Saturday, April 25

Adrian saves point at Loftus Road

QPR 0 West Ham 0

No sign of nouveau Hammers fan David Cameron at Euston, but Big Joe, Fraser and Matt do turn up to collect our massively overpriced £55 tickets. Perhaps Dave is already at White City ready to take on the QPR fans…

Inside Loftus Road we enjoy a cup of molten tea in the four-person-wide concourse and learn that Reece Burke is making his league debut, in for the injured Reid. While Kevin Nolan appears to be playing as a (very) false number nine. "You're only here for the fair play!" chant the Hammers fans at the Rangers' supporters.

WHU gain a corner early on but typically it turns into a Rangers attack, as Noble loses the ball and Sandro drives into the area to fire a shot against Adrian’s legs. West Ham force another corner and young Burke has a header hacked away by a defender. Burke does well all afternoon, winning his headers and looking generally composed on his debut.

The Irons look fairly composed for the first half hour with Valencia shooting wide after outpacing the ponderous Dunne. As always, Adrian looks committed and races from his goal to remonstrate with Joey Barton, sparking a chorus of “Barton, Barton, you’re a ****!” from the West Ham fans. Don’t think Joey will be tweeting that philosophical gem.

Suddenly we’re in trouble on 22 minutes when Zamora plays the ball on to Jams Collins’ raised hand and it’s a penalty. But Austin strikes the ball down the middle and Adrian makes an easy save to huge cheers from our end. “That’s why you’re going down!” chants the away end.

The second half begins with Rob Green responding to generous applause from the West Ham fans with a crossed arms Hammers sign. The game is very poor though and resembles Championship fare, with the Rangers fans curiously quiet in a must-win game. So dire is the game that a mournful chorus of “Oh Christian Dailly you are the love of my life!” breaks out.

Cole comes on for Jarvis and has a Jurassic battle with Richard Dunne. Valencia is brought down on the edge of the box. Cresswell produces another quality free kick that is heading for the top corner until Rob Green produces a superb save to tip it over the bar. At the other end Zamora uses his experience to outmuscle Burke and then slice a shot wide.

West Ham break and Nolan plays a good ball through to Downing. But Rob Green wants the ball more and rushes from his area to hack clear. Rangers force a corner and Dunne has the ball in the net, but only after Adrian has been jumped into by Caulker so the goal doesn’t stand. West Ham win another free kick on the edge of the box and this time the chip over the wall eludes Nolan.

Zamora is subbed by Rangers as we chant, “We love Bobby more than you!”

Then comes what should be the match-winning moment. Valencia outpaces Dunne on the left, races into the box and plays a low ball across the box into the path of Kouyate, who blasts over an empty goal.

Moments like that make us all believe we’re going to lose it in the last minute again. Adrian parries Henry’s force shot as QPR sense their chance. They almost do win it as Phillips fires in a tremendous shot from the corner of the box, but Adrian produces a world-class save.

At least we’ve shown a bit more commitment in this game and although the quality has been poor it’s an away point, though it should have been three. The Rangers fans don’t even seem that annoyed a result that will probably send them down.

We retreat back to Euston Square and in the best result of day find the Exmouth Arms, which has more craft beers than you can shake a pint glass at. Matt ponders which team has the oldest ground in the league that had hosted football continuously, Big Joe prepares for his train trip to rural Shropshire and Frasr looks at the big picture. And then there’s a text message from Dave Cameron saying it was a good away point for West Hampstead against Queens Park Raisins.

TEAM RATINGS: Adrian 8; Jenkinson 6, Burke 6, Collins 6, Cresswell 6; Jarvis 5 (Cole 5), Nolan 5, Noble 5, Kouyaye 5, Downing 5; Valencia 6.

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