City Make It Two Out Of Two At The Gate
Ashton Gate, Bristol
18 August 2009, 19:45
Attendance: 14, 571
City shrugged off the controversy of last weekend to continue their 100% home record this season with a top performance at Ashton Gate.
Having previously failed to beat Rangers in five attempts at this level, City handed a home debut to the pacy Danny Haynes and he was immediately in the action, blazing a good chance over the bar following good work from Maynard.
The visitors responded well to the early pressure but were restricted largely to long-range efforts from Buzsack and Agyemang.
But City, who came flying out of the traps, nearly got the goal their early pressure deserved on 14.
McAllister had a free-kick on the right of Rangers' box and caught the defence unaware by knocking square to Maynard, who's stinging 20-yard effort was brilliantly clawed out low down by Radek Cerny.
Moments later, Marvin Elliott saw his goal bound header from a McAllister corner headed off the line with Cerny struggling but the game's best early chance fell to Haynes.
Scampering onto Bradley Orr's through-ball like a greyhound chasing a rabbit, Haynes rode a despairing challenge before shooting wide with Cerny beaten.
City were really turning on the style but were finding the two Rangers centre-back's, Fitz Hall and Damion Stewart, in imperious form.
Chances still came City's way through Clarkson, Hartley and Haynes but the rhythm that we were playing with was stopped when Cole Skuse hobbled off shortly before the break.
We all sensed Rangers had been let off the hook, especially when they decided to have a pop early in the second half.
Routledge forced Gerken into his first proper save, low down at his near post, before the same player teed up Adel Taarabt, only for the on-loan Spurs playmaker to see his shot come back off the post.
The visitors looked to had ridden the storm and were suddenly looking the likely winners, utilising the extra man in midfield to good effect.
Johnson handed another home debut, this time to Andrius Velicka on 65 minutes, replacing McAllister and changing up the system to a 4-3-3. Nyatanga moving to left-back with Fontaine partnering McCombe.
But it ended in disaster for the on-loan Lithuanian target man as he collapsed only five minutes later, clutching his knee after an inocuous looking turn.
The game was held up for several minutes as the Glasgow Rangers man was fitted with a knee-brace and carried off the field. Sadly, his City career looks over already as he was replaced by Lee Johnson.
The East End were in great voice, trying to roar the boys over the line. 'Red Army' was belted out for most of the second half and it wasn't long before the fans' efforts got their rewards on 76.
Clarkson, who looked class in the hole, won a bone-crunching tackle on the edge of the Hoops' box.
The ball fell perfectly into the path of Nicky Maynard, who moved the ball onto his right-peg before rocketing a ferocious drive into the top corner from just inside the box. He really does look in irresistable form at the moment.
Rangers huffed and puffed in the SEVEN minutes of stoppage time, with Liam Fontaine being forced into a making a superb block from Buzsacky and Gerken saving well from Mikele Leigertwood right at the death but City held on to clinch a deserved win.
CITY (3-4-1-2): Gerken; Skuse (Fontaine 37), McCombe, Nyatanga; Orr, Elliott, Hartley, McAllister (Velicka 65, sub Johnson 75); Clarkson; Haynes, Maynard.
QPR (4-4-2): Cerny; Ramage, Hall, Stewart, Borrowdale; Routledge, Faurlin (Helguson 85), Leigertwood, Buzsaky; Taarabt (Vine 67), Agyemang (Pellicori 67).
Referee: Phil Gibbs (West Midlands)
Hard to pick one out for special treatment after such a good team performance but Maynard looks the real deal so far this season. His goal didn't only win the game tonight but sets him up there with the best in the league right now.
Mixed it up nicely when QPR were on top early in the second half and forced the result. The 3-4-1-2 looks to be working well and proved he wasn't afraid to use a plan B last night.
He probably bollocked his side at the break as they came out with the bit between the teeth after being dominated in the first period. Made a change that saw them overrun us in midfield there after but has a side that will be top ten this year.
TEMPO THE KEY
We created chances at will and could've won by 2 or 3 on another night if the finishing was more clinical.
The front trio of Clarkson, Haynes and Maynard are looking like they will trouble most defences at this level this year.
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