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Sunday, February 05, 2006

Match Reports of Leeds 2 QPR 0

Independent - Leeds Utd 2 QPR 0: Butler keeps Leeds in promotion hunt
By Jon Culley at Elland Road
Published: 05 February 2006
Such is the relentless pace at which Reading and Sheffield United have been charging towards the Premiership that Leeds lost ground after a hard-fought draw at Ipswich in midweek. But manager Kevin Blackwell is adamant that, despite the 11-point gap his side must close to rise above third place, automatic promotion is not yet out of range.
They did not look comfortable yesterday until captain Paul Butler added to Richard Cresswell's first-half header with a second goal six minutes from the end, but should their Sheffield rivals slip against Watford tomorrow night, it might look a highly valuable victory.
"We'll be watching that one with a lot of interest," said Blackwell's head coach, John Carver. "I know Neil Warnock says that all the pressure is on the chasing pack but we are going to put as much pressure on Sheffield United as we can because we still feel we can catch them."
Rangers had five players - four of them on loan - making their debuts. And given that three of those new faces (Marcin Kus, Keith Lowe and Andy Taylor) were in the back four, endeavouring to protect the goalkeeper Phil Barnes, signed from Sheffield United as emergency cover for the injured Simon Royce and Jake Cole, it looked a recipe for defensive misunderstandings.
Their manager Ian Holloway dubbed them "Queen's Park Strangers." But in fact, with the experienced Steve Lomas overseeing everything from midfield and Danny Shittu authoritative at the back, they were surprisingly well organised.
When Leeds went ahead it was through an error that was individual rather than collective. Barnes took responsibility for dealing with an Eddie Lewis free kick but came out embarrassingly second best against Cresswell, the Leeds striker looping a header into the unguarded net. Leeds were lucky when a close-range header from Lowe bounced kindly for Neil Sullivan early in the second half, but they countered immediately. Barnes, diving to his left, kept out a goal-bound shot from the impressive Liam Miller and then Cresswell headed wide. Barnes took another step towards redeeming himself when he saved from Lewis, but Rangers were killed off when centre-back Butler stormed into the visitors' box to meet a Lewis cross with an unstoppable header. http://sport.independent.co.uk/football/coca_cola/article343331.ece

Sunday Times

"...This was a workmanlike victory over a Queens Park Rangers side depleted by injuries. QPR manager Ian Holloway solved a goalkeeping crisis by registering Phil Barnes’s loan from Sheffield United less than four hours before kick-off. Both goals came from headers and both came from passes from the left foot of Eddie Lewis, the United States international who had a terrific game on the left wing. His skill enlivened a drab, listless opening as he tormented QPR’s new Polish full-back Marcin Kus and after 27 minutes he beat the defender to the byline and forced Barnes into a save.
But Barnes was at fault for Leeds’s opener. Lewis swung over a free kick, the keeper called for the ball but could not reach it before Cresswell, whose back header looped into the empty net.
Neil Sullivan was not called on to make a save until nine minutes into the second half when Keith Lowe, another QPR debutant, won the ball in the air but headed straight at him. At the other end Liam Miller struck a stinging shot from 20 yards that brought a fine save from Barnes before Cresswell had an opportunity to score Leeds’s second. Lewis’s cross found the former Preston man unmarked, but he headed wide.
With Lewis unstoppable and Shaun Derry an anchor in midfield, Leeds were dominant. After 77 minutes Lewis did well to reach a Cresswell cross but when he pulled the ball back, no attacker followed up.
Six minutes from time Leeds put the result beyond doubt. Lewis sent over another perfectly weighted cross and Butler dived to head the ball powerfully past Barnes.
STAR MAN: Eddie Lewis (Leeds)
Player ratings. Leeds: Sullivan 7, Kelly 7, Butler 7, Gregan 6, Crainey 6, Douglas 6, Miller 7, Derry 7, Lewis 8, Healy 6 (Blake 71min, 6), Cresswell 7 (Hulse 77min, 7)
QPR: Barnes 7, Kus 5 (Langley 86min, 6), Lowe 6, Shittu 6, Taylor 7, Ainsworth 5 (Youssouf 66min, 6), Bignot 6, Lomas 6, Cook 7 (Nygaard 66min, 7), Moore 5, Clarke 5

The Championship Sat, 04 Feb 06 15:00
Leeds head past QPR
By Andrew Scurr - Created on 04 Feb 06

"....QPR were forced into changes for their game with Leeds, the most notable, Phil Barnes in goal despite only signing for the club at 11.30am.
Leeds have been solid at home this season and pressurised the QPR back line early. Stephen Crainey's ambitious effort flew over the top of the bar whilst the Whites' wingers produced quality balls into the box.
However, Rangers should have taken the lead just before the break when Lee Cook sent a volley over from just six yards out.
They were made to pay for the miss on 39 minutes when Cresswell connected with Eddie Lewis' ball to put the home side ahead, nodding past Barnes to score his seventh goal of the season.
Leeds continued to threaten after the restart but did not add the second until six minutes from time when Butler dived full-length to head home another fine cross from Lewis.
Miller almost added the third in the closing minutes but failed to make correct contact from 18 yards http://home.skysports.com/matchreport.asp?fxid=278423&CPID=10&channel=championship

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