2010-11, match reports

Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Queens Park Rangers

Last season, when Neil Warnock brought his Crystal Palace side to the Keepmoat I decided not to attend. I’d seen that bunch of thugs the previous season, as they put in an ungracious display in a defeat they thoroughly deserved morally if not statistically. My distaste for Warnock is well-known to any regular readers of Viva Rovers, and had his QPR side not topped the table I would probably have stayed away again. Only, I was intrigued. I was interested to see just what it takes to top a division, no-one else seems comfortable storming.

In the end, I learnt little that I did not already know. It takes three things to top this division, three clear attributes and yet Rangers seem to be the only side who have mastered this and delivered it. The first is resources, which could easily be bracketed as money. The strength in depth of the Rangers side is shown by their bench today. Players who would be (or indeed were) the first name on the team-sheet at other Championship sides have a fight on their hands to get into the starting XI owing to Rangers ability to fork out the necessary sum to effectively bring in who they like.

The second thing you need is talent, skill, genuine quality on the ball, which of course Rangers possess. Their main man Adel Taarabt may have been injured today, but his deputy Hogan Ephraim was still a significant threat in possession, as shown by the only goal of the game as Ephraim side-stepped Sam Hird all too easily just after the break. But a lot of teams have talented players, or a collective quality with the ball. Hell, we’re one of them when we’re at full strength (ie. not hindered by a lack of attribute number one). So, what else is it that Rangers have?

The third key attribute in a Championship winning side is resolve, perhaps more accurately labelled as size and strength, and even more distinctly, a lot of bloody big bastards. Rangers have that too, an ugly yet effective spine to their side populated by the brutes Warnock has collected on his whingy path through the Championship. Today, most things Rovers tried to do ended at Fitz Hall, at times it was as if the QPR defender was exerting a gravitational pull on the ball, so many times was it drawn towards his bonce.

The most disappointing aspect of this game was that Rovers, never really tested the visitors. They put together a decent spell before the break when they got the ball down and tried to work it forward, but inexplicably that approach died out the moment Rangers took an early second half lead. Then it was back to the unsuccessful stuff. The optimistic hoofs, the aerial approach that brings us as much success as it did the Hindenburg. Had Rovers played to their strengths, then this could have been a much more rewarding game.

The opening quarter of an hour though was all Rangers and they almost took a deserved lead from a protracted scramble in the Rovers area as Heidur Helgusson headed against the bar and then eventually, three crosses later Rovers managed to lever the ball clear. Tommy Smith also threatened for the visitors with a shot which Gary Woods did well to turn round his near post, but beyond that, as Rovers settled they had the better chances.

First to threaten for the home side was Franck Moussa, stretching to meet a low Jamie Coppinger cross, he coul only toe-end it against the near-post with Paddy Kenny already going the other way. The West Stand went wild ten minutes before half-time as Brian Stock appeared to find the net with a firm driven shot. He hadn’t. It had struck the rear stansion and 2,000 people sheepishly retook their seats. Before the break Shelton Martis would also come close with a header from a corner which Kenny did well to turn over the bar.

Things looked good for the second half then, for all of a minute or so. Ephriam received the ball on the left edge of the box, cut back inside and found the far corner of Woods’ goal. Despite a lot of huffing and puffing from the Rovers, and even more craning of necks to watch the ball arc forwards and back, the game was pretty much won at that point. Rovers tried to press, but genuine chances were notable by their absence. A wayward Moussa header from a Coppinger cross on the hour mark was disappointingly about as good as it got.

As I started with Warnock, I may as well offer some summation of his appearance in DN4 too. Midway through the first half a booming voice from the West Stand proclaimed “You’ve not changed have you Neil? Every bloody year. Still the same”. It wasn’t me, but I echo the sentiments. Every time a decision went against Rangers, Warnock ran through the same routine. Shake of the head. Look of disgust and incredulity. Debate with the fourth official. Further shake of the head. Word in the assistant referees ear. Drink bottle of water. Repeat until fade.

Man of the Match: Simon Gillett’s absence wasn’t talked of much during his injury trouble this season, but in his few games back he’s already proved his worth. An excellent holding midfield display, he broke up most things and willingly chased down everything else.

Doncaster Rovers line-up (4-3-3); Gary Woods; Sam Hird, Shelton Martis, George Friend, Joseph Mills; Brian Stock, Simon Gillett (Mustapha Dumbuya), John Oster (Ryan Mason); Jamie Coppinger, James Hayter (Jason Euell), Franck Moussa

subs not used: Neil Sullivan, Matt Kilgallon, Mark Wilson, Dean Shiels

Queens Park Rangers line-up (4-4-2); Paddy Kenny; Bradley Orr, Kaspars Gorkss, Fitz Hall, Clint Hill; Wayne Routledge, Shaun Derry, Alejandro Faurlin, Hogan Ephraim (Akos Buszaky); Tommy Smith, Heidur Helgusson (Rob Hulse)

subs not used: Radek Cerny, Danny Shittu, Pascal Chimbonda, Peter Moen, Patrick Agyemang

booked: Kaspars Gorkss (foul)


About glen wilson

Former schoolboy, Glen Wilson writes on football and travel and has been editor of the award-winning popular STAND fanzine since before the award.


8 thoughts on “Doncaster Rovers 0-1 Queens Park Rangers

  1. What a shame this bitter individual chooses to write such drivel. People speak very highly of your team but as a club you are two bob – always have been, always will be. A bit of envy never harmed anyone but get the chip off your shoulder

    Posted by Ranger Jeff | March 28, 2011, 8:35 am
  2. Can we rangers fans take it that you do not like our illustrious leader of late ????. Bet you would swap with us at the drop of a hat . I was never that keen on NW before he took over at Qpr , i thought he was a right mouthy northern so and so. But i have learned that i would prefer a fired up manager to get the team fired up for the fight.
    Rather than an Ericsson type or the like who sits and does nothing except mouth off to press after the game. He has done us proud and provided stability .

    Posted by Ted | March 28, 2011, 9:23 am
  3. Oooh, sour grapes or what! I never used to be a Warnock fan either before he joined us, but to be honest i’ve found him a breath of fresh air. I disagree with your description of the spine of our team, you make it sound like a load of cloggers. Faurlin a hulking clogger? Don’t think so. Derry is a tough customer but he can play too, and our back four are well drilled and organised for the first time in years. It’s also rather ignorant to lazily say that we are only where we are due to money, you sound like that imbecile Steve Claridge on the bbc. I think you’ll find we have not spent money on “whoever we want”, check your facts. I suggest you look at what Cardifff have spent on individual players, where’s it got them? Also, in terms of obnoxious, cheating, official badgering teams, have you watched reading over the past two seasons? They are terrible, they have a policy of at least three players immediately surrounding the ref after a foul. Neil Warnock deserves high praise for what he’s achieved this season, for building the team around taarabt and man managing the same player who is an awkward character, he’s worked miracles considering where we were last season getting beaten by your lot. Bit of a lazy, ill informed article in my opinion, far too driven by your personal dislike of Warnock. Bet you’d love him as your manager secretly?

    Posted by andy | March 28, 2011, 8:17 pm
  4. I was at the game and think this report is a good reflection of how I saw the game. QPR always looked in control however, and in spite of a good finish to the first half by Doncaster Rovers I never thought at any time QPR were not going to win. They had players on the bench if needed, but they never appeared to get out of second gear. It was almost too easy!
    As for Neil Warnock, I believe I am right in saying QPR will be the fifth team he has managed and won promotion with. Yes he has a whinge to the ref, but so does Fergie and Wenger. Top managers aka winners do! Neil Warnock has an outstanding record of Football League management. I will be interested to see how he does in the Premier League, with good resources behind him.
    Finally, I always enjoy my visits to the Keepmoat Stadium. I am not a Doncaster Rovers fan, but find it a friendly club and always sit amongst nice people. Doncaster Rovers try to play nice football and I’d like to see them gain some success. If I were to critiscise the Doncaster Rovers team, it would be to say they are too nice, and lack the grit, power and determination that QPR possess.

    Posted by Anthony Fuller | March 28, 2011, 9:34 pm
  5. In response to the comments thus far…

    Don’t construe my criticisms of Neil Warnock as bitter, envious or indeed sour grapes. They are none of these things. They are out and out dislike. I can’t stand him and as I said in my match preview his attitude towards officials is nothing more than a blight on the game. He is quick to take the credit when things go right (as they are doing at Rangers), but he is equally quick to pass the buck to the officials when things go the other way.

    I would not love it if Warnock came to manage Rovers. I would stop going to watch, and would not return til he was gone. I’ve said as much before on this site, and I stand by those words.

    Warnock aside I’ve a lot of time for Rangers (as voiced in the match preview), and if you think I’ve suggested they’re only where they are at present because of money then you’ve misread this article.

    There is no denying it is a factor as its enabled Rangers to assemble one of the strongest squads in the division, few come close to them with the exception of perhaps Nottingham Forest. However, money alone doesn’t buy you the Championship top spot, as pointed out in the report. You also need a combination of skilful/able players and an ability to be physyically strong. Rangers have these assets too and, and its a combination of these three factors that sees them top the table.

    I wouldn’t say it was an ill-informed article. Its a personal view of the game and the opposition based on my one game viewing them. I don’t claim it to be any more than that.

    Posted by glen wilson | March 28, 2011, 9:57 pm
  6. I’d like to add I saw QPR at the Keepmoat Stadium last season as well. I am a lifelong Ranger’s fan currently living in the north.
    Last season QPR were awful. Totally outplayed by Doncaster Rovers who played good football and were good value for their 2-0 win. I believe I am right in saying that QPR never even had a shot at goal until about the 85th minute. Taraabt incidentally was on the bench and never featured in the game at all.
    In 12 months or so, and by just spending £2.5m in the transfer market Neil Warnock has made a massive impact and the team I saw win at Doncaster this season was streets ahead of last seasons side.
    Credit where credit is due!

    Posted by Anthony Fuller | March 28, 2011, 10:14 pm
  7. Very well said mr Anthony Fuller, may i doff my hat in your direction , bravo sir bravo.

    Posted by Ted | March 29, 2011, 10:12 am
  8. as i tweeted to you that booming voice was none other than DD (stuart biltcliffe) and my ears are still ringing!!

    Posted by david thomas emson | March 29, 2011, 9:06 pm

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