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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

QPR's Run of Eight Consecutive Away Defeats Ends at Leeds!

QPR ended a run of eight consecutive away defeats with a draw at Leeds. Lee Camp made his debut. Simon Royce was not even on the bench. Table

QPR Official Site - Leeds 0 QPR 0.
Rangers ground out a deserved point with a dogged and determined display at Elland Road.

John Gregory's men bounced back from their Southend shame to clinch a profitable point at the home of their fellow relegation strugglers.

In an exciting, end-to-end affair, both sides created decent opportunities, with the hosts hitting the woodwork on two separate occasions, and Lee Cook forcing Casper Ankergen into a top-drawer save midway through the second half.

In a free-flowing first half, both sides created chances.

Dexter Blackstock went closest for the R's when he fired straight at Ankergen when faced one-on-one with the Leeds custodian, while danger-man Robbie Blake grazed a post with a sweetly struck free-kick for the hosts.

The second period followed a similar pattern, with Leeds hot-shot David Healy firing against the crossbar and Cook forcing Ankergen into a fabulous full-length save.

Eleven days on from the defeat to fellow strugglers Southend United, gaffer John Gregory handed Lee Camp his second Rangers debut.

The Derby County loanee replaced Simon Royce, who was left out of the Rangers squad altogether.

The rest of the side remained unchanged after the 5-0 loss to Southend United, while Leeds boss Dennis Wise was able to call upon fit-again Northern Ireland international David Healy.

Leeds enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, forcing two corner kicks in quick succession, as a partisan home crowd cheered their every move.

Rangers - backed by their own fanatical support in the South East corner - were the first to threaten though, with Lee Cook seeing his speculative effort from fully 35-yards blocked on route to goal.

The returning Healy fired the hosts' first warning shot in the seventh minute, dragging his 25-yard effort well wide.

Rangers should have been ahead on 13 minutes, but having done the hard part in picking the pockets of the Leeds centre halves, Blackstock fired straight at the onrushing Ankergen from 18-yards.

Buoyed by their reprieve, play soon switched to the other end, with Healy firing a yard or so wide after he met Alan Thompson's far post cross.

Leeds were on the front foot again five minutes later, with Camp forced into his first notable save since his return to W12, as he diverted Blake's venomous free-kick to safety.

After being put onto the back foot for a short period, Leeds were forced into their first change on 31 minutes, with former Celtic star Alan Thompson making way for Jonathan Howson.

Camp was enjoying an encouraging second debut in the Rangers goal, diving low to his left to smother Jonathan Douglas' 30-yard drive from a well worked Leeds corner on 34 minutes.

The Derby loanee came to Rangers' rescue again seven minutes before the break, pulling off a stunning right handed finger-tip save from Blake's downward header.

The R's were by no means second best though and when Martin Rowlands' cross-field pass was brought down superbly by Gareth Ainsworth on 41 minutes, only a desperate last-ditch tackle prevented the winger from getting his shot away.

Leeds finished the half on top though, with Blake firing against the outside of the post with a delightful 25-yard free-kick.

Camp's heroics continued at the start of the second period, sprinting from his line to save with his feet, after Healy evaded the last line of a static Rangers defensive unit.

Both sides were guilty of conceding niggling free-kicks on the resumption, although the whistle happy Mr Bates hardly helped the cause, blowing at every given opportunity.

The impressive Adam Bolder forced Ankergen to gather at the second attempt from 20-yards on the hour, before Healy struck the face of the crossbar with a stunning effort from a similar distance just 60 seconds later.

Both sets of supporters cranked up the decibels as the half wore on, with the 29,000-plus crowd at Elland Road making for an incredible atmosphere.

It was Rangers who drew confidence from the pumped up crowd though, with Cook's deflected right-footed curler bringing the best out of the inspired Ankergen.

And it was the away side who continued to pose the greater threat as the clock ticked down, with Blackstock's looping header from Bolder's marauding run and cross drifting over the bar.

Both sides went in search of the all-important winning goal, but it wasn't forthcoming, and it was Rangers who left Elland Road with their heads held high.

Leeds United: Ankergren, Douglas, Thompson (Howson 31), Healy, Lewis, Nicholls, Heath, Marques, Cresswell, Blake (Johnson 73), Sa (Foxe 76).

Subs: Stack, Moore.

Bookings: Douglas 58, Foxe 81

QPR: Camp,Cullip, Bolder, Ainsworth, Rowlands, Lomas, Cook, Stewart, Timoska, Blackstock, Mancienne.

Subs: Cole, Kanyuka, Furlong, Jones, Smith.

Bookings: Timoska 42, Camp 45, Blackstock 53, Cullip 71

Referee: A Bates

Attendance: 29, 593 QPR


John Gregory was full of praise for the R's, as they bounced back to form with a creditable 0-0 draw against rock-bottom Leeds United.

Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk moments after seeing his side hold Dennis Wise's side to a goalless draw, Gregory said: "To be honest I thought we deserved to perhaps nick it. I'm a bit disappointed to be leaving here with just a point.

"We got a bit of luck with the two efforts that hit the woodwork, but Lee Camp didn't have a shot to save in the second half.

"Dexter should have done better with his chance in the first half, and their keeper pulled off a stunning save to deny Cooky.''

Gregory continued: "They might be bottom of the league but this is still an incredibly tough place to come and get something from.

"We knew it was going to be a battle, but the lads rose to the challenge and showed great resilience after the defeat to Southend.

"We defended particularly well and our back four and goalkeeper were very solid as a unit.

"We believe that we can survive and tonight backs up my belief that we are a good footballing side.'' QPR


Leeds 0-0 QPR
Leeds were held to a frustrating draw by a dogged QPR side in front of their biggest crowd of the season.

Ticket prices were slashed for the potentially crucial game but Dennis Wise's side could not find the win that would have lifted them off the bottom.

Robbie Blake was Leeds' outstanding performer and he put a free-kick just wide while keeper Lee Camp did well to block David Healy.

QPR went close when Dexter Blackstock broke clear in the first half.

# Leeds manager Dennis Wise:
"We always want to create more chances and although we had a few shots, not enough were on target.

"The fans were great but this is a massive club and we need them. But I'm pleased with the way the lads performed and the amount of the chances that we had.

"The result is disappointing because we should have won this game and they'll be more pleased than us. But there's a long way to go yet and there's not much in it down there."

# QPR manager John Gregory:
"The point was no more than we deserved and I don't think our goalkeeper, Lee Camp, had a shot to save in the second half.

"When you come to Elland Road, against a Leeds side who beat Crystal Palace convincingly in their last game here, then you're up against a team which has everything going for them.

"But we've been licking our wounds for 10 days after the Southend game and we showed fantastic resilience. We believe that we can survive. We just need to show a bit more penetration up front."

Leeds: Ankergren, Armando Sa (Foxe 76), Rui Marques, Heath, Lewis, Blake (Johnson 72), Douglas, Thompson (Howson 32), Nicholls, Healy, Cresswell.
Subs Not Used: Stack, Moore.

Booked: Douglas, Foxe.

QPR: Camp, Mancienne, Cullip, Stewart, Ainsworth, Lomas, Bolder, Timoska, Rowlands, Blackstock, Cook.
Subs Not Used: Cole, Kanyuka, Furlong, Ray Jones, Smith.

Booked: Timoska, Camp, Blackstock, Cullip.

Att: 29,593 BBC


UNITED: Ankergen, Douglas, Thompson (Howson 32), Healy, Lewis, Nicholls, Heath, Marques, Cresswell, Blake (Johnson 73), Sa (Foxe 77). Subs: Stack, Moore.

QPR: Camp, Cullip, Bolder, Ainsworth, Rowlands, Lomas, Cook, Stewart, Timoska, Blackstock, Mancienne. Subs: Cole, Kanyuka, Furlong, Jones, Smith.

Referee: Tony Bates (Staffordshire)

United welcomed back experienced midfield man Alan Thompson in place of Ian Westlake, and strikers Richard Cresswell and David Healy were back in the starting line-up, in place of Ian Moore and Tresor Kandol. Rui Marques, who missed the second half of the 1-0 defeat at Cardiff with a head wound, following a collision with Jonathan Douglas, was fit to resume.

New loan signing Jemal Johnson, a 21-year-old striker who joined United from Wolves the previous day, was on the bench.

Rangers had won only once in their last five Championship matches but they were one place above the relegation zone and three points better off than bottom-placed United when the game kicked off.

A foul on Kevin Nicholls by Adam Bolder gave United a free kick 28 yards out. Thompson took it but chose to loft the ball forward for Heath, rather than have a crack at goal. Rangers cleared but, urged on by their biggest following of the season, United pushed forward again and won two corners in quick succession, but nothing came of either.

Healy tried his luck with a long range shot that was off target and shortly afterwards Douglas got away on a determined run but had his progess ended by a foul tackle. The resultant free-kick was cleared.

Rangers had a great opportunity to take the lead in the 14th minute when Heath slipped just outside the penalty area to let Dexter Blackstock in but Casper Ankergren came out quickly and brought off a great block just inside the area.

A Bolder foul on Blake brought United another free-kick and Blake took it, hitting the ball through Rangers' defensive 'wall'. It almost took keeper Lee Camp by surprise but he managed to get down to parry the ball, which rebounded to be cleared.

Just after the hour mark, Thompson, who had been under treatment for a calf injury, limped out of the game to be replaced by Jonny Howson.

When United won another corner, Blake played the ball back deep to the unmarked Douglas, who steadied himself for a shot from 30 yards which took a deflection. But Camp still managed to make the stop. Camp was again in action, this time bringing off a fine one-handed save when Healy flicked Blake's free kick towards the far post.

Two minutes from the break, Blake clipped the outside of a post with a curling free kick awarded after Timoska had been booked for bringing down Cresswell. Then keeper Camp was booked for timewasting.

Two minutes into the second half, Camp brought off a good block when Healy's lofted forward ball found Cresswell who fired an angled shot goalwards.

In a match that meant such a lot to both sides, there was understandably a tenseness about much of the play and chances were limited. United were having to do more defending this half as Rangers began to move the ball about with a greater sense of purpose. Ankergren was called on to make a save to a fierce low shot from Bolder and the United keeper needed two attempts to do so.

But United were inches away from taking the lead after 64 minutes when Healy unleashed shot from the right which struck the bar.

Twenty minutes from the end Ankergren brought of another good save, this time palming a shot from Cook wide after the ball had deflected off Nicholls.

With 18 minutes remaining, United replaced Blake with Johnson.

The official attendance was 29,593 - easily the biggest of the season, beating the previous best, for the visit of Sunderland back in September last year, by more than 6,000.

United mounted a late spell of pressure but Rangers pulled men back to defend their ranks and United had to settle for a draw. Leeds

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