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Saturday, December 23, 2006

QPR Win!

QPR defeated Barnsley 1-0 with a first goal from Martin Rowlands. Even after today QPR remain two places out of the bottom three, but with a four point gap between QPR and Barnsley.
Bottom Six:
Luton 24-29
QPR 24-27
Barnsley 24-23
Hull 24-21
Leeds 24-21
Southend 24-16
TABLE[Note; at almost this time last season, we had 32 points from 24 games (and then lost the next two games.]

Caretaker manager Simon Davey gave his thoughts following today's defeat at QPR.
Simon said: "We are disappointed not to come away with something and we really should have got a point at least. We did well in the second half and got in behind them quite a bit but just did not have that killer touch.
"We did not capitalise on our chances.
"We knew it would be a tough game and it started at a high tempo. We did not weather the storm and conceded but the lads stuck at it and should have got something.
"Goals change games and we did not score".

QPR Official - QPR 1 Barnsley 0
The R's did their survival hopes the power of good with victory over fellow strugglers Barnsley at Loftus Road.
Martin Rowlands bagged the only goal of the game on 15 minutes, as Rangers returned to winning ways with a deserved 1-0 win.
And with Leeds United and Hull City sharing the spoils in the lunchtime kick-off, it was just about the perfect day for the Hoops, who climbed six points clear of the dreaded drop zone with their first win in six Championship outings.
Rowlands' goal - his sixth of the season - was the least Rangers deserved after dominating the first half.
The midfield maestro made the most of a splendid advantage from referee Mr Booth, cutting in from the right flank and firing a left foot shot under Nick Colgan.
Barnsley rarely threatened and it was a similar story in the second half, with Simon Royce a virtual spectator, despite both sides throwing men forward in search of the all-important second goal.
At the other end, Dexter Blackstock and Lee Cook both went close for the R's, but it was Rowlands' goal which seperated the two sides at full-time, to send Rangers into the festive break on a high.
John Gregory welcomed back Cook, Damion Stewart and Steve Lomas to the starting XI, but there was no place in the 16 for Kevin Gallen.
Zesh Rehman and Marc Bircham also made way for the returning trio, as Rangers returned to the tried and tested 4-4-2 formation.
Buoyed by the return of what Gregory described as his 'big-guns,' the R's were on the front foot from the first whistle, with Cook's in-swinging corner forcing Nick Colgan to punch clear from under his own crossbar in the second minute.
The pressure was relentless and when Ray Jones and Dexter Blackstock combined four minutes later, only a stunning save from Colgan prevented the former's stinging shot from nestling in the back of the net.
The one-way traffic continued and when Jimmy Smith fed Blackstock, his pass found Rowlands, who took one touch to set before firing a fearsome right foot shot on target.
Colgan dived low to his right and with Jones ready to pounce, the Barnsley stopper just managed to divert the ball to safety.
Rowlands lets fly to put Rangers in front
The breakthrough the R's fast start fully deserved arrived on 14 minutes, courtesy of Rowlands.
After seeing Jones blatantly bundled to ground in the build up to the goal, referee Mr Booth allowed play to continue and Rowlands took full advantage, firing a left foot shot into the bottom corner from 16-yards.
Colgan appeared to be perfectly positioned to save the midfielder's weak shot, but the ball somehow squirmed through his grasp and rolled over the line, to the obvious delight of the home faithful.
Cook was enjoying the freedom of the left flank and when he cut inside midway through the half, only a poor finish let him down.
Simon Royce had to be at his agile best to punch clear a couple of testing set-pieces, before Leon Knight forced Stewart to clear the ball off his own line, after the diminuitive striker escaped the offside trap on the half hour.
Barnsley grew in stature as the half wore on, with Paul Hayes forcing Royce to smother the ball on the line, after his shot was deflected on target by Michael Mancienne.
The Tykes were dealt a heavy blow just before the break, when Brian Howard was stretchered off with a suspected dislocated shoulder after a clash with Jones.
Kyle Reid entered the fray, yet despite three minutes of added time at the end of the half, Barnsley failed to test Royce, as Rangers led at the break courtesy of Rowlands' early strike.
Frank Arnesen was an interested spectator
Rangers began the second half on the front foot, with Blackstock's flick-on from Milanese's long throw only just evading the onrushing Jones.

The otherwise quiet Daniel Nardiello squandered a glorious opportunity for the visitors on 53 minutes, shooting tamely at Royce after another fine through ball from the impressive Sam Togwell.

Blackstock fired wide two minutes later, as the game became really stretched, with both sides going gung-ho in search of the all-important second goal of the contest.
Cook continued to be the thorn in the visitor's side, but after he latched on to a poor clearance from Colgan, three Barnsley defenders prevented him from getting his shot away.
Quite how Rangers failed to find that second goal on the hour mark will remain a mystery for some time to come.
Cook's piercing free-kick was perfectly struck, but the unmarked Smith somehow failed to apply the crucial touch, which would've surely resulted in a second R's goal.
The outstanding Cook turned provider again a minute later, this time feeding Blackstock, whose fearsome left foot drive was superbly tipped round by Colgan.
Barnsley - to their credit - continued to throw men forward, but it was Rangers who went closest late on, with Cook blasting inches wide and Blackstock forcing Colgan into yet another stunning save in the dying moments.
QPR: Royce, Bignot, Milanese (Rehman 67), Rowlands, Lomas, Cook, Stewart, Jones (Furlong 79), Blackstock, Smith (Bircham 70), Mancienne.
Subs: Cole, Baidoo.
Scorers: Rowlands 15
Bookings: Rowlands 23, Jones 38, Smith 68
Red Cards:
Barnsley: Colgan, Hassell, Reid, Togwell, Hayes (Devaney 72), Knight (Richards 72), Howard (Reid 40), Austin, Kay, Nardiello, McCann.
Subs: Letheran, Heckingbottom.
Attendance: 11,307 QPR Official

A HOWLER by Nick Colgan handed QPR three vital points at Loftus Road as Barnsley's away day blues continued in London.
Reds caretaker manager Simon Davey made two changes to the side that lost at Leicester City last time out with Grant McCann and fit-again defender Antony Kay coming in at the expense of Kyel Reid and Paul Heckingbottom. Skipper Paul Reid made a remarkable recovery from his ankle injury to keep his place in the starting eleven.

Barnsley were looking to pile more misery on a QPR team who had lost their last five matches without scoring in four of them. However, the Reds have a woeful record at Loftus Road, a ground where they have only ever won once and that was way back in January 1950.
Striker Leon Knight returned to Loftus Road after a loan spell with the Hoops back in 2001. The hitman, who was searching for his first goal for the Reds, was had his every touch booed by the Rangers faithful.
There was no place in the Rangers side for former Reds striker Kevin Gallen or former Oakwell Reds target Zesh Rehman, who had to be content with a spot on the bench.

Rangers started strongly with Dexter Blackstock testing Neil Austin with just two minutes on the clock as he raced towards the area but the Reds managed to clear the danger.

Nick Colgan had to be at his very, very best to keep the home side at bay on six minutes as he reacted quickly to brilliantly deny Ray Jones after the striker had fired in a shot from six yards out. Jones really should have done a lot better when he broke free onto Blackstock's flick in the area after the Reds defence went walkabout but Colgan's fantastic save kept the scores level.
QPR were quicker to the ball all over the park and another scramble in the Barnsley area on eleven minutes gave Martin Rowlands a great chance but the midfielder was denied again by Colgan's fine low save.
It took 12 minutes but finally the Reds sprang into life with Sam Togwell breaking well into the area before sending a fine cross past Simon Royce but the QPR defence managed to clear. The ball fell out to Daniel Nardiello on the edge of the box but the striker could only smash it back over the bar under pressure.
For all Colgan's brilliance in the opening stages it was hard on the keeper when he handed QPR the lead embarrassingly on 16 minutes. Rowlands cut in from the right before sending in a low shot that looked to be easy for the Reds' number one but to misjudged the shot and let it squirm through his hands and trickle over the line.
QPR came again on 22 minutes as Lee Cook tricked his way past Bobby Hassell and into a shooting position but his low shot was easily held by Colgan.
Colgan was a spectator a minute later as Rowlands let fly from 30 yards and the ball flew over the Reds keeper but dipped over the bar. Rowlands then blotted his fine first half with a yellow card a minute later after an over the top lunge on Brian Howard.
Rowlands game should have been over on the half hour when he lost the ball and then to a swing at Austin in full view of the referee and assistant, who amazingly decided not to take any action whatsoever.

Barnsley broke well down the other end a minute later and Knight finally got away behind the home defence but had his low shot kicked away off the line.

Nardiello's trickery opened a yard of space for the Reds on 38 minutes but the striker could not get his shot on target from 25 yards.
Another hefty challenge left Howard in a heap a minute later as he clashed with Jones on the half way line but this time the referee did brandish a card to the QPR striker. Jones' over the top challenge ended Howard's afternoon and could keep the influential midfielder out of the Christmas programme as the former Swindon star left the field of play on a stretcher.

The Reds had a massive let off with just 30 seconds on the clock after the restart when Mauro Milanese's long throw beat the Barnsley defence but thankfully did not fall for Jones or Blackstock in the six yard box.
Nardiello then did brilliantly at the other end to skin Damion Stewart all ends up on 50 minutes before racing into the area and pulling the ball back but the QPR defence managed to clear. Royce then caused his backline problems a minute later when he flapped at Kyel Reid's corner but no one is a red shirt could pounce as the ball bounced in the area.
Cook almost doubled the Hoops' advantage on 51 minutes as he raced through the middle of the park before crashing his shot high over the bar.

Hayes created a great chance for Nardiello on 52 minutes as he skipped away from a couple of challenged before threading the ball through to the striker but his weak shot trickled through to Royce. At the other end Blackstock fired wide on 53 minutes aftetr again finding space in front of the Barnsley defence.
Knight thought he had won a penalty for the Reds on 58 minutes as he was sent sprawling by Cook on the very edge of the area but the referee adjudged the foul to be outside the box.
Togwell then picked up his fifth yellow card of the campaign a minute later as he ended Rowlands' run. It could have been worse really as the QPR winger looked set to race in on goal. The booking rules Togwell out of next Saturday's massive South Yorkshire derby against Sheffield Wednesday giving the Reds a huge midfield headache.

A mistake by McCann gave Cook the chance to burst through on 62 minutes and, when the winger's run had been brought to a halt, the ball bounced kindly for Blackstock, who brought another fine stop from Colgan.

Jimmy Smith then entered the referees' book for another over-the-top challenge that left McCann in agony and sparked a mini melee on the half way line on 67 minutes. It was Smith's last action of the game as he was quickly replaced by Marc Bircham.

Another late challenge, this time by substitute Rehman, sent Austin crashing to the turf on 71 minutes but Nardiello could not get his free kick on target from 30 yards.
Barnsley's cause was not helped again by the official on 74 minutes as Marc Richards took a kick full in the face from Michael Mancienne but the referee waved play on even though the striker was prone on the pitch and required treatment.

Nardiello almost tricked his way through on 83 minutes as he beat the QPR defence and raced in on goal but Stewart managed to get back and block his shot.

A mistake by Kay almost gifted QPR a second on 86 minutes as his slip sent the ball spiralling into the air but Rowlands could not get his volley on target from six yards out. Cook then raced through a minute later and should have really ended the game as a contest but dragged his shot wide.

Barnsley's frustrating afternoon was summed up on 90 minutes as Kay sent a wild volley well, well wide of the target from 30 yards as the Reds ran out of ideas.
Blackstock could have made it two deep into stoppage time as he raced in before bringing another fine stop from Colgan.
QUEENS PARK RANGERS: Royce, Bignot, Milanese (Rehman 67), Rowlands, Lomas, Cook, Stewart, Jones (Furlong 79), Blackstock, Smith (Bircham 69), Mancienne.
Subs: Cole, Baidoo.
BARNSLEY: Colgan, Hassell, P. Reid, Togwell, Hayes (Devaney 72), Knight (Richards 72), Howard (K. Reid 39), Austin, Kay, Nardiello, McCann.
Subs: Letheren, Heckingbottom.

By Tom Collomosse, PA Sport

Martin Rowlands 15th-minute strike gave QPR a half-time lead against fellow strugglers Barnsley.
Both teams are fighting for survival in the Coca-Cola Championship, but Rowlands' strike - a 15-yard effort which Nick Colgan should have saved - handed Rangers the edge.
Barnsley rarely threatened in attack, but it took some excellent defending from the recalled Damion Stewart to deny Leon Knight an equaliser after 31 minutes.
Talented winger Lee Cook returned after injury for QPR as one of three changes to their starting line-up, with Stewart and Lomas also coming back.
For Barnsley, Antony Kay and Grant McCann were preferred to Paul Heckingbottom and on-loan Kyel Reid.
The sides began the match knowing they could pull further clear of the Coca-Cola Championship relegation zone with a win, following the 0-0 draw between Leeds and Hull earlier today.
Rangers should have taken the lead in the sixth minute when Dexter Blackstock worked the ball to strike partner Ray Jones, but the teenager - unmarked eight yards from goal - shot straight at Nick Colgan, who parried the effort.
Colgan made an even better stop five minutes later, pushing away an angled effort from Rowlands after Jimmy Smith and Blackstock had combined to set him up.
But the Barnsley goalkeeper undid that good work when he allowed Rangers to take the lead with a soft goal in the 15th minute.

Jones was fouled as he slipped the ball wide to Rowlands, but referee Russell Booth played an excellent advantage, allowing the Rangers winger to cut inside Neil Austin and hit a shot that Colgan allowed to squirm through his hands and into the net.

Earlier, Barnsley had come close to scoring when Marcus Bignot had to hack away Sam Togwell's low cross from well inside his six-yard box, but the Yorkshire club failed to test Rangers 'keeper Simon Royce during the early stages.
Rangers looked for the second, and both Rowlands and Cook wasted good shooting positions from outside the penalty area.
The recalled Stewart defended superbly to keep Rangers in front in the 32nd minute, first tackling Knight as he was about to shoot from 12 yards after being released by Daniel Nardiello, before recovering to clear the on-loan Swansea forward's goalbound follow-up effort seconds later.
Barnsley suffered shortly before half-time when Brian Howard was carried off following a challenge with Jones, for which the Rangers striker was booked.
The visitors sent on Kyel Reid in Howard's place.

Sporting Life


As expected, Lee Cook, Damion Stewart and Steve Lomas all return to the R's starting XI for the visit of fellow strugglers Barnsley to Loftus Road.
Cook - absent from the side since the 2-1 home defeat to Sunderland on November 28th - returns on the left hand side of midfield, while Stewart, who will wear a protective face mask, is back after a spell on the sidelines with a fractured cheekbone.
Lomas - after undergoing a minor knee operation - partners Jimmy Smith in midfield, which means there's no place for Marc Bircham.
In what appears to be a 4-4-2 formation, skipper Marcus Bignot lines up at right back, with Michael Mancienne, Stewart and Mauro Milanese completing the back four.

Cook and Martin Rowlands occupy the wide roles in midfield, while Dexter Blackstock partners Ray Jones in attack.
Kevin Gallen misses out altogether, while Zesh Rehman is named amongst the substitutes.
QPR: Royce, Bignot, Milanese, Rowlands, Lomas, Cook, Stewart, Jones, Blackstock, Smith, Mancienne.
Subs: Cole, Rehman, Bircham, Baidoo, Furlong.
Barnsley: Colgan, Hassell, Reid, Togwell, Hayes, Knight, Howard, Austin, Kay, Nardiello, McCann.
Subs: Letheran, Heckingbottom, Reid, Richards, Devaney. QPR Official

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