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Saturday, November 04, 2006

QPR 4 Crystal Palace 2 - Reports & Comments

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John Gregory hailed the impact of two-goal hero Jimmy Smith and Steve Lomas after the memorable 4-2 victory against Palace.
Gregory had just seen his side claw back a 2-1 half-time deficit, to stun the out-of-sorts Eagles in a classic London derby.
"Each and every player was fantastic,'' he told www.qpr.co.uk.
"Jimmy is something else. He's earned the respect of his fellow team-mates and the fans and at his tender age, that is some achievement.
"We've managed to get him for a further two months, but I wish it was two years! Both him and Michael Mancienne have been a breath of fresh air and their commitment and class is shining through.
"Steve Lomas was inspirational. He was a huge doubt at lunchtime, but he had a fitness test and the commitment and passion he showed set the standards and he is a fantastic role model for every member of our squad.''
Gregory continued: "I predicted a win and we got it, so I'm chuffed to bits. It was a great game that ebbed and flowed from one end to the other.
"Offensively we were excellent. We will always score goals because of the personnel we have.
"At 2-1 at half-time our heads could have easily dropped, but you never say never in football and this group of players just keep going until the final whistle.
"The reaction at the end of the game said everything - the players deserved that standing ovation.''

alace boss Peter Taylor saw his side take the lead twice at Loftus Road but still end up on the losing side against Queens Park Rangers on Saturday.
For the second successive game, the Eagles have lost a lead twice and gone on to lose the game and Taylor felt if his team could have got a third goal, it may have killed the game off in their favour.
"I thought we scored a couple of very good goals and they scored a good goal, but when it is 2-1 to us at half time, we needed that third goal," he said.
"We had some good opportunities to get that goal, but we didn't put it away.
"Even when it was 3-2 and 4-2, we could still have gone and scored a goal.
"For the last two games we've had the lead, but we've got to earn that chance to keep a clean sheet or not to concede.
"The players worked their socks off and I've no complaints with the way they worked but we've got to improve in our defending and do much better as a team.
"On the ball today, I was happier with them but our defending was poor.
"Cook played exceptionally well for them in the second half and caused us problems, but we've got to be much better than that."
The result saw Palace slip to 20th place in the Championship and Taylor knows that his side can and will improve on that.
"With the group of players that we've got, we should be doing better but it shows the strength of the Championship and we've got to be better than what we were," he added.
Crystal Palace

Rangers gained bragging rights on Derby day, thanks to an inspired ten minute purple patch at the start of the second half.
Jimmy Smith will inevitably grab the plaudits in the wake of his stunning first half volley - but in truth - every Rangers player played their part in what can only be described as a scintillating second half display.

Trailing 2-1 at the break, skipper Steve Lomas put the R's on terms on 65 minutes with his first goal since October 2004, before Kevin Gallen sparked jubilant scenes with a sublime finish from the penalty spot three minutes later.

And the comeback was complete on 68 minutes, as Smith put the result beyond any doubt to lift Rangers further clear of the dreaded drop zone.

Rangers went in 2-1 down at the break, despite yet another wonder-goal from Smith.

The Chelsea loanee put the R's on terms with a stunning 32nd minute volley, after Tom Soares had given Palace the lead two minutes earlier with a close range strike.

But the Eagles soared into the break with a one goal advantage, when Clinton Morrison poached the ball home from two yards after Leon Cort's powerful header.

John Gregory named an unchanged side and Rangers made a positive start, with Gareth Ainsworth shooting wide with a speculative 35-yard volley inside the opening three minutes.

The R's continued to pepper the Eagles' box, but it was Palace who created the next opportunity on seven minutes, with Soares firing over from 18-yards after a neat one-two with Shefki Kuqi.

Buoyed by that chance, Palace continued on the front foot and when McAnuff cut in from the left flank, Simon Royce was down well to save at his near post.

Play soon switched to the other end, with Dexter Blackstock thwarted twice in his efforts, while Steve Lomas' powerful drive was blocked on route to goal.

Blackstock was causing the Palace defence all sorts of problems and when Kevin Gallen pulled the ball back from an acute angle, only a fine save by Scott Flinders denied the former Southampton man his sixth goal of the campaign.

Derbies are often tetchy affairs early on, but this was anything but, with Lee Cook forcing Flinders in to yet another smart save - albeit at the second attempt - after the winger cut in from the left hand side of the R's midfield.

Undeterred, it was Palace who took the lead on the half hour, when Soares arrived bang on cue to slot home from the edge of the six-yard box.

But Rangers weren't about to lie down and settle for second best and it was all square two minutes later - courtesy of another Smith stunner!

There appeared to be little danger when the ball arrived at his feet 25-yards from goal, but the England Under-18 international enhanced his already glowing reputation with yet another wonder-goal.

Gallen cushioned the ball neatly into his path and the teenager let fly, smashing home an unstoppable looping volley that gave Flinders absolutely no chance.

Joy soon turned to despair on the stroke of half-time though, when Cort's nod down was bundled over the line by danger-man Morrison to hand the Eagles an unlikely half time advantage.

Despite the untimely blow at the end of the first half, Rangers started the second half in determined fashion, with Cook poking a left foot strike inches wide from 18-yards after a neat interchange with Blackstock.

The R's had vocal appeals for a spot-kick turned down on 50 minutes, when Ainsworth went to ground under Danny Butterfield's challenge.

Kuqi squandered a glorious opportunity to put the result to bed a minute later, shooting straight at Royce when faced one-on-one with the R's custodian.

It was a miss that would come back to haunt the former Blackburn striker just 60 seconds later.

Lomas was the unlikely beneficiary, smashing home a powerful strike from eight yards, for his first goal for the Club.

The end to end antics action continued and Rangers had Royce to thank a minute later, when he thwarted the roaming McAnuff from 12-yards.

Marcus Bignot was next to get in on the act, firing wide from fully 30-yards - as both sides continued to create chances in an entertaining affair.

The comeback appeared to be complete on 65 minutes, when Gallen sent Flinders the wrong way from the spot, after another piece of magic wide play from the outstanding Cook.

The Rangers winger left three his wake on route to the box, only for Butterfield to bring him crashing to ground.

Having already been booked, the Palace defender was lucky to escape a second booking - but that was soon forgotten three minutes later.

Cook's perfectly flighted corner was flicked on by Gallen and Smith bundled the ball home from six-yards.

The celebrations told their own story, as Smith raced to the corner flag and - a la Mourinho -skidded on his knees in front of the R's faithful in the Loft.

Chants of 'Oh Jimmy Jimmy' soon followed from the Loft End, but Rangers continued to gift Palace opportunities, with Morrison squandering a golden chance when he fired straight at Royce from 12-yards.
As the clock ticked down, Blackstock went close to bagging the goal his classy display undoubtedly deserved, only to be denied by Flinders from 15-yards.
QPR: Royce, Bignot, Rehman, Gallen (Nygaard 81), Ainsworth, Lomas, Cook, Stewart, Blackstock, Smith (Ward 91), Mancienne.
Subs: P Jones, Milanese, Rose.
Scorers: Smith 32, Lomas 58, Gallen (p) 65, Smith 68
Bookings: Lomas 25
Crystal Palace: Flinders, Lawrence, Granville, Ward, Cort, McAnuff (Hughes 81), Morrison, Kennedy, Soares, Butterfield (Freedman 69), Kuqi.
Subs: Kiraly, Fletcher, Green.
Scorers: Soares 30, Morrison 42
Bookings: Butterfield 48
Attendance: 13, 989
Referee: P Dowd

Palace were again disappointed to be on the wrong end of a Championship result, as they lost a half time lead to fall by 4-2 against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

The Eagles were in front in the game twice in the first half, only to see their hosts fight back and eventually seal all three points with what was a comfortable lead in the end.

After a similar scenario at Hillsborough on Tuesday night, it was again disappointing for Palace with some soft defending leading to Rangers' goals.

Peter Taylor again made four changes, with Jobi McAnuff, Danny Granville, Darren Ward and Mark Kennedy all restored to the starting line-up in place of Ben Watson, Marco Reich, Carl Fletcher and Gary Borrowdale.

Palace's best chance in the early stages fell to McAnuff, when he cut inside from the left and fired a low shot at goal. Unfortunately, Simon Royce saw it all the way and made a good save.

Rangers were looking lively though and Ward almost put through his own net under pressure, following a low cross from Kevin Gallen. Scott Flinders reacted well though and made a sharp stop on the line.

Flinders was called into action again in the 21st minute, when Lee Cook made a darting run inside from the left before hitting a low shot at goal. The Palace keeper spilled his first save but quickly pounced to claim it and ensure things remained level.

Tom Soares saw a header saved just before the half hour mark, following a long throw from Danny Butterfield and a flick-on by Shefki Kuqi, but his header was directed straight at Royce.

Soares didn't have to wait long though because on 30 minutes he opened the scoring with his second goal in successive games. McAnuff created it after latching onto a pass from Granville down the left and when he rolled an inviting cross into the middle, Soares was there to finish it off from close range.

The lead didn't last for long though and just three minutes later Rangers drew level in spectacular style, as midfielder Jimmy Smith was set up on the edge of the box and he made no mistake as he sent a volley over Flinders and into the net.

It was Palace who edged ahead on the stroke of half time though, when Kuqi won a corner for his side. Kennedy placed his flag kick onto the head of Leon Cort and his powerful header was blocked on the line only for Clinton Morrison to pounce and knock the ball home.

Flinders had to make a great one handed save to keep Palace ahead almost immediately afterwards though, when Smith turned a left footed shot at goal from 12 yards to keep a Palace lead in tact at half time for the first time this season.

Rangers came out for the second half and went straight at the Eagles. Some neat link-up play in and around the penalty box and ended up with Cook's half volley going narrowly wide of the post.

It was Kuqi who should have netted next though, when Soares floated a ball over the top of the defence for the Finn. He tried to lob Royce, but didn't get enough weight behind his left footed effort and the Rs keeper made a simple catch.

Palace were made to pay and in the 58th minute Rangers found another leveller. Cook floated a cross into the area from the left and when it was half cleared, Steve Lomas was there to scramble home a low shot with Palace again failing to clear the second ball.

The Eagles didn't give up though and were straight back on the attack from the re-start. McAnuff beat Michael Mancienne on the flank and placed a low shot at goal. Royce made a save and Morrison was sniffing around for a loose ball, but Damion Stewart got there first to clear the danger.

McAnuff then appeared to be dragged down in the box by Mancienne, but the referee ruled out a penalty straight away.

It was Rangers who took the lead after 65 minutes though, when Butterfield dragged down Cook in the area for a penalty. Gallen stepped up to send Flinders the wrong way and give the home side the lead for the first time in the game.

Butterfield could also consider himself fortunate to stay on the pitch, as having already been booked, the referee opted not to caution him for a second time.

It wasn't to matter though, as Rangers added another after 68 minutes when Cook's corner caused allsorts of problems. When Flinders didn't claim it, Smith was on the spot to scramble home from close range.

Morrison had a good chance to bring Palace back into it after 74 minutes, when Kuqi and substitute Dougie Freedman combined to set him up but his side footer was well saved by Royce.

Dexter Blackstock could have made it five, when he was given too much space but his angled shot was straight at Flinders and that was how the scores remained on another disappointing day for the Eagles.

BBC REPORT -QPR 4-2 Crystal Palace
Jimmy Smith helped pile more misery on Crystal Palace boss Peter Taylor with a superb double as QPR came from behind to sink the sorry Eagles.
Palace went ahead when Tom Soares tapped in but on-loan midfielder Smith fired a spectacular equaliser.
Clinton Morrison put Palace back in front after Leon Cort's knock down.
But Steve Lomas drilled in his first for Rangers, Kevin Gallen scored from the spot after Danny Butterfield fouled Lee Cook and Smith swept in his second.
,strong>QPR manager John Gregory on Jimmy Smith:
"It's a privilege to have him here. He gets in first every day for training and on his home debut he turned up at 11.20am.
"But he sets the tone in training which is amazing for one so young.
"He's improved our attitude by the way he trains. We have to send him in sometimes and say 'you've had enough'."

Crystal Palace manager Peter Taylor on chairman Simon Jordan:
"Simon is a very supportive chairman and I'm embarrassed for him. I want a better team for him.
"We're not showing it at the moment but he's been first class. There's always pressure, you put pressure on yourself.
"It's not working out as nicely as I thought it would when I came here. I'm surprised at the position we're in."
BBCBooked: Butterfield.

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