2016. A new year, lots of new opportunities and plenty of drama! After a fantastic 2015 I was keen to continue the new year in similar style. There was only one way to do this, a game on New Year’s Day! I had a completely free day so left a few options open to decide which game to go to; as it was a Friday there were only a couple of games. Either Queens Park Rangers vs. Hull City or Brighton and Hove Albion vs. Wolves. After weighing up the pros & cons of the two I decided to head to West London and more specifically Loftus Road to watch the R’s.
Lucky for me, I can still get away with cheap tickets. Being a 19 year old apprentice has its perks. Student tickets (legitimately most of the time) & young adult tickets mean I rarely pay more than £20-25 for a game. This was similar for QPR, £18 for my ticket as a Young Adult. However, a £3.50 booking fee put this up to £21.50, can someone elaborate what a booking fee actually is?!
I left Bristol early as I wanted to make the most of the Bank Holiday parking changes in London, so after an extremely easy drive along the M4 I decided to take a detour to visit White Hart Lane… What a mistake, the extra miles to be greeted by locked gates and one of the least picturesque stadiums i’ve seen, at least from the side I was at! So after coming and going fairly quickly it was back to Loftus Road via a very quick stop at the Emirates Stadium, however this wasn’t how it panned out. I accidentally stumbled across the old Highbury East Stand. I didn’t know this actually existed and I absolutely love things like this, I just wish I had the opportunity to visit Highbury when it was here. I hope something similar will be put in place when we lose Upton Park as a part of the 92.
From Highbury to Loftus Road. After arriving about 2 hours before Kick-Off it was time to explore the local sites… when I say “explore the local sites” it normally means “find the nearest Nando’s”, luckily for me it was only 5 minutes away and I had a free meal on my loyalty card – result!!
To the ground! First thoughts on the ground from outside was that it was a old, traditional ground. I also knew and loved how close the spectators are to the pitch. Again, on the West Ham front, I was recently at the Olympic Park and struggle to imagine it as a football stadium because of the distance the pitch is away from the fans, it will make for a poor atmosphere I imagine.
Once I’d collected my ticket and programme it was time to enter the ground. Before actually taking my seat I needed to go to the bathroom. My initial though was how clean the toilets were, once I was ready to leave it came to my attention that there was a female stood there. Shit. “oh my god I am sorry”. Not a good start. Anyway, to my seat – one problem I had with buying the tickets were that I couldn’t select a seat, justa block, which always leaves me nervous however they weren’t too bad. Very low which I’m not too keen on but all in all, not too bad.
The game itself wasn’t bad – the first half didn’t have much in terms of clear-cut chances, a few for each side but the vast majority were speculative efforts from 20 yards. Saying that though, it definitely didn’t look like a 0-0. I’m sure a large proportion of you guys know what I mean when I say that you just know after 20/30 minutes when a game is going to end 0-0 and this certainly wasn’t one of them! I normally find that the second half is always better than the first anyway. Throughout the first half there was a sense of frustration throughout the ground at the way this QPR side were performing, it is obvious to the eye that they could and definitely should be doing better.
Into the second half and a much more entertaining 45 minutes of football, well 35 minutes that is. After 60 minutes Hull went another counter attack, looking very dangerous with their pace up top. This counter attack would produce a lot more than the previous ones in the opening hour. Diame went on the attack from the left hand side before clipping a lofted cross into the path of Abel Hernandez who placed a calm volley into the bottom corner past Rob Green in the QPR goal. This was deserved but could have been easily avoided.
Even this didn’t force the QPR players to wake up, more frustration came from the fans. Chants aimed at new manager Jimmy-Floyd Hasselbaink (JFH) to get Jamie Mackie onto the pitch, and this was what finally gave the QPR players the lift they needed to actually start forcing attacks. This led to a late equaliser which was scored by the big German Sebastian Poulter. This was a typical performance by a big striker who is good in the air. Does absolutely nothing all evening before popping up to score late on in the game. I guess that is his job. So 1-1 after 87 minutes, a share of the spoils you’d guess, it would of been the 5th draw in 6 games for JFH as the manager of Rangers. However, once the goal went in it provided the home side with belief they could get a winner so after 2 minutes of solid attacking play with the best chance being a far post header which was just wide. But wouldn’t you know it… another Hull City counter attack down the left, but this time a poor cross so it shouldn’t lead to anything. Step up, Robert Green. A complete mix up at the back between Green and Grant Hall, the QPR Centre Back led to a 90th minute winner by substitute Adama Diomande to give Hull City all 3 points and led to a flurry of fans leaving the ground to avoid the full time whistle rush.
All in all, a really enjoyable trip for me. Good to get 2016 off to a start. Got plenty planned over the remainder of the 2015/16. Big weekend to look forward to next weekend in the 3rd round of the FA Cup. Double header booked, Brentford vs. Walsall followed by Chelsea vs. Scunthorpe United. Should be really good fun!
What Were The Statistics?
Queens Park Rangers 1-2 Hull City
Attendance – 16,205 (976 away fans)
Price of ticket – £18 (Young Adult)
Programme – £3.50
Car Parking – Free
Miles Travelled – 225
Brentford vs. Walsall – 38/92 – 09/01/2016
Chelsea vs. Scunthorpe United – 39/92 – 10/01/2016