QPR 2 Luton 1
A few jolly moments last night at QPR with my good friends Doug D’Arcy, Chris Wright, Nick Blackburn, Steve Burtenshaw, Joe Kinnear, Arsene Wenger, David Dein and Boro Primorac.
Hundreds of police when I reach Shepherds Bush tube station. Luton thugs, I suppose.
Arrive at ground, Gavin Peacock’s not playing. Best friend Doug says Peacock was very good in 2-0 win v WBA on Saturday.
The usual faces in the Trophy Room : David Pleat, Ted Buxton, Chris Hughton, Doug Livermore and a few stadium coats.
David, Arsene and Boro arrive. Arsene nods and David shakes hands, as you do with people you half-recognise.
Boro tells me he played over here against a Francis for Yugoslavia when he was 18 and I tell him this must have been Trevor, not Gerry.
Incredibly, Luton score with their first attack. A smart move, a one-two, a Lee Mansell left foot shot which goes in off the post.
At 8.32 the crowd start to boo. Gerry Francis hears the boos and thinks : “If this booing gets louder, it’s all over. We will crumble.”
So he changes it, taking off Plummer, putting Rose back into defence(he’s been struggling in midfield) and bringing on Kiwomya.
Rangers play Route 1.
Tea and sandwiches at half-time. Joe Kinnear says, of Lee Mansell,“It’s his first game, he’s 18!”
Joe has encyclopaedic knowledge of the lower divisions
Second half, Rangers continue to play Route 1 and it still does not work. They could play till Saturday without scoring.
Crouch plays skilfully,energetically, constructively, but Kiwomya misses three chances.
Arsene, David and Boro leave after 87 minutes.
Kiwomya, looking offside, gets onto a Crouch knockdown for the equaliser. Loftus Road goes ballistic.
In extra time, a long ball, I think Kiwomya runs into keeper Mark Ovendale, who wrestles him down. From my angle I don’t think it’s a penalty. But a penalty is awarded by Mr Furnadiz.
I don’t think Richard Langley will score because it is dubious pen. One of my Golden Rules is that dubious penalties are always saved or missed.
Langley smacks it against the underside of the bar and the ball bounces down and away.Golden Rule proved yet again. (Just previously I thought Rangers should have had a penalty for a handball.)
Then a Baraclough free kick, Crouch knockdown, Kiwomya scores neatly.Pandemonium ! Bedlam !
The crowd are soon singing, “Bring on the Arsenal!”
Nick says, “Crouch was outstanding.” Which he was.
Outside Doug and I walk past 3,000 people queueing for Arsenal tickets.
The Luton coaches are filling up with disappointed fans. They were leading all the way in the 3-3 game. Now, in the replay, they have led for 90 minutes – and lost in extra time.They must be gutted because they played better football than QPR.
I come home and Pat Driscoll, QPR fanatic, has phoned.
Pat told Michael (my 18-year old) that his wife said , “I can’t stand any more of this, let’s go !”
This after 89 minutes.Pat and Eve left and then heard a roar and listened to the extra time on the radio in the pub. Please, Eve, have more faith next time. But I know exactly how she felt.I’ve been there. Sometimes the pain is too much.
Just had e-mail from Stewart Joseph saying that Kanu has a Nigeria v Sudan World Cup qualifying match on the same day as QPR v Arsenal.
1.38am. 18th January 2001. Goodnight, cyberworld, after a long day.