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Sunday, November 05, 2006

Further Positive Match Reports of QPR's 4-2 Win over Crystal Palace

Sunday Times - QPR 4 Crystal Palace 2: Taylor loses the thread
Rob Maul at Loftus Road

Perhaps it is ridiculous to suggest, especially at this early stage of the season, that Crystal Palace are in crisis but there is no doubting that these are worrying times. No win in their past seven Championship matches, five of which have resulted in defeat, represents a significant slump in fortunes for their beleaguered manager Peter Taylor. To make matters even worse, in their first London derby of the season they meekly surrendered a winning position to an outstanding Queens Park Rangers team. With Palace ahead at half-time, their defence completely crumbled in the second half, conceding three times in the space of ten disastrous minutes. Taylor ultimately needed a better performance from his players; instead Palace lost for the third successive match to compound what has been a miserable start to the season.
“I cannot complain about the effort but we have to defend better as a team,” said Taylor. “Things are not working out. I’m surprised with our position. Of course I feel the pressure. I would like to be successful here.”
Having stepped down as England Under-21 coach last week for the forthcoming friendly in Holland — although he will coach at the European Under-21 Championship finals next summer — Taylor can now concentrate fully on the task of rescuing Palace’s season. He should start by looking at the defence.
That said, the four changes he made to his starting line-up appeared to work, at least in the first half, when his side took the lead after a period of Rangers dominance. It began when Palace broke down the left wing through Jobi McAnuff, whose teasing cross was misread by Zesh Rehman, and Tom Soares came in to the convert past Simon Royce.
Palace’s defence could do little about Rangers’ equaliser, which was a moment of rare genius from Jimmy Smith, on loan from Chelsea. Smith controlled a pass from Kevin Gallen with his chest and then looped a wonderful volley over the Palace goalkeeper Scott Flinders.
A positive response from Palace duly arrived two minutes before the interval. Mark Kennedy’s searching corner was met powerfully by Leon Cort. Inexcusably, the ball was not cleared by any Rangers player and Clinton Morrison, lurking at the back post, bundled the header in.
Not surprisingly given the quality of defending, the second half continued in the same vein, and Rangers equalised just before the hour mark. Lee Cook attempted a cross from the left with his less-favoured right foot and, after the ball was only half-cleared, the veteran Steve Lomas drilled his shot into the net.
Cook, clearly inspired, then took on the full-back Danny Butterfield again, brilliantly turning him on the edge of the penalty area. Butterfield could do little but cling on to Cook’s shirt as he tumbled to the ground.
Referee Phil Dowd did not give Butterfield a second yellow card for his troubles, although Gallen’s penalty was enough damage.
Just to annoy Taylor and his watching chairman Simon Jordan even further, Smith added the fourth when he touched Cook’s corner into the goal from a yard. “A good team performance,” said the Rangers manager John Gregory. “I am very aware of the need to tighten up at the back. Once our defence is straightened out, we like to think we can move up this division.”
Star Man: Lee Cook (QPR)
Player Ratings: QPR: Royce 7, Mancienne 6, Rehman 5, Stewart 6, Bignot 6, Ainsworth 6, Smith 8 (Ward 90min, 6), Lomas 7, Cook 8, Blackstock 8, Gallen 8 (Nygaard 80min, 6)
Crystal Palace: Flinders 5, Butterfield 4 (Freedman 69min, 6), Cort 5, Ward 7, Granville 5, Soares 7, Lawrence 5, Kennedy 6, McAnuff 6 (Hughes 81min, 5), Kuqi 4, Morrison 6
Scorers: QPR: Smith 34, 69, Lomas 59, Gallen 66 pen
Crystal Palace: Soares 30, Morrison 43
Referee: P Dowd
Attendance: 13,989
Sunday Times

INDEPENDENT - QPR 4 Crystal Palace 2: Cook raises the heat on Taylor
Winger's wizardry adds to the travails of Palace manager
By Toby Skinner at Loftus Road Published: 05 November 2006
The Crystal Palace chairman, Simon Jordan, is not a man with a reputation for clemency towards under-performing managers, but the latest, Peter Taylor, was left relying on that quality after a devastating second-half performance from Queen's Park Rangers left his side 20th in the Championship.
Palace started the season as hot tips for promotion, but a fifth defeat in six games has left Taylor needing a spectacular turnaround to avoid becoming the sixth manager to be sacked during Jordan's five years at the club.
"Simon Jordan has been absolutely outstanding," said Taylor. "He's been a very supportive chairman, and I'm embarrassed for him at the results we've been having. You're always under pressure. I'd like to be very successful here, but at the minute it's not working out and we need to change things."
Palace were 2-1 up at the interval after goals from Tom Soares and Clinton Morrison had cancelled out Jimmy Smith's strike, but imploded in the second half, when QPR winger Lee Cook had a hand in three unanswered goals from Smith, Steve Lomas and Kevin Gallen.
"We were poor defensively again today," said the former Hull City manager, whose team also threw away a 2-1 lead to lose 3-2 at Sheffield Wednesday last Tuesday. "We're getting in front and then throwing games away because of basic errors at the back."
Palace took the lead through Soares on half an hour, with a well-worked move that saw Jobi McAnuff sent clear to play a low ball for Soares to get in front of Zesh Rehman and knock the ball under goalkeeper Simon Royce from close range.
Four minutes later, QPR were level, following a ball from Gallen, when the 19-year-old Smith, the Chelsea loanee who extended his stay at Loftus Road by two months during the week, controlled the ball with his chest and sent a looped volley into the Palace net from 25 yards.
But the away side regained the lead on 42 minutes when Morrison bundled the ball home after Leon Cort had risen unmarked to head a Mark Kennedy corner towards goal.
After starting the second half more brightly, the home side got a deserved equaliser on 58 minutes when Steve Lomas fired home from 12 yards after an excellent cross from the elusive Lee Cook had been only half-cleared.
It was Cook who earned the penalty that allowed Gallen to send the Palace keeper, Scott Flinders, the wrong way for QPR's third goal after 64 minutes. The winger had already got Palace right-back Danny Butterfield booked for shirt-pulling and rounded him again, forcing a trip that deserved a red card.
Cook was Palace's tormentor again five minutes later, swinging in a corner for Smith to prod in his fourth goal in seven appearances at the far post.
"I know there's people looking at Cook," said John Gregory, QPR's manager. "He was excellent today and he'll be hard to hang on to."

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