One size Fitz Hall at Loftus Road
August 12 2008
DEFEAT on the opening day of the season for Simon Davey's side, as the Reds go down 2-1 to Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road, but there is still a lot to be optimistic about after Barnsley create a number of chances.
The travelling Barnsley fans should have known not to expect too much as hardly any of them will remember, let alone have witnessed, the Tykes only previous victory at Loftus Road which took place 58 years ago. But that didn't deter those that made the long trip to London to back the Reds against a side who many pundits have tipped for promotion.
Barnsley dominated the early going and could have had their noses in front after just two minutes. Martin Devaney found himself in space on the right and after reaching the by line he cut a great ball back to Jon Macken inside the box. Unmarked and just 15 yards from goal, Macken snatched at the ball and sent a tame shot straight at the Rangers keeper.
The Reds didn't let the miss dent their confidence and it only took a further three minutes to get their next chance. Defender Darren Moore won the ball on the halfway line and an excellent Brian Howard ball found new boy Iain Hume in the area and he duly slotted home his first goal for Barnsley and his fourth in five games against QPR. Five minutes gone and its one nil to Davey's side.
The next 10 minutes saw Barnsley come close a number of times. Hume headed goal wards from a Van Homoet shot but he couldn't beat the keeper and just seconds later another thunderous Hume shot brought the best from Cerny who parried the ball to safety. On 13 minutes an in swinging corner from Howard could only be headed over his own bar by Leigertwood and a minute later El Haimour let fly from 20 yards and beat the keeper only to see the ball fly past the wrong side of the upright.
QPR came back into the game as the half wore on and both Ledesma and Leigertwood had long range shots saved by Luke Steele.
On 28 minutes Devaney was adjudged to have fouled Cook on the edge of the area, a decision that drew plenty of protests from the away side. Ledesma beat the wall with a low shot that Steele could only parry into the path of Fitz Hall who's close range effort hit the bar and came straight back to him to net at the second attempt. A scrappy goal from a bad decision but they all count. 1-1 after 29 minutes.
Barnsley were suddenly on the back foot and just two minutes later disaster struck. Lee Cook tried an out swinging corner that was only cleared as far as Hall who volleyed an excellent shot past Steele to make it 2-1. Barnsley really need to learn how to deal with set plays.
Five minutes from the break Patrick Agyemang tried to make it 3-1 but his shot from distance flew just wide.
The start of the second half was similar to the start of the first with Barnsley enjoying most of the play and on 52 minutes Lee Cook picked up the first yellow card of the match for a foul on Brian Howard 30 yards from goal. Hume took the free kick which was smashed hard and low but was dealt with by Cerny in the Rangers net.
10 minutes gone in the second half and Ledesma raced into the Barnsley half laying a ball through to Agyemang in the area but Steele had seen the danger early and was quickly out of his net to block the chance.
With 58 minutes gone Darren Moore stuck a leg out and brought down Dexter Blackstock in the area and the referee Neil Swarbrick
didn't hesitate in pointing to the spot. Fitz Hall, at the centre of everything for QPR today, saw the chance of a hat-trick and stepped up to take the penalty but Steele get down well to his right to keep the ball out of the net.
Moments later it was Steele to the rescue again, scampering across his goal to make a fine save in the bottom corner from a Ledesma free kick.
It was the Reds turn to get back into the game again and on 78 minutes a dangerous Howard free kick was well saved by Cerny and in the 80th minute the referee had a chance to even up the scores when Macken's header struck the arm of Fitz Hall but despite appeals from the visitors no penalty was given.
A baffling decision from the referee put the game out of Barnsley's reach in the 83rd minute when he sent off Van Homoet for a foul on Ledesma. Nobody can argue that it was a foul and deserved a sending off but even the home fans struggled to see just how the official failed to spot the foul in the opposite direction a moment earlier. Van Homoet was clearly tripped as he raced past but perhaps the referee had just spotted Bernie Ecclestone in the crowd and was a little in awe. It is the only way I can explain his failure to give a foul.
Substitute Rigters raced through in stoppage time but was tackled from behind by Hall. The referee waved play on, ruling that Hall had taken the ball.
After playing four minutes of time added on the official brought the game to an end with the final score at 2-1 to Queens Park Rangers but despite the defeat Barnsley could take some positives from the game. They created a lot of chances and unlike last season, the strikers seemed able to make the keeper earn his money. On a different day they could have had a bag full.
QPR: Cerny, Ramage, Hall, Gorkss, Delaney, Ledesma (Alberti 83), Mahon, Leigertwood, Cook, Agyemang (Parejo 72), Blackstock
Subs Not Used: Camp, Connolly, Balanta
Barnsley: Steele, Devaney, Moore, Foster, Hassell (Leon 85), De Silva, Howard, Van Homoet, Hume, Macken (Odejayi 85), El Haimour (Rigters 75)
Subs Not Used: Kozluk, Mostto
Referee: Neil Swarbrick