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Tuesday, August 08, 2006

QPR 2 Leeds 2 - Reports & Comments

Queens Park Rangers (0) 2 Leeds United (0) 2

Leeds United manager Kevin Blackwell was livid after Shabazz Baidoo struck an injury-time equaliser for Queens Park Rangers last night. He even threatened some of his players with a swift exit unless there is marked improvement in their performances.

"We know we have to win at places like this," said Blackwell. ''We've played well tonight and nobody could say that we haven't deserved to win.

''But I've given the players a tongue-lashing after the game because the performance in the last few minutes was just unacceptable.

''A few of them had better buck their ideas up because a few of them might not be around long enough to find out what I will do to them.

"We committed hara-kiri and I'm not putting up with it. When you get in a winning position, you do not throw it away.

"If I've upset a few people, I'm sorry - but that's life."

Blackwell refused to confirm that Leeds are poised to sign defender Mo Camara from Celtic on a season-long loan deal.

Blackwell could spare Eddie Lewis from criticism, a player who looked sharp on the night, volleying home with some abandon after 64 minutes as QPR's resistance wilted.

Steve Stone's cross had been headed on to the crossbar by David Healy, before Geoff Horsfield dragged the ball back from the deadball line for Lewis to finish the job.

Rangers hit back through Martin Rowlands' 80th-minute penalty after the dangerous Gareth Ainsworth had been taken out by Stephen Crainey.

A minute later, however, Horsfield beat the offside trap after Stone had again acted as provider, lobbing the ball over the top to set up a cool finish.

However, Baidoo was not to be thwarted in the final seconds, managing to nip in front of Tony Warner for the second equaliser, following an excellent surging run by Lee Cook.

Leeds looked menacing early on when Healy and Lewis pressed forward. Healy, in particular, was all set to fire Leeds into the lead when he seized on Stone's pass in the 26th minute, but his disappointingly tame shot was smothered by goalkeeper Paul Jones.

What is it with Healy? His Premiership potential is often trumpeted, never more so than after his winner for Northern Ireland over England last year, and this was the type of opportunity he should have buried.

It was a less than glorious half all round for Leeds' thin supply of internationals, with Republic of Ireland defender Gary Kelly firing well over from Lewis' deft set-up.

The encouraging sign for their fans, though, was that, while lethargy laced their opening performance against Norwich City, purpose appeared to be prevailing here.

QPR still seem to be the stuff of mid-table - sturdy and positive, but with a defensive susceptibility that Leeds should have more easily exploited.

Stone was at the heart of many of move, being denied twice inside a minute by the athleticism of Jones. Then came one of the game's clearest chances, after 38 minutes, when Jones pushed Eirik Bakke's powerful free-kick past his right-hand post, having seen the ball late.

At least they continued to threaten up front, Adam Czerkas showing a neat turn of pace and Ainsworth turning Crainey inside out in the second half. Damion Stewart posed a danger, too, but was too often tentative with the final ball.


Guardian - Baidoo's late strike thwarts Leeds
Rob Smyth at Loftus Road
Wednesday August 9, 2006
The Guardian

Shabazz Baidoo scored an injury-time equaliser for QPR to deny Leeds a deserved victory after they had dominated for almost the entire match. He turned in Gareth Ainsworth's near-post cross from two yards, and Rangers could even have stolen a winner.
It was a largely unsophisticated contest in which brawn had the better of brain, but Leeds were superior and deserved to be in front long before Eddie Lewis, the outstanding player, struck an excellent goal. QPR equalised through a Martin Rowlands' penalty with nine minutes remaining but within a minute Geoff Horsfield volleyed another for Leeds
Beforehand QPR introduced a new signing, the former England Under-17 centre-half Zesh Rahmam from Fulham, but it could not lift a pre-match mood of weary resignation which was in total contrast to the optimism usually associated with first home game of a new season.
Once the whistle blew, however, the mood was transformed. Rangers started with fury and hunger, and for a while their intensity was too much even for a team as battle-hardened as Leeds.

In the second minute Matthew Kilgallon inexplicably left a blind punt only for the on-loan Adam Czerkas to poke wide when one on one with Leeds's on-loan goalkeeper Tony Warner. A minute later Ainsworth surged infield to make Warner work from the edge of the area.

Leeds took 15 minutes to get a foothold in the game but when they did their superior know-how and self belief began to tell. Their first real chance came when Paul Butler headed down the lively Lewis's corner and David Healy's close-range prod was smothered by Paul Jones.

Slowly Leeds turned the screw. Healy side-footed at Jones from the edge of the area after Damien Stewart had missed Steve Stone's cross, and soon after the former England winger was denied by two desperate point-blank saves from Jones.

It was not especially pretty - both teams seemed determined to give a thorough work-out to the old Brian Clough adage about God putting grass in the sky - but it worked for Leeds and at times QPR were struggling to get out of their own box, never mind their half.

Gary Kelly thrashed high and wide from 10 yards after 34 minutes, and Lewis's free kick was palmed away by the besieged Jones. It was a minor miracle that the home side got to half-time on level terms.

Only one side wanted the interval to come and it showed afterwards. Leeds struggled to pick up where they left off and QPR, glad to have any pieces to pick up at all, emerged with renewed vigour.

As in the first half, however, Leeds reversed the momentum and when another Lewis free-kick caused mayhem in the penalty area, Healy's left-foot shot was blocked by a posse of defenders.

A goal was not so much in the post as on its way by recorded delivery, and it finally arrived with 25 minutes remaining. Stone's clipped cross was headed against the underside of the bar by Healy and as the ball broke loose, Lewis fired a left-foot volley into the top corner.

Leeds were as comfortable as any side leading could be and they will find it hard to fathom how they did not make it six points out of six.


QPR 2 Leeds 2

Date : Tue 08 Aug 2006 Kick Off : 20:00
Venue : Loftus Road Attendance : 13996
Comp : Coca-Cola Football League Championship Referee : K Friend

Goals : Rowlands 81 (pen) Baidoo 90 + 1
Lewis 65 Horsfield 82
Match Report

Super-sub Shabazz Baidoo bagged a last gasp leveller as Rangers clinched their first point of the new campaign against Leeds United.

The R's second half substitute scored his first goal at Loftus Road in stoppage time, to the delight of a bumper home crowd.

Martin Rowlands had earlier drawn the R's level from the spot, after Eddie Lewis' opener.

United loanne Geoff Horsfield looked to have won it for Leeds on 83 minutes, but Baidoo came to the rescue, as the R's got their season up and running.

Earlier, Gareth Ainsworth and David Healy both went close for their respective sides in the first half.

It was the latter who perhaps squandered the best opportunity of the half, shooting straight at Paul Jones on 26 minutes, while Ainsworth should maybe have done better when faced one-on-one with Tony Warner on the edge of the penalty box early on.

Gary Waddock named an unchanged side, with Nicky Ward, Damion Stewart and Adam Czerkas all making their home debuts.

Ward played the withdrawn striker role behind Czerkas, with Martin Rowlands offering support in his first appearance at Loftus Road since January 2nd.

Rangers were on the front foot from the first whistle, with comeback kid Rowlands delivering a teasing free-kick into the box which the Whites rearguard cleared with ease.

Czerkas picked up from where he left off in the first half against Burnley, getting goal-side of his man, only to scuff his second minute shot wide of the near post.

The Rangers Alamo continued 60 seconds later, with skipper for the night Ainsworth shooting straight at Warner from 15 yards.

Matthew Kilgallon was extremely fortunate to not pick up a fifth minute booking, when his ridiculously late lunge on Ainsworth saw the R's skipper bundled to ground.

Lee Cook's resultant free-kick was tipped round by Warner, as the R's continued to take the game to their visitors.

After Kilgallon's lucky escape, Leeds left-back Stephen Crainey eventually became the first player in referee Mr Friend's notebook on six minutes, for a blatant handball on the right wing.

It was the lively Cook who went closest to breaking the deadlock on 10 minutes, thrashing a speculative drive two yards wide of the left upright from fully 30 yards.

The one-way traffic continued and after fine build-up play involving Ward and Cook, Crainey had to be at his agile best to steer the ball to safety at the far post.

Leeds' first foray into Rangers territory was as a result of an indifferent piece of defending at the heart of the R's back four on 16 minutes.

After twice failing to clear their lines, Paul Jones' attempted clearance was blocked by Geoff Horsfield, only for the ricochet to come to nothing.

Welsh international Jones came to Rangers' rescue on 18 minutes, diving at the feet of Healy, after Kilgallon's initial header was diverted on target by the conqueror of England in Belfast last year.

All of Rangers' early hard work almost went to waste on 26 minutes, but after Healy got goal-side of Matthew Rose, the Northern Ireland international could only shoot straight at Jones.

Jones' heroics continued on 31 minutes, as the veteran keeper produced an outstanding double save to thwart Steve Stone from close range.

It was another veteran - Leeds right back Gary Kelly - who squandered the best chance of the half on 34 minutes.

Arriving bang on cue to Eddie Lewis' inch-perfect pull back, the Eire man smashed his 12 yard effort high and wide.

Damion Stewart picked up his first yellow card for his new Club on 39 minutes, but quite what referee Mr Friend saw in his perfectly-timed challenge on Eirik Bakke will remain a mystery for a long time to come.

Jones was on hand to save Healy's resultant 20-yard free-kick, as the end-to-end entertainment continued as the half drew to a conclusion.

Neither side made any changes at the break, but it was the hosts who created the first chance of the half, with Ward cutting in from the right flank before curling a stinging effort into the grasp of Warner.

Ward was clearly growing in stature as the game wore on and after he found Cook with a delightful reverse through ball, the wingers' inviting pass was hacked to safety by Kelly, with Mauro Milanese waiting to pounce.

After Bakke - clearly still shaken after Stewarts' first half tackle - made way for Ian Westlake, Rangers were forced into their first change, with the flu-stricken Czerkas replaced by Ray Jones.

It was end-to-end stuff and after Horsfield saw his shot blocked by a mass of bodies in the 59th minute, the R's broke at pace, with Cook and Ward combining to set up Ainsworth, who saw his header deflected over for a corner.

It was a truly scintillating counter attack - the best of the match by far - and probably deserved more than the corner which followed.

But the old adage that suggests you need to take your chances when you're on top came back to haunt the R's a minute or so later.

Stone's back post cross was headed on to the bar by Healy, and Lewis pounced on the loose ball to send the travelling Leeds fans into raptures.

Staring down the barrel of back-to-back defeats, Waddock threw caution to the wind, switching to an attacking 4-4-2 formation, with Ainsworth joining Jones in the final third.

A rare Rangers foray into Leeds territory saw Warner re-gather at the second attempt from Cook's left sided cross, but in truth that was as good as it got for the R's.

It was soon 4-3-3 for the R's, as Shabazz Baidoo entered the fray in place of Marcus Bignot and immediately joined Jones and Ainsworth in attack

The move paid dividends two minutes later, with Ainsworth receiving the ball with his back to goal, only to be pushed to ground in the box by Crainey.

Rowlands stepped up from the spot and sent the ball firing into the bottom left hand corner for the R's first goal of the new campaign.

But that wasn't the end of the scoring and just 60 seconds later, Horsfield bagged his first goal in a Leeds shirt, when he capitalised on Stone's deft header before burying a ten yard volley past the exposed Jones.

The Leeds loanee had a chance to bag goal number three on 83 minutes, but this time saw his six yard header nestle wide of the far post.

Ray Jones could've made a huge name for himself a minute from time, but shot high, wide and handsome with the goal gaping.

The teenage striker almost produced a wonder goal on 90 minutes, but Warner was down well to save the strikers volley at his feet.

But Rangers are a resilient bunch under Waddock and when Ainsworth rescued a seemingly wasteful cross from the by-line, Baidoo pounced from little more than two yards to clinch a draw.

Remarkably, Jones still had two chances to win it in time added on. His first effort was saved at the second attempt by Warner, before a amazing thunderous volley finished inches wide in the fourth and final minute of stoppage time.

QPR: P Jones, Bignot (Baidoo 76), Rose, Stewart, Milanese, Ainsworth, Lomas, Rowlands (Bircham 89), Cook, Ward, Czerkas (Jones 54).

Subs: Cole, Kanyuka.

Goals: Rowlands 80 (pen), Baidoo 90

Bookings: Stewart 39

Red Cards:

Leeds United: Warner, Kelly, Crainey, Butler, Healy (Carole 76), Horsfield (Moore 84), Lewis, Stone, Bakke (Westlake 50), Derry, Kilgallon.
Subs: Gregan, Blake.

Goals: Lewis 65, Horsfield 82

Bookings: Killgallon 6, Derry 45, Warner 79

Red Cards:

Referee: Mr K A Friend

Attendance: 13,966


Waddo's Words FAITH IN KIDS

Gary Waddock praised the impact of Shabazz Baidoo and Ray Jones after the R's clinched a deserved point against Leeds.

"It's vital we keep producing young players at this Club and Ray and Shabazz have shown what can happen when you give youth a chance.

"I've always said that if they're good enough I'll play them and the pair of them turned the game on its head.''

Teenager Baidoo ensured a share of the spoils in stoppage time, after Martin Rowlands had earlier cancelled out Eddie Lewis' opener.

Geoff Horsfield looked to have won it for the Whites, only for Baidoo to strike late on.

"The crowd will go home delighted and after the way they supported us tonight, that's the least they deserve.

"I was delighted with the level of performance. The lads were exceptional against a Leeds side who will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season.

"A point is the least we deserved on the night and the players have got to believe they are capable of beating big sides like Leeds after that display.

"It's a huge confidence boost and the lads deserve all the praise that comes their way.''


Blackwell & Waddock Comments
By Tom Collomosse, PA Sport

Furious Kevin Blackwell tore into his Leeds players after watching them throw away two points at QPR.

Leeds - who had been in charge for all but the opening 20 minutes - led 2-1 in stoppage time, but some slack defending allowed substitute Shabazz Baidoo to make it 2-2 and rescue a point for Rangers.

Leeds twice led through goals from Eddie Lewis and on-loan forward Geoff Horsfield, strikes that sandwiched Martin Rowlands' 81st-minute penalty for the home side.

But it was Baidoo's intervention late on that left Blackwell practically shaking with anger - and threatening to kick some of his players out of Elland Road.

"I've let a few players know I'm not happy," Blackwell said.

"If they do not buck their ideas up, they will not be around here long enough to make me unhappy again.

"We shot ourselves in the foot, and, as a professional footballer, you have to learn not to shoot yourself in the foot.

"The players have felt the sharp edge of my tongue, and they had better learn from it. The finishing is not good enough for where we want to be.

"We committed hara-kiri and I'm not putting up with it. When you get in a winning position, you do not throw it away.

"If I've upset a few people, I'm sorry - but that's life."

Blackwell refused to confirm that Leeds are poised to sign defender Mo Camara from Celtic on a season-long loan deal.

The result means Leeds have collected four points from their opening two Coca-Cola Championship fixtures, following the 1-0 win over Norwich on Saturday.

Rangers - one of the pre-season relegation favourites - are off the mark for the season after being beaten 2-0 at Burnley on the opening day.

Their manager Gary Waddock said: "We played a team who will be there or thereabouts at the end of the season, and we have picked up a point.

"Other people might tip us for relegation, but we know what we want to achieve within this club.

"On the evidence of tonight's performance, we will be OK, but we need to make tonight the benchmark and repeat it against Southend on Saturday."

The tide turned late in the game when Waddock threw on young strikers Baidoo and Ray Jones, who caused the Leeds defence far more problems than the ineffective Adam Czerkas.

Waddock added: "They played together in the youth team and the reserves, but the standard of the Championship is much higher.

"They need to develop and work hard, although I'm sure we will hear a lot more from them.

"We need to turn Loftus Road into a fortress - and tonight was a good start."



QPR 2 (Rowlands 80 pen, Baidoo 90), LEEDS UNITED 2 (Lewis 64, Horsfield 81)

QPR: P Jones, Bignot (Baidoo 77), Milanese, Rose, Ward, Ainsworth, Rowlands (Bircham 88), Lomas, Cook, Stewart, Czerkas (R Jones 55). Subs: Cole, Kanyuka.

UNITED: Warner, Kelly, Butler, Kilgallon, Crainey, Stone, Bakke (Westlake 49), Derry, Lewis, Healy (Carole 76), Horsfield (Moore 84). Subs: Gregan, Blake.

Ref: K Friend

Att: 13,966

United manager Kevin Blackwell stuck with the same side that accounted for Norwich at Elland Road on Saturday. Eirik Bakke and Paul Butler recovered from minor knocks to take their place in the starting line-up along with on-loan goalkeeper Tony Warner, who continues to deputise for Neil Sullivan.

Warner was called into action twice inside the opening 15 minutes as QPR made a brisk opening - the imposing keeper stood his ground well against Adam Czerkas and saved from Gareth Ainsworth. It was a lively start by the home side as they attempted to give Leeds no time to settle.

However, United boss Blackwell again tinkered with his system during the early exchanges and after stemming the QPR flurry, Leeds slowly took control and carved out a number of good opportunities.

Geoff Horsfield was first to capitalise when he almost cashed in on a poor back-pass while Paul Butler threatened with a close range header. Home goalkeeper Paul Jones reacted well to deny David Healy after good work by Steve Stone, and Stone himself had two attempts blocked.

United's best chance of the first half came on 35 minutes when Gary Kelly smashed an Eddie Lewis cross over the top while, moments before the interval, QPR goalkeeper Jones saved well from a curling Lewis free-kick.

United lost Bakke through injury shortly after the break, but they remainded in the ascendancy and continued to dominate the clash. Steve Stone and Eddie Lewis were constant threats and the American was also a danger at set-plays as Leeds looked to force the advantage.

It took some quick defending to deny Healy on the hour-mark, who capitalised on a Butler knock-down from one Lewis free-kick, while Horsfield came within a whisker of turning another Lewis delivery towards goal.

But the goal that Leeds so richly deserved finally came on 64 minutes. Horsfield and Stone were both involved as Healy saw a header rattle the bar, but the ball was only cleared as far as Lewis and the Californian made no mistake with a rasping finish.

Yet, with Leeds cruising, the home side were handed a shock lifeline when Stephen Crainey was adjudged to have committed a foul during a rare QPR sortie and the referee had no doubt about awarding a penalty. United protested - Warner was booked - but Martin Rowlands made no mistake from the spot.

It took less than a minute for United to restore their lead though. Stone played in Horsfield with a delightful ball and the loan striker took his chance with aplomb to open his goalscoring account for his new club. It was no more than Leeds or Horsfield deserved, but there was still more drama to come.

Rangers came pouring forward in search of an equaliser and substitute Shabazz Baidoo came up with the goods in the final minute when he poked home from close range after a good break down the right by the Londoners.


BBC QPR 2-2 Leeds

Sub Shabazz Baidoo struck in stoppage time to rescue a point for QPR.
The visitors looked to have sealed victory when Geoff Horsfield scored on 82 minutes, but Baidoo's near-post finish earned the Londoners a point.

A minute before Horsfield's goal, Martin Rowlands had slotted in a penalty to level for QPR after Stephen Crainey had fouled Gareth Ainsworth.

Eddie Lewis put Leeds ahead in the 65th minute when he volleyed in the loose ball after Rangers had failed to clear.



QPR 2 Leeds 2
By Tom Collomosse, PA Sport

Click here for full match stats

Substitute Shabazz Baidoo struck in stoppage time to rescue a point for QPR against Leeds.

The visitors looked to have the points sewn up when Geoff Horsfield scored with eight minutes remaining, but Baidoo's near-post finish earned a much-needed point for the Londoners.

His goal capped a frenetic final 10 minutes. A minute before Horsfield's goal, Martin Rowlands had scored a penalty for QPR to cancel out Eddie Lewis' opener.

But Baidoo's effort ensured Rangers are off the mark in the Coca-Cola Championship, while Leeds have four points from two matches.

QPR began their season with a defeat at Burnley, but they started this match with purpose and conviction, and created a number of early chances, but Adam Czerkas - making his home debut - Gareth Ainsworth and Lee Cook failed to take them.

After a ponderous opening 20 minutes, Leeds began to find their rhythm, and David Healy should have given them the lead in the 19th minute when Horsfield nodded Lewis' left-wing corner into his path, but he shot weakly at Paul Jones from only six yards.

Jones again kept his team level in the 32nd minute with an excellent point-blank save from Steve Stone, who had latched on to another Horsfield knock-down following Stephen Crainey's long throw.

Rangers were looking shaky in defence, and 10 minutes before the break, Lewis beat Marcus Bignot and cut the ball across the face of the goal from the left - only for the unmarked Gary Kelly to hammer the ball into the home fans from just eight yards.

Jones continued to thwart Leeds. After home debutant Damion Stewart had been booked for a foul on Eirik Bakke 22 yards out, the Welshman made another fine stop from Lewis' curling free-kick.

Leeds looked the likelier scorers early in the second half, and Healy saw another shot blocked on the hour mark after Paul Butler had headed Lewis' free-kick across goal.

But seconds later, Leeds had Crainey to thank for a superb defensive header that prevented Ainsworth reaching Cook's cross.

The visitors finally went ahead when Healy headed Stone's right-wing cross against the bar and, after Rangers had failed to clear, Lewis volleyed in the loose ball from six yards.

Nine minutes from time, Rangers thought they had earned a draw when Rowlands beat Tony Warner from the penalty spot after Crainey had fouled Ainsworth - but Leeds immediately pushed forward, on-loan striker Horsfield collecting Stone's pass before steering a shot into the bottom-right corner for his first Leeds goal.

With the 90 minutes up, Ainsworth hooked Cook's left-wing cross back into the danger zone, and Baidoo was there to score from a yard.


QPR Paul Jones, Bignot (Baidoo 77), Rose, Stewart, Milanese,Ainsworth, Rowlands (Bircham 87), Lomas, Ward, Cook,Czerkas (Ray Jones 55).

Subs Not Used: Cole, Kanyuka.


Also See:
Simon Skinner/QPR Net Match Report

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