Henry 5; Luongo 7 (Polter 82, -), Chery 8 (Kpekawa 90+2, -), Phillips 7; Austin 7
Subs not used: Hill, Emmanuel-Thomas, Hoilett, Smithies
Goals: Chery 42 (assisted Perch/Austin), 50 (assisted Luongo), Austin 63 (unassisted), 90 (penalty – won Polter)
Bookings: Austin 61 (foul)
Rotherham: Roos 4; Buxton 6, Halford 6, Collins 5, Newell 6; Frecklington 6, Smallwood 5 (Thorpe 45, 6), Ward 5 (Maguire 78, 5), Ledesma 5 (White 68, 5); Clarke Harris 6, Derbyshire 5
Subs not used: D Ward, Green, Rawson, Collin
Goals: Clarke Harris 72 (assisted Frecklington), Thorpe 87 (assisted Newell/Collins)
Bookings: Buxton 68 (foul), Maguire 78 (foul)
Scores and Scorers
Head to head >>> QPR wins 7 >>> Draws 5 >>> Rotherham wins 6
2018/19 QPR 1 Rotherham 2 (Osayi-Samuel)
2018/19 Rotherham 2 QPR 2 (Wells, Freeman)
2016/17 QPR 5 Rotherham 1 (Smith, Freeman, Ngbakoto, Luongo, Onouha)
2016/17 Rotherham 1 QPR 0
2015/16 Rotherham 0 QPR 3 (Hoilett, Phillips, Polter)
2015/16 QPR 4 Rotherham 2 (Chery 2, Austin 2)
2004/05 Rotherham 0 QPR 1 (Rowlands)
2004/05 QPR 1 Rotherham 1 (Ainsworth)
1982/83 QPR 4 Rotherham 0 (Sealy, Flanagan, Gregory 2)
1982/83 Rotherham 2 QPR 1* (Gregory)
1982/83 QPR 0 Rotherham 0*
1982/83 Rotherham 0 QPR 0
1981/82 Rotherham 1 QPR 0
1981/82 QPR 1 Rotherham 1 (Flanagan)
1967/68 QPR 6 Rotherham 0 (I Morgan 2, Leach 2, R Morgan, Marsh)
1967/68 Rotherham 1 QPR 3 (Leach, Allen, Lazarus)
1951/52 Rotherham 1 QPR 0
1951/52 QPR 2 Rotherham 3 (Gilberg, Smith)
* - League Cup
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