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Tuesday, November 28, 2006

QPR Go Down at Home to Sunderland - Reports & Comments

QPR 1 Sunderland 2
QPR now have 24 points from 20 games (3 wins out of the 11 games which have been played at home "Loftus Road is our Cave"). That's 5 pointsahead of 3rd from bottom Leeds.
League Table

QPR's Team tonight: Royce, Bignot, Rehman, Ward, Gallen, Rowlands, Cook, Stewart, Blackstock, Smith, Mancienne. Subs: Cole, Bailey, Furlong, Nygaard, Jones.

John Gregory's Comments - NO HOME COMFORT - QPR Official Site
A 2-1 defeat at the hands of Sunderland left John Gregory bemoaning his sides form at Loftus Road.
First half goals from Daryl Murphy and Grant Leadbitter put Sunderland in the driving seat and although Ray Jones provided hope late on, Sunderland - in the words of Gregory - were 'good value' for their win.
"Sunderland gave us a footballing lesson for the first 45 minutes. I thought both their goals looked dubious in real time but I've looked at the video and I've got no complaints whatsoever.
"The performance was similar to Saturday and it wasn't good enough. There was plenty of passion and endeavour, but Sunderland largely outplayed us and kept the ball fantastically well.''
Gregory added: "We've climbed mountains in the last three away games, but the players seem to have a different mentality when we come back to the Bush.''
Gregory was also left to bemoan the crucial offside decision which resulted in Dexter Blackstock's header being chalked off 60 seconds after the Black Cats opened the scoring.
"Sometimes they go for you, other times they don't and it wasn't our night,'' he said.
"On another night the decision goes our way, but I've got no complaints whatsoever with the final score.''

A late salvo from the R's proved in vain, as Sunderland clinched a 2-1 victory at Loftus Road.
Trailing 2-0 at the break, substitute Ray Jones gave Rangers hope with just over a quarter of an hour to play, but the R's came up just short, against a Sunderland side surely destined for the play-off's.

A controversial Daryl Murphy goal and a stoppage time second from Grant Leadbitter put Sunderland in control at the break.
Murphy appeared to be yards offside when he headed home Ross Wallace's speculative shot from inside the six-yard box on 17 minutes, yet despite vocal appeals from players and fans alike, the Irishman's goal stood - and rightly so after assessing the TV replays.
Dexter Blackstock had a goal chalked out for offside a minute later, when TV replays later showed he was in line with the last Sunderland defender.
Yet in truth Sunderland were good value for their lead and when Leadbitter made it two on the stroke of half time, Rangers could have few complaints.
The R's created chances of their own, with the returning Kevin Gallen going closest when he headed inches wide on 34 minutes, but Sunderland were by far the better side, with Graham Kavanagh orchestrating proceedings from the middle of the park.
Rangers improved after the break and when Jones fired home Nicky Ward's extraordinary reverse pass, the home faithful sensed yet another comeback as on the cards.
But it wasn't to be for the hosts - despite the late introduction of fans favourite Paul Furlong and a last gasp Nicky Ward drive.
R's gaffer John Gregory was boosted by the news that Dexter Blackstock's cheek injury wasn't as bad as first feared - and the former Southampton man partnered Gallen in attack.
Martin Rowlands also returned to the R's starting XI, at the expense of Stefan Bailey, while the back four remain unchanged.
Sunderland started brightly, with Murphy seeing his snap shot blocked to safety inside the opening five minutes.
It really was all one-way traffic and when Leadbitter escaped the attentions of his marker to coast clean through on goal just 60 seconds later, Rangers were indebted to Simon Royce for keeping them on terms, as the keeper's outstretched leg diverted the ball wide.
Rangers were soon on the front foot themselves though, with Nicky Ward's half volley forcing Darren Ward into a fine save, after the ball had taken a heavy deflection on route to goal.
The R's were all at sea at the back, but thankfully for the hosts, Murphy appeared to have left his shooting boots in the North East.
After evading the last line of the Rangers defence with ease in the tenth minute, the Sunderland front-man's lob landed the wrong side of the post, despite premature celebrations from the Black Cats faithful at the School End.
Undeterred, that man Murphy made amends on 17 minutes, although it was not without controversy.
There appeared to be little danger when Wallace slammed the ball back into the danger zone from a half cleared corner, only for Murphy to pop up and head past Royce at the far post. It looked to all and sundry like the Mackems striker was in an offside position, but the goal - albeit after referee Uriah Rennie gave his assistant a long, hard glare - stood.
And as if to rub salt into the Rangers wounds 60 seconds later, the assistant at the other end raised his flag to rule out Blackstock's glancing header from a Cook free-kick.
Blackstock went close again on 27 minutes, firing over after a neat exchange with strike partner Gallen, but it was Sunderland who continued to dominate, with Republic of Ireland international Kavanagh pulling the strings from middle of the park.

Rangers fans were on their feet on 34 minutes, but Gallen's downward header from a Jimmy Smith corner fell agonisingly wide of Ward's near post.
It was Sunderland who finished the half in the ascendancy though, with Murphy forcing Royce into another full length save, this time with a dipping 20-yard volley.
Royce stood no chance 30 seconds later though, as the roaming Leadbitter coasted through unmarked, rounded the advancing Royce and rolled the ball into an empty net.
Cook - clearly feeling the effects of a bruising 90 minutes against Coventry on Saturday - made way for Ray Jones at half-time, with Gallen dropping into midfield.
Sunderland boss Roy Keane made a change of his own ten minutes later, with Liam Miller making way for former Wigan Athletic striker David Connolly.
In a carbon copy run to the one which led to his goal in the first half stoppage time, Leadbitter coasted through the R's defence again on 61 minutes, but this time the finish was lacking, as his half volley flew wide of Royce's left hand post.

Michael Mancienne attempted to spark Rangers into life 20 minutes from time, but he got his shot horribly wrong, firing into the upper tier of the Loft from fully 30-yards.

Undeterred, the lifeline Rangers craved arrived on 73 minutes and it was that man Jones who enhanced his reputation as the Championship's super-sub with a stunning finish.

A free-flowing passing move involving Rowlands, Gallen and Marcus Bignot culminated in a unbelievable reverse pass from Ward, which the R's teenager took in his stride before cooly firing home on the turn from 12-yards.

Sensing the R's could get something from the contest, Gregory introduced fans favourite Furlong late on, with the hardworking Blackstock making way.

Sunderland should have put the result beyond all doubt a minute later though, only for the unmarked Wallace to screw his shot wide with the goal gaping.

Bignot fired a left footed strike high and wide in the first added minute, before Wallace squandered yet another golden opportunity at the other end.

Rangers kept plugging away as the close ticked down, yet despite a spell of late pressure, Sunderland could and should have made it three, only for Connolly to fire onto the base of the post with Royce well beaten.

There was still time for Ward to bag a point for the R's in the dying stages, but Ward held on to his fizzing drive, as Roy Keane's men deservedly stretched their unbeaten run to four Championship matches.
QPR: Royce, Bignot, Rehman, Ward, Gallen, Rowlands, Cook (Jones 46), Stewart, Blackstock (Furlong 81), Smith, Mancienne.
Subs: Cole, Bailey, Nygaard.
Goals: Jones 73
Bookings: Jones 86
Sunderland: Ward, Caldwell, S Elliott, Murphy, Nosworthy, Collins, Leadbitter (Whitehead 62), Varga, Kavanagh, Wallace, Miller (Connolly 56).
Subs: Fulop, Hysen, R Elliott.
Goals: Murphy 17, Leadbitter 45
Bookings: Wallace 18
Referee: U Rennie
Attendance: 13, 108

Sunderland Minute by Minute

SPORTING LIFE QPR 1 Sunderland 2 By Andy Sims, PA Sport
Daryl Murphy and Grant Leadbitter fired Sunderland to a deserved win over QPR as Roy Keane's side continued their steady rise up the Coca-Cola Championship table.
Murphy struck from close range after 17 minutes for his first goal in 13 appearances and Leadbitter doubled the advantage during five minutes of first-half stoppage time with his second goal for the club.
Substitute Ray Jones pulled one back but the Black Cats, who were bottom when Keane took charge in August, stretched their unbeaten run to four games to leapfrog Rangers in the table.

Keane made four changes to the side which drew with Wolves, with Dwight Yorke perhaps wisely missing out on a reunion with Rangers boss John Gregory - who once admitted wanting to shoot him while the pair were at Aston Villa - through illness.

The visitors were quickly into their stride and should have gone ahead in the fifth minute when Leadbitter latched onto Murphy's flick-on, but Simon Royce was able to save his weak shot with an outstretched leg.

Murphy missed an even better chance after 12 minutes when put through by Stephen Elliott, the lone striker lobbing the advancing Royce only to see the ball drift the wrong side of the post.

He made amends five minutes later, however, when Rangers failed to deal with a corner and the ball fell to Leadbitter.

The midfielder's shot was careering wide until Murphy popped up to head past Royce, referee Uriah Rennie waving away appeals for offside as the Irishman celebrated his third goal of the season.

Dexter Blackstock immediately had the ball in the net at the other end but Rennie adjudged the striker to be offside when he headed Lee Cook's free-kick past Darren Ward.

Not for the first time Rennie found himself the centre of attention and he held the game up for a couple of minutes after two plastic bottles were hurled onto the pitch by disgruntled Rangers fans.

Blackstock fired over and Gallen headed Jimmy Smith's corner narrowly wide as Rangers rallied, but they found themselves two behind in stoppage time.

Royce had just pulled off a stunning save to deny Murphy from 15 yards when Leadbitter sprang the offside trap, waltzed around the goalkeeper and rolled the ball into an empty net.

Gregory threw on Jones at the break for Cook, who was struggling with a knock and looking a shadow of the player attracting Premiership interest.

But Sunderland were almost gifted a third when Royce threw the ball too far in front of himself as he went to clear and ended up having to win a 50-50 challenge with substitute David Connolly.

Jones pulled one back in the 74th minute, firing past Ward from inside a crowded area after being played in by Martin Rowlands.

But despite a first appearance of the season from veteran striker Paul Furlong off the bench, Rangers were unable to find an equaliser.

And Sunderland were only denied another by a miss of the season contender from Ross Wallace, who sliced wide from right in front of goal, while Connolly rattled a shot against the post in injury time.

Sporting Life

BBC QPR 1-2 Sunderland
Sunderland grabbed a deserved win at Loftus Road thanks to an impressive first-half display.
The visitors began brightly and Grant Leadbitter and Stephen Elliot missed good chances before Daryl Murphy headed home the opener from close range.

Kevin Gallen headed narrowly wide for QPR but Leadbitter made it 2-0 in first-half injury time when he rounded keeper Simon Royce and slotted in.
Substitute Ray Jones blasted QPR back into the game but Sunderland held on.

Sunderland boss Roy Keane:
"That was a long second-half. We played extremely well and should have killed the game off.
"You keep missing chances and you start to think it's going to be one of those nights. So we got away with it a bit.
"The players did well and they are giving it everything but we need one or two more bodies."

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