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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Preston 1 QPR 1 - Additional Reports & Comments

Photos from Preston

Gary Waddock's Rangers were upset in more ways than one up at Preston after falling victim to a late equaliser.

Not only was the late Paul McKenna goal a blow to the emotions, but Rangers had found their shape upset early on after an injury to Martin Rowlands.

It was certainly a tough test up at Deepdale, but Gareth Ainsworth's early strike had given Rangers every chance of coming away from the North West with the three points.

But Preston didn't give up the chase and equalised late on through a Paul McKenna header to undo all of Rangers' hard graft.

Waddock said: "I'm a bit disappointed that we didn't hold out for the three points, we should have had the win.

"They had a lot of possession but they didn't break us down that often and we're building on getting those wins.

"To lose Martin Rowlands so early on in the game changed our game plan and it did upset the balance a little bit, but we had Steve Lomas available to come on and he is a complete professional.

"We'll have to assess Rowly's injury tomorrow, so we won't know any more until then.

"The players are disappointed in there, they were after the Burnley game and then today it shows you what can happen within a small period of time."

"People can keep tipping us for relegation but we've set our targets in house and the squad know what's expected of them

"We've had three good games now, so let's build on that and see where that takes us."

Former Preston man Ainsworth got on the scoresheet and Waddock had words of praise for his captain.

"Gareth always does well. He was captain today and he puts in a great performance week in week out.

"Nick Ward has also settled in really quickly but as a team I don't feel that we've completely gelled yet and there is still more to come."

And as for the opposition?

"David Nugent is a quality player but I felt our back four dealt with him really well. He didn't have many chances, one before half time and a header than Jonah saved, but Zesh and Damion did well with him."



North End boss Paul Simpson endured a frustrating afternoon as he saw his side encounter their second consecutive home draw.

Paul Simpson

"We definitely deserved at least a point, we had a lot of possession, we had opportunities but the big thing that let us down today was the final ball into the box," Simpson said in the aftermath of the 1-1 draw with QPR.

"It was frustrating at times, we were getting into good areas but too many times there were half-hearted balls going in where the goalkeeper was allowed to come in and take the cross, calm them down and set them on an attack."

It was Paul McKenna's 86th minute header which rescued a point for the Lilywhites after former PNE midfielder Gareth Ainsworth had given the London club a fifth minute lead.

"You can say saved in the nick of time, we have given a goal away sloppily in the first half and we didn't defend the long ball through and we should have cleared our lines earlier with that.

"We didn't do our jobs at the set-piece, it was a horrible goal to look at and concede and from there we are chasing the game.

"Fair play to QPR, they came and they got players supporting Blackstock and Jones quickly and they defended very strongly. If we had had better quality on the crosses we could have caused them more problems but I thought it was a well worked goal that we scored and a goal that we deserved to get."

North End endured more bad news on the injury front with Kelvin Wilson suffering medial ligament damage and he could be out for some time - Alan McCormack deputised very well once Wilson had departed.

Simpson said: "You have to say that we are going through a very unlucky period with Kelvin Wilson getting injured today, we think there is medial knee ligament damage so we don't know how long he is going to be out.

"Alan's not played many and I bet he's not made many as a right-back either, he did very well, I was delighted with Alan McCormack.

"I thought he came and gave us a bit of enthusiasm more than anything, unfortunately Alan was probably a bit guilty more than anybody of putting crosses into the goalkeeper's hands but I thought a lot of the stuff that he did was very good.

"He went in and won tackles and that is something that we have got to get right through the side, too many times I felt that we weren't strong enough going into challenges and when you get supporters turning up week in-week out you have to show them that you have got that real desire to go and win the ball and to win tackles and it something that we have definitely got to improve on."

Preston 1-1 QPR
Paul McKenna denied QPR their first away points of the season with a late equaliser for Preston.
Gareth Ainsworth gave Rangers the lead after just five minutes, volleying in Nick Ward's cross from six yards out.
But Preston found their feet in the second half, the lively Danny Pugh twice going close before missing an easy header.
But the hosts finally got their deserved equaliser moments later through McKenna's header.
#Preston boss Paul Simpson:
"It makes it important to get new people into the squad. I am still waiting for players to come back to me at the moment.
"I'll just have to keep being patient. The list is endless of first team players unavailable for selection.
"Today I had 14 outfield players for this game, plus one."
QPR boss Gary Waddock:
"Gareth Ainsworth leads by example. He has put in another good performance. He always does that, week-in week-out.
"He gives 100% whether on the training ground, or in a Championship game.
"He's a character in the dressing room, he gets everyone going. He wears his heart on his sleeve, he is a rock and roller and put in a captain's display."
Preston: Nash, Hill (Lewis Neal 73), St. Ledger, Chilvers, Wilson (McCormack 41), Sedgwick (Agyemang 80), McKenna, Jarrett, Pugh, Nugent, Whaley.
Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Stock.
Booked: McKenna.
Goals: McKenna 86.
QPR: Paul Jones, Rowlands (Lomas 12), Rose, Rehman, Milanese, Ainsworth (Baidoo 90), Stewart, Blackstock, Cook, Ray Jones (Gallen 82), Ward.
Subs Not Used: Cole, Kanyuka.
Goals: Ainsworth 5.
Att: 11,879
Ref: M Pike (Cumbria)

Paul McKenna denied QPR their first away win of the season as his late equaliser earned Preston a deserved 1-1 draw at Deepdale.

Gareth Ainsworth had given Rangers the lead after just five minutes of the first half and Gary Waddock's men showed steely resolve to hold onto their lead, only to have their hopes of a win dashed by McKenna's late header.

Early pressure from the visitors centred around midfielder Ainsworth, who pulled the strings as QPR won an early corner.

Nick Ward swung the corner dangerously into the centre of the Preston box and Ainsworth was on the end of it, poking the ball home on the volley from six yards out with his right foot, past the flailing arms of North End goalkeeper Carlo Nash.

The visitors continued to control possession of the ball as Preston struggled to get into the contest but Rangers suffered an early blow when Martin Rowlands limped off injured and was replaced by Steve Lomas.

The enforced substitution failed to swing the flow of the game in Preston's favour and some neat play from Rangers striker Dexter Blackstock presented a chance for Ward but the midfielder fired wide from the edge of the box.

Preston finally began to make inroads in attack as Danny Pugh's probing runs caused QPR a number of problems and Paul Simpson's side registered their first shot when David Nugent drove a right-footed effort towards goal from 30 yards, only to see it cleared by Zesh Rehman.

The afternoon saw its second early substitution when an injury to Preston midfielder Kelvin Wilson forced Simpson to replace him with Alan McCormack.

However, the half ended with North End in the ascendancy and a Nugent header forced Jones into an athletic, diving save before Pugh's cross teed the England Under-21s striker up again but he found Jones at full stretch and in fine form.

The second half picked up where the first left off, as Preston pushed forward and Simon Whalley crashed a right-footed shot towards goal from 25 yards, into the arms of Jones.

Pugh threatened to bring Preston an equaliser and he struck a pair of shots within a minute of each other, the first being saved by Jones and the second flying just wide from 20 yards.

Having survived a spell of pressure, QPR pushed forwards after the hour mark and it was Ainsworth again at the centre of their endeavours.

Lee Cook's inswinging corner found the goal-scorer in a similar position to that from which he netted earlier, but his left-footed shot flashed wide of the post.

As the game entered its closing quarter, Preston finally began to show the kind of form that saw them beat Wolves a week earlier and Lewis Neal's introduction as a replacement for Matthew Hill proved key to their recovery.

Pugh should have scored with a header after Neal sent over a superb cross but the miss was forgotten moments later as the scores were levelled.

Neal again looped the ball into the penalty area and this time he found McKenna, who nodded the ball downwards beyond Jones and into the net to clinch a point.

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