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Saturday, September 09, 2006

Plymouth 1 QPR 1 - Reports & Comments

QPR Drop to Third from bottom - Table

Plymouth had 14 Corners...QPR had 2 (from Sporting Life)

Plymouth Official - Holloway Evaluation NOT TAKING CHANCES

MISSED chances were once again the biggest problem for Argyle manager Ian Holloway after his side were held to a 1-1 home draw by his former club QPR.

The Pilgrims fell behind to a soft goal from Dexter Blackstock on 16 minutes, but equalized through Sylvan Ebanks-Blake 15 minutes later.

Holloway was disappointed with Argyle's lacklustre start to the game and felt his team should have taken their chances better.

"I was disappointed we went behind but I did not think we started in the first 20 minutes," said Holloway.

"I said before the game that I wanted them to enjoy the game but maybe I was too tense.

"I asked them to hit our centre-forward within five passes because I think we look a good team when we do that. I did not say hit them in one pass.

"I felt we caused their back four problems all afternoon but, unfortunately, those chances that we are missing at the moment are costing us."

Argyle also had countless free-kicks and corners but were unable to score, and it is a worrying trend for Holloway.

He said: "If I was disappointed with anything, at set-pieces we need to nail down a bit better.

"I don't think we have scored from one since I have been here. It may be a lack of height.

"At the minute, some people who can deliver did not today and we need some more practice.

Holloway was delighted with the effort of his team, however, and now wants to see bigger crowds at Home Park to cheer on the troops.

"I can't ask for more effort and I thought we seemed to relax once we got the equalizer," said Holloway.

"I have heard a lot of people say that we have got to win our home games. Why have you got to win your home games? If you win away and draw at home, then that is four points out of six.

"I am not overly concerned but I would love to send people away singing and chanting, and bringing other people with them because we need more bums on seats. I saw far too many empty seats around the place.

"If I won the lottery I would buy loads of people season-tickets in the area to come along.

"Unfortunately, we are not getting what we deserve. I think the lads have got to believe in themselves and be a bit more clinical.

"Once we got settled down and moved the ball, we pulled them around and created enough chances to win the game."

Despite the missed chances, Holloway is pleased with the variety of forwards he has at his disposal.

He said: "I started off with one striker and two young lads when I arrived and I think we have added two strikers and now (Cherno) Samba as well.

"They are a mixed bag and they offer different things. When I moved Hayles out to the left, we need him too much up the middle, so I have got to work with them.

"Hopefully, when we get (Gary) Penrice to come down, he can work with them because he is very good with forwards and they need a bit of TLC.

"With a bit of knowledge I think we can make some of these really tasty. Reuben Reid has an awful lot to offer.

"Nick Chadwick, for me, is a very good player and he was unfortunate today but he took it in the right way because I felt we needed Sylvan (Ebanks-Blake) today.

"I knew they would get their line right, so we needed to hit the forwards with the right type of ball, hold it and then turn, and we would cause them some problems.

"Unfortunately, the chances we did create, we did not finish them off.

"I thought the best move of the match deserved a goal but Chuck Norris struck it straight at the keeper."

Holloway was not pleased with the nature of the QPR goal, which came from Lee Cook cross and Dexter Blackstock stole in behind the Argyle defence to apply the finishing touch.

Holloway said: "Obviously, I was disappointed with the goal because it looked like a bit of a scuff and someone took a gamble on it but well done to him, he got something on it and it trickled in.

The sight of Hungarian midfielder Akos Buzsaky in the starting line-up was a happy one for the Green Army, and he showed glimpses of his magical skills.

Holloway obviously rates Buzsaky very highly but replaced him in the second-half after the magnificent Magyar started to drift out of the game.

"He (Buzsaky) ran out of steam a bit," said Holloway.

"We have got some wonderful attacking players and, if you saw the reserves the other night we scored five goals, but let in five as well.

"I think Akos is one of them players I have not seen the likes of.

"Roy Wegerle was a terrific player with fantastic ability, and I think Akos has got some of the things that excite football fans and they wish they could see it and it won games every week.

"I would pay money to see some of the things he does but what I have to do is make sure he gets back in shape when we have not got the ball.

"I believe the boy is desperately trying to do it because he has had so many sacrifices for his career.

"It is all he eats, sleeps and drinks and I can see it in him.

"He missed all of pre-season and he has only played about four games in the reserves, and two sub appearances for the first-team.

"I believe in the boys' talent and I have always wanted to surround myself with players who are more talented than I was, and rub off on them.

"I just want him to play like he did against me when I was QPR manager, scoring from 30 yards out.

"Today, he was trying so hard and it was not quite working for him.

"In the playground, I was never the best player but I wanted to be a player more than anybody else, and I want this team to be the best I have ever seen."


Gary Waddock - Official Site

Gary Waddock praised the grit and determination of the R's, after the 1-1 draw at Home Park.

Wads had just seen his side grind out a point against Plymouth Argyle, when he spoke exclusively to qpr.co.uk.

"The lads stuck to their task superbly.

"Each and every one of them worked their socks off and they were a credit to this football club today.

''They dug in when it mattered most and got the point their display deserved.''

Dexter Blackstock gave Rangers the lead on 16 minutes, only for Sylvan Ebanks-Blake to grab an equaliser.

"Dexter's done everything but score so far this season, but he's broke his duck and I'm sure the goals will flow now.

"I'm glad he got it here because he was on loan here for a while and their fans were giving him a bit of stick.

"His all-round display was fantastic, but he wasn't the only one - Birch, Ollie, Cooky, Ward and Marc were superb. They kept going and going, despite having hardly anything in the tank late on.''

The manner of Plymouth's goal angered Waddock though: "Zesh was gutted at half time because he knew he was at fault.

"But credit has to go to him for picking himself up in the second half, when they applied a bit of pressure.''
Official Site

Holloway & Waddock's Comments -Sporting Life


QPR boss Gary Waddock praised his side's defensive qualities following a 1-1 draw at Plymouth which got them back on track in the Coca-Cola Championship.

Waddock - whose side took a 17th-minute lead through summer signing Dexter Blackstock - said: "If we had taken a point against Ipswich and not lost then this would have been a reasonable start for us.

"But to get a point here is good because it shows that the hard work that we have put in on the training ground over the past two weeks has paid off.

"Not many people will come to Plymouth and be going home with something."

Waddock praised former Argyle loan signing Blackstock for getting off the mark with his first goal for the Hoops since his summer move from Southampton.

Blackstock redirected Lee Cook's left wing cross past Argyle keeper Luke McCormick to put the London side ahead.

Waddock added: "Dexter has been doing well all that was missing was a goal and now he has got it."

The Hoops boss also denied there was any edge to the game because former QPR manager Ian Holloway is now Argyle chief.

Waddock said: "It's Plymouth today, Birmingham on Tuesday. They are both tough games but that's the nature of the Championship. It's just another game for us."


Holloway was more concerned his side only had a superb 31st-minute Sylvan Ebanks-Blake goal to show for their dominance.

Holloway said: "I am just disappointed that we did not take more of our chances because if we had taken our chances, we would have won the game."

Ebanks-Blake crowned a man-of-the-match performance with his first goal on his first home start since joining for £200,000 from Manchester United.

The recalled 20-year-old striker beat his marker, central defender Zesh Rehman, with a deft touch before curling the ball past Hoops keeper Paul Jones to make it 1-1 after a superb through ball from Paul Connolly.

Of Ebanks-Blake, Holloway said: "I know what he has got and I think he was frustrated with himself.

"I felt today some of that frustration was eased by the goal and a very good finish.

"Any striker in the world needs their first competitive goal - and now he's got that."

Holloway was not concerned that he has yet to oversee a home win since taking over the managerial reins at Home Park in summer.

He said: "If you win away and draw at home it's four points the same as if you win at home and draw away.

"Obviously, I would love to send these fans here home happy with a win and I sure it will come."

Sporting Life

Sporting Life Match Report
Plymouth 1 OPR 1

Plymouth are still searching for their first home win of the season after they could manage only a draw against QPR - despite dominating the match.

Saturday's meeting at Home Park was the first time Pilgrims boss Ian Holloway had faced the west London club since his sacking in February.

And he will be disappointed with the result as his side had a host of second-half chances to secure the three points.

Rangers took a 16th-minute lead thanks to Dexter Blackstock's right-footed shot but Sylvan Ebanks-Blake levelled for the home side with his first league goal of the season.

Fit-again midfielder Akos Buzsaky made his first start for the Pilgrims following a pelvic operation in the summer.

There was no place in Holloway's squad for recent signings Marcel Seip and Cherno Samba while Northern Ireland utility man Tony Capaldi started on the bench after a spell on international duty.

QPR boss Gary Waddock was without key midfielders Martin Rowlands (calf) and Gareth Ainsworth (hamstring) as the pair continued to recover from injury.

But Rangers were boosted by the unexpected return of Marc Nygaard who had been troubled by persistent back and hamstring problems.

Plymouth - searching for their first home win of the season - dominated the opening quarter and should have taken the lead in the 12th minute only for Barry Hayles' close-range header to fall agonisingly wide of the target.

Hayles was left to rue his profligacy four minutes later as Blackstock gave Rangers the lead. The striker connected with Lee Cook's cross.

Undeterred, Plymouth continued to attack and were level in the 30th minute thanks to Ebanks-Blake's curling 12-yard shot.

Plymouth maintained their attacking verve after the break and Ebanks-Blake came close to scoring his second of the match, but his 54th-minute header went over the bar.

Goalkeeper Paul Jones was forced into action in the 62nd minute when David Norris struck from six yards, but, thankfully for the visitors, the Wales international was alert to the danger.

Barry Hayles was the next Pilgrims player to test Jones with an 18-yard shot, which the former Southampton man comfortably caught.

QPR finally managed to break from their own half in the 72nd minute and Nygaard produced a save from Luke McCormick with a right-footed shot from inside the box.

Holloway, in search for the winner, made a double substitution with Reuben Reid replacing Ebanks-Blake and Nick Chadwick coming on for Buzsaky.

But the change proved fruitless as the hosts continued to miss chances. Paul Connolly was the culprit in the 80th minute and Paul Wotton wasted an opportunity to grab a 90th-minute winner.
Sporting Life

BBC - Plymouth 1-1 QPR
Plymouth are still searching for their first home win as boss Ian Holloway faced his old club for the first time since his sacking in February.
QPR took an early lead when Dexter Blackstock's right-footed shot beat Plymouth keeper Luke McCormick.
Plymouth drew level on the hlaf-hour thanks to Sylvan Ebanks-Blake's curling shot for his first goal of the season
In the last 10 minutes Paul Connolly and Paul Wotton wasted two good opportunities for the home side. Plymouth

QPR Official Site - Plymouth 1 QPR 1

Dexter Blackstock opened his R's goalscoring account, but honours ended even at Home Park.

Rangers' most expensive summer signing bagged his first goal in a QPR shirt on 16 minutes, only for Sylvan Ebanks-Blake to equalise just after the half hour.

A lively second half produced a flurry of half chances, but in truth, neither side did enough to warrant maximum points.

It was all square at the break, after a lively opening 45 minutes in the West Country.

Blackstock broke his duck on 16 minutes, when he ghosted into the box unchallenged to poke the ball past the advancing Luke McCormick.

Undeterred, Ebanks-Blake - a summer signing from Manchester United - capitalised on a defensive error at the heart of the R's back four to level the tie.

Gary Waddock made three changes to the starting XI after the disappointing 3-1 defeat to Ipswich Town last time out.

In came Marc Nygaard, Marc Bircham and debutant Egutu Oliseh, with Kevin Gallen, Steve Lomas and Ray Jones all making way.

Barry Hayles led the Argyle attack, as former R's boss Ian Holloway locked horns with his former club for the first time since being appointed Pilgrims gaffer.

Rangers created the first chance as early as the third minute.

Lee Cook's in-swinging free kick found the head of Nicky Ward, but the Aussie - despite being gifted time and space at the near post - headed high and wide.

Buoyed by that early opening, the R's fans - who again turned out in force - broke into their first rendition of ''Gary Waddock's Blue & White Army,'' which was met with a wave of acknowledgement from the R's gaffer.

The Pilgrims took time to find their feet, but when they eventually did, it was Hayles who stung them into life, heading inches wide of Paul Jones' left hand post from Akos Buzsaky's 12th minute free kick.

The goal Rangers' fast start deserved arrived on 16 minutes, courtesy of Blackstock.

The former Southampton striker - who scored four goals while on loan at Home Park in season 2004/05 - ghosted into the box unmarked and applied the faintest of touches to Cook's defence splitting centre to nutmeg McCormick.

Argyle centre half Hasney Ajofree became the first player to enter referee Mr Marriner's notebook on 23 minutes, for a late lunge on the lively Oliseh.

Undeterred, Argyle improved as the half wore on, with firstly Buzsaky, and then Hayles, each going close.

Buzsaky's 20-yard free kick flew a yard or so over, before the much-travelled Hayles squandered a glorious chance, when he headed wide from just inside the six-yard box.

The pressure was relentless and when Hayles broke free down the right flank on the half hour, Zesh Rehman was in the right place at the right time to clear the danger with Ebanks-Blake ready to pounce.

The pressure eventually told a minute later when a mix-up in the R's defence involving Rehman and Paul Jones allowed Ebanks-Blake to round the Welsh number one and roll the ball into an empty net from an acute angle.

Buzsaky's free kicks were a constant threat throughout the half and when his fizzing effort ricocheted of Cook's head, Jones was down well to smother the ball at his near post.

Ebanks-Blake was leading the R's defence a merry dance as the half drew to a conclusion and when he got to the by-line on the stroke of half time, the advancing Hayles was inches away from connecting at the back stick.

With the pitch bathed in sunshine at the start of the second half, it was Rangers who signalled their intentions on the resumption.

Blackstock rose tallest to Ward's right foot cross and when his knock-down fell at the feet of Nygaard, only a splendid block tackle from Ajofree denied the R's man from slotting the ball home.

The loose ball fell to the onrushing Bircham, but he got his effort all wrong, scuffing the ball into the stands from the edge of the box.

Buzsaky continued to cause problems for the R's back four and when he left Cook and then Milanese trailing in his wake, only a poor finish let him down with Rangers all at sea in their own penalty area.

Wearing the armband for the first time this season clearly had a positive effect on the impressive Rose, who was on hand to execute a perfectly timed tackle on 60 minutes, just as Hayles was setting himself to let fly.

Stewart was next in line to make a last ditch tackle, this time thwarting David Norris after the Argyle midfielder coasted into the box unchallenged.

Ebanks-Blake squandered a golden opportunity on 65 minutes, heading over from eight-yards from another Buzsaky cross, as the Pilgrims slowly but surely took control.

Rangers' best opportunities arrived on the counter attack and when Oliseh found Nygaard on the right wing, his piercing drive forced McCormick into a fine parry at his near post.

At the other end, Stewart produced another sensational block to deny Hayles from a tight angle, as both sides went in search of a winner.

Both manager's made a series of late substitutions in an attempt to breathe new life into their respective outfits, but the all-important third goal remained elusive, despite Jones forcing McCormick into a simple save with a deft header in the fifth and final minute of stoppage time.

Plymouth Argyle: McCormick, Nalis, Aljofree, Norris, Buzsaky (Chadwick 75), Ebanks-Blake (Reid 76), Hayles, Kouo-Doumbe, Wotton, Hodges, Connolly.

QPR: P Jones, Rose, Rehman, Stewart, Milanese, Oliseh, Ward, Bircham (Lomas 76), Cook, Nygaard (Gallen 95), Blackstock (R Jones 88).

Plymouth Official Site

Argyle 1 Queens Park Rangers 1

TWO strikers representing Argyle's past and its future ensured honours finished even between Ian Holloway's current club and his previous one.

Holloway saw his side fail to win a fourth successive home game under his management after former Pilgrim Dexter Blackstock had returned to haunt the club he played for on loan from Southampton two seasons ago by giving Rangers a 16th-minute lead.

Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Holloway's £200,000 summer buy from Manchester United, equalized within 15 minutes, but although Argyle bossed proceedings thereafter, they could not find what would have inarguably been a deserved winner.

Argyle tore into Rangers for the remaining hour of the game, with Ebanks-Blake, Hayles and Akos Buzsaky their chief tormentors, and created any number of potential decent chances.

However, to their credit, Rangers clung on to the point, even it was fingertip stuff at times.

Holloway had made two changes to the side that had drawn 1-1 at Stoke last time out to maintain the Pilgrims' unbeaten start away from home.

Tony Capaldi was dropped from the left side, allowing Buzsaky to make a seasonal full debut on the opposite wing to which he was almost exclusively employed by previous manager Tony Pulis.

The rare benching ended a rollercoaster week on a miserable note for the Northern Ireland international who had equaled an 80-year-old club record the previous Saturday by joining Moses Russell as the club's most capped international.

However, after winning his 20th cap in a 3-0 home defeat by Iceland, Capaldi was discarded by manager Lawrie Sanchez, missing out on even a place on the substitutes' bench for Wednesday's historic victory over Spain.

The other change was less of a surprise, with Ebanks-Blake drafted in as Sir Barrington's partner up front, swapping places with Nick Chadwick as he has done in or before every game this season.

Holloway's successor as Rangers' manager, Gary Waddock, made three changes to the starting line-up that had capitulated 3-1 at home to Ipswich in their last game before the international break, though none to the defence.

Off to the bench went long-serving midfielders Kevin Gallen and Steve Lomas, along with young striker Ray Jones.

Marc Bircham, now bereft of that questionable blue and off-white quiff he used to sport, came into the middle of the middle, with youngster Egutu Oliseh making his first-team debut on the right wing.

Great Dane Marc Nygaard came back from injury in place of Jones to partner Blackstock in attack - Blackstock, who spent several successful months at Home Park at the end of the 200-4-05 season, having joined Rangers in the summer.

The two sides spent a circumspect opening quarter of an hour testing each other's mettle without either goalkeeper being called into action.

The nearest either side came to breaking the deadlock was a strong near-post header from Hayles from Buzsaky's right-wing corner that flashed past Rangers' goalkeeper Paul Jones' post.

Almost immediately, Rangers responded with what was pretty well their first attack of the game, Lee Cook threading the ball through the Pilgrims' rearguard for Blackstock, who stretched to get a feather touch on the ball that was enough to deflect it home through the legs of hopelessly exposed goalkeeper Luke McCormick.

Blackstock's dart represented the first time Argyle had been behind in the first half of a game on their home turf since March, and they responded as positively as you would have hoped.

Buzsaky flopped a Wotton-range free-kick on to the top of Jones's net and Hayles exposed a perceived weakness on the left side of the Hoops' defence to drive a cross into the near post that was cleared amid some panic.

Given the head of steam, it was no real surprise when Argyle leveled. Like Rangers' opener, the chance came from a wonderful through-pass - this time from right-back Paul Connolly - but the similarity ended there as Ebanks-Blake needed to show composure beyond his years and experience to beat Zesh Rehman and Jones, and then curl the ball home.

The goal completely changed the game, as goals tend to do. The confidence flowed into Argyle's game, while Rangers suddenly appeared to be jitteriness personified, with the back four all at sea.

No-one looked more ill at ease than Italian left-back Mauro Milanese, who did well to recover and thwart David Norris after his mistake had played in the Argyle midfielder.

That was not the only chance that Argyle created leading up to the break, with Hayles and Ebanks-Blake terrorising the Rangers' defence, the latter's rampaging down the right nearly setting up the former for a tap-in.

Argyle began the second period more or less where they had left off the first. Buzsaky, having now switched wings to pour more pressure on the head-banded Milanese, went close with a decent drive following a run that totally baffled his Italian marker.

The next attack saw Paul Wotton's determination win the ball from Matthew Rose and invite Lee Hodges to send in a curling cross that was only a few inches too high for Ebanks-Blake to apply a meaningful header.

The next wave saw Norris play in Ebanks-Blake for an apparently free run on goal, but the eager youngster's first touch was too heavy and Rehman got across to snuff out the threat.

Norris was then himself denied a rare Home Park goal when centre-back Damion Stewart timed a tackle from behind to perfection, before the Argyle midfielder set up Ebanks-Blake for another header that flew over the crossbar. If he had been six inches taller, he would have had a hat-trick.

The danger with having so many attacks and so much of the play is a susceptibility to the counter attack, and Argyle nearly paid the penalty for their forward thinking when Rangers worked the ball forward to Nygaard for the first shot that McCormick had to save.

Holloway threw on Chadwick and teenager Reuben Reid for the last 15 minutes, withdrawing Buzsaky and Ebanks-Blake, and Reid was soon in the thick of things, teeing up Hayles for a shot that Jones tipped round his post for a corner.

That, though, proved to be the Pilgrims' last clear chance as Rangers ran down the clock, and not even five minutes of added time could aid Argyle's endeavours.

Argyle (4-4-2): 23 Luke McCormick; 22 Paul Connolly, 13 Mathias Kouo-Doumbe, 6 Hasney Aljofree, 20 Lee Hodges; 7 David Norris, 15 Paul Wotton (capt), 4 Lilian Nalis, 8 Akos Buzsaky (11 Nick Chadwick 75); 9 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake (27 Reuben Reid 76), 10 Barry Hayles. Substitutes (not used): 14 Tony Capaldi, 18 Gary Sawyer, 29 Luke Summerfield.

Bookings: Aljofree 22.

Queens Park Rangers (4-4-2): 13 Paul Jones (gk); 7 Matthew Rose (capt), 25 Damion Stewart, 5 Zeshan Rehman, 3 Mauro Milanese; 28 Egutu Oliseh, 8 Marc Bircham (16 Steve Lomas 77), 9 Nick Ward, 17 Lee Cook; 32 Dexter Blackstock (31 Ray Jones 89), 30 Marc Nygaard (10 Kevin Gallen 90). Substitutes (not used): 12 Jake Cole (gk), 24 Patrick Kanyuka.

Bookings: Bircham 32, Stewart 42, Cook 65.

Referee: Andre Marriner (West midlands).

Attendance: 12,138 (940 away

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