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Saturday, March 10, 2007

QPR Again Fail to Win: Draw 1-1 at Home to Sheffield Wednesday - Reports & Managerial Comments

QPR came from behind to draw 1-1 at home to Sheffield Wednesday. With 10 games left, QPR are just above the bottome 3 with 36 points. But it doesn't look too good for QPR with just three wins since Mid-November - and just one since their January 1 win. QPR's Results. League Table

QPR Official Site - John Gregory's Comments "COSTLY ERROR
John Gregory highlighted the one mistake that cost Rangers dear after the 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday.
Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk, the gaffer bemoaned the R's defending in the build-up to Chris Brunt's goal.

"We made one mistake,'' he said.

"Our centre-half wasn't alive from the throw-in and then another defender is asleep when their guy flicks the ball on. Today, it cost us.''

"The spirit, enthusiasm and endeavour was there for all to see today. We've got that in abundance and I'm still confident we'll pull clear of danger.''

Gregory couldn't fault the R's overall display though, commenting: "We dominated the game from start to finish and should have won by three or four goals.

"Our failure to put the ball in the back of the net has cost us this afternoon.

"We lacked the killer instinct and we'll look back on the chances we've created and know we should be going home tonight with three points.''

With Leeds United, Hull City and Southend United all winning, the scrap for survival seems destined to go the wire - but Gregory remains confident his side can beat the dreaded drop.

"There will be plenty of twists and turns before the end of the season. We'll roll up our sleeves and get on with it.''

"The spirit, enthusiasm and endeavour was there for all to see today. We've got that in abundance and I'm still confident we'll pull clear of danger.

"The run-in looks daunting on paper, but there are never any easy games in this division, so other sides are still in it with us.

"There will be plenty of twists and turns before the end of the season. We'll roll up our sleeves and get on with it.'' QPR Official

op Ten Aim For Laws

Brian LawsOwls manager Brian Laws admitted he was satisfied with a point from the 1-1 at QPR on Saturday, despite losing a one-goal lead.

"We settled for a point in the end but we came here to try and win the game. We knew it was going to be a tough game because QPR are fighting for their lives; they need the points," Laws said.

"I think we had to deal with something like 40 aerial balls into the box today and I felt we dealt with it quite well. Maybe that was their game plan, to put the ball into the box as quickly as possible to put us under pressure. It became a bit scrappy and there was not a lot of quality from either side until the later stages."

Centre backs, Richard Wood and Lee Bullen coped well with Rangers' aerial attack but Laws hoped that another late chance from Brunt could have given his side all three points.

"It would have been nice to have seen Chris Brunt, with a little bit of skill in the area, to have scored the winner but Lee Camp pulled out a great save," he said.

"All in all we have had to scrape out a point here but we'll take that. It's another step towards the target we are trying to hit and another point to keep us away from the bottom end.

"That belief is coming back and our target now is to finish in the top ten. It would be a great achievement for the football club, it would be satisfactory because it would be the best position Sheffield Wednesday have finished in for the last seven years. It is also a good starting point for next year."

While the equaliser came from what appeared to be a soft penalty, the Wednesday boss said his players did not feel to aggrieved by the decision.

"At first I thought it was very dubious but the players have been quite honest and said it was a penalty. The referee got two things right today in my opinion; the penalty and the booking for diving, the only two things he got right today." Sheffield Wednesday

QPR Official Site -Report
Martin Rowlands notched a priceless leveller from the spot, as the R's came from behind to pick up a point against The Owls.

Rangers orchestrated proceedings in the first half, only to be denied the goal their performance deserved by a series of top-drawer saves from Wednesday custodian Iain Turner.

Dexter Blackstock and debutant Inigo Idiakez each forced the Everton loanee into action, while at the other end, Lee Camp was a mere spectator.

The second half followed a similar pattern, only for Wednesday to grab the lead with their first effort of the match on 56 minutes.

Chris Brunt timed his late run into the box to perfection and smashed an unstoppable close range finish past Camp, after the R's had failed to deal with Frank Simek's long throw-in.

Undeterred, Rowlands set up a grandstand finish when he fired home from the spot, after second half substitute Marc Nygaard was sent tumbling to ground inside the box.

Yet despite a late flurry of half-chances for the R's in four minutes of added time, the all-important winner remained elusive.

John Gregory handed Idiakez his full debut, just 24 hours after the Southampton man put pen to paper on a one month loan deal.

Paul Furlong was recalled to partner Blackstock in attack, while the fit-again Marcus Bignot replaced Sampsa Timoska at left back.

Rangers made a promising start, forcing three corners inside the opening minute and a half.

Their fast start was almost rewarded in the fourth minute, when Cook - having capitalised on Simek's clumsy stumble - sent an enticing ball to the front post.

Blackstock was first to react on the edge of the six-yard box, only to be denied by a first class point-blank save from Turner.

The R's continued to create and on eight minutes, Bignot's in-swinging cross evaded the onrushing Blackstock by a matter of inches.

Quite how the R's weren't in front remained a mystery, when a minute later, Cook smashed a stunning 35-yard effort off the face of the bar, with Turner seemingly beaten all ends up.

The one-way traffic was relentless, with Blackstock forcing Turner to save on his line, after his header from Rowlands' cross forced the keeper to scramble across his line.

Idiakez was at the heart of the R's fruitful performance and when Cook was sent tumbling to ground by Steve Watson, the former Derby man wasted no time in showcasing his set-piece repertoire to the home faithful.

After a three step run-up, the 33- year-old sent a powerful, curling effort towards the far post, forcing Turner to tip the ball round for yet another Rangers corner.

The R's were on the front foot again moments later, with Furlong dragging his left footed strike inches wide of the right hand post.

The Owls were second best in every department and it was no surprise to see Rangers finish the half in the ascendancy, with Idiakez stinging the palms of Turner from another trademark 25-yard free-kick on the stroke of half-time.

Rangers picked up where they left off at the start of the second half, with Bignot's back post cross headed to safety by Tommy Spurr, with Furlong poised to pounce.

Undeterred, it was Wednesday who snatched the lead against the run of play in the 56th minute - with their first effort of the afternoon.

Simek's long throw-in from the right flank was flicked on by Marcus Tudgay, and Brunt arrived bang on cue to blast the ball past the exposed Camp from the edge of the six-yard box.

Rangers were dealt a further blow four minutes later, when Blackstock was forced from the fray and replaced by Marc Nygaard.

Sensing the R's required some urgency, Gregory introduced Gareth Ainsworth at the expense of Idiakez midway through the half.

His presence made an immediate effect, as Nygaard brought the best out of Turner yet again, saving at point-blank range from the Dane's impromptu shot on the turn.

Nygaard's impact was extraordinary and when he played a neat one-two with Furlong a minute later, Richard Wood pulled back the giant striker in the box and referee Mr Woolmer had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Rowlands stepped up from 12-yards and although the inspired Turner guessed correctly, he was powerless to prevent the right footed strike from nestling in the back of the net.

The topsy-turvy nature of the second half continued in kind and when Bignot inexplicably allowed the ball to bounce in his own area, Tudgay fed Brunt, who turned on a sixpence.

Camp came to Rangers rescue though, diving full stretch to his right to tip the winger's eight-yard effort round the post.

Cook was the catalyst for everything positive from the R's and when he left three in his wake to get to the by-line ten minutes from time, his cross evaded three Rangers players on the edge of the six-yard box.

Four minutes of added time provided hope for the R's and it was the hosts who should've made their dominant display count in stoppage time, only for Furlong to be denied from little more than two-yards by the outstanding Turner.

QPR: Camp, Bignot, Cullip, Bolder, Rowlands, Cook, Stewart, Idiakez (Ainsworth 67), Furlong, Blackstock (Nygaard 60), Mancienne.

Subs: Royce, Kanyuka, Smith.

Goals: Rowlands (pen) 72

Bookings: Rowlands 30, Bolder 51, Cook 83

Sheffield Wednesday: Turner, Bullen, Whelan, Tudgay, MacLean (Graham 80), Burton, Brunt, Wood, Watson (Lunt 27), Simek, Spurr.

Subs: Adamson, Gilbert, Lekaj.

Goals: Brunt 56

Bookings: Watson 22, Wood 41, Simek 68, Spurr 87

Referee: Mr K A Woolmer

Attendance: 15, 188 QPR

Sheffield Wednesday Official Site

Sheffield Wednesday recorded a 1-1 draw at strugglers Queens Park Rangers on Saturday afternoon, having weathered a first half storm from the home side.

The Owls took the lead against the run of play through Chris Brunt but QPR converted a dubious penalty to set up an end-to-end finish to the match in which either side could have grabbed a winner.

With Jermaine Johnson unavailable due to a knee injury, Brian Laws returned Marcus Tudgay to the starting eleven. on the right side of midfield, Steven MacLean retaining his place up front.

Wade Small was also unavailable and 17-year-old Norwegian, Rocky Lekaj, took his place on the first team bench for the first time.

With their Championship status at stake, the home side came out of the blocks with purpose, determined to take the game to Wednesday. Big, bustling forwards, Paul Furlong and Dexter Blackstock looked to get at the Owls back line from the off but centre backs Richard Wood and Lee Bullen stood up well to the physical challenge.

The first clear-cut chance of the game came when Frank Simek slipped attempting to clear his lines. Lee Cook supplied a fine cross from the left, Dexter Blackstock found space in front of the Wednesday central defenders and fired in a powerful shot from which Iain Turner made an outstanding fingertip save to push the ball over his crossbar.

The R's continued to pour forwards but the closest the hosts came in the first half was from long range on nine minutes. Cook received the ball in space and struck a wicked left foot shot from 35 yards which dipped and bounced off the top of the bar with Turner stranded.

It was pretty much one-way traffic early on. Rowlands cut back and delivered a curling left-foot cross from the right wing on 12 minutes which Blackstock powered at goal with his head. But Turner again did well to hold the effort just in front of his goal line.

Wednesday were up for the battle even if they could not stop the flow of Rangers' attacks. There were fleeting glimpses of good link play up front but Lee Camp in the home goal was largely untroubled during the first period.

On 24 minutes Turner pushed Inigo Idiakez' curling free kick from 30 yards just wide of his far post. The chance came as a result of Watson's late tackle on the tricky Cook and the West Brom loanee was booked for his trouble. Watson took a heavy knock in the challenge and was soon replaced by Kenny Lunt.

As half time drew closer Mancienne intercepted Brunt's pass for Spurr and raced up the right flank, feeding Furlong just inside the penalty area. The striker turned well but struck his low shot just wide of the far post.

The Owls were rarely close to the QPR goal and Tommy Spurr's impressive run, resulting in a block inside the penalty area during the last minute of the half, was as close as it got before the break.

Laws would have asked for more form his team at half time but again they found QPR determined to push on, roared on by a passionate home crowd.

The Owls limited Rangers chances a bit more effectively early in the second period but it came against the run of play when the visitors took the lead on 56 minutes.

Tudgay flicked on a ball from the right at the near post and Brunt was on hand to stab it home at the back stick for his tenth goal of the season.

Until this point, Ranger performance had not reflected their 21st position in the Championship going into the game. But Wednesday seemed to have greater confidence and authority after the interval, MacLean and Deon Burton held the ball up more effectively and combining good movement.

But R's manager John Gregory threw on Marc Nygaard and Gareth Ainsworth in a bid to drive his team on and salvage a result.

The Owls did not look too troubled but when Nygaard went to ground under the challenge of Wood and Spurr the referee gave a penalty. It looked a harsh decision on Wednesday but Martin Rowlands calmly slotted it home beyond Turner on 72 minutes.

This set the match up for another exciting finale after the 3-2 win at Leeds a week earlier. Cook had to clear off the line when Burton went close to converting a corner before Camp made a great save from Brunt on 77 minutes. Receiving the ball from Burton, the winger turned superbly and fired a low right-foot shot towards the corner only for Camp to push it wide.

A goal could have come at either end though and Wednesday were let off after the home side failed to make Cook's mazy run into the box count. Turner also had to grab hold of Stewart's shot from a corner in stoppage time to hold out and preserve the 1-1 score line. Sheffield Wednesday

BBC REPORT QPR 1-1 Sheff Wed
QPR salvaged a draw thanks to Martin Rowlands' penalty after they had fallen behind to a Chris Brunt tap-in.

Rangers started well but Iain Turner tipped over Dexter Fletcher's shot, Lee Cooke hit the bar and debutant Inigo Idiakez saw his 20-yard curler parried.

And after the break, Brunt opened the scoring from six yards after collecting Steve MacLean's headed flick-on.

But Rowlands earned Rangers a vital point, levelling from the spot after Richard Wood had fouled Marc Nygaard.

# QPR manager John Gregory:
"This feels like a defeat, because we dominated the match for such a long time. Given the amount of opportunities we created, I felt we should have been home and dry by half-time.

"We made one error, which happened to be their first shot on goal, and we were punished because Brunt scored.

"We are not good enough to be more elaborate, so a more direct approach is the way we have to go. We are still optimistic about our chances of staying up."

# Sheffield Wednesday boss Brian Laws, :
"Chris Brunt will attract attention. If you look at his goals this season, they would not look out of place in the Premiership.

"I believe he will get to the Premiership. He is young, talented and he is a shining light at Sheffield Wednesday.

"But he is not going anywhere. He is under contract, and we need players like him at the club." BBC

Rowlands steps up to rescue Rangers
Last updated at 18:26pm on 10th March 2007


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QPR 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Martin Rowlands' 72nd-minute penalty rescued a potentially vital point for struggling QPR in their battle to stay in the Coca-Cola Championship.

Rangers, who missed several first-half chances, looked to be heading for an eighth home defeat of the campaign when Chris Brunt put Sheffield Wednesday in front 11 minutes after the interval.

But Rowlands kept his calm to earn his side a draw from the spot after substitute Marc Nygaard had been fouled by Richard Wood.

Rangers handed a debut to Spanish playmaker Inigo Idiakez, while Wednesday made just one change, forward Marcus Tudgay returning from suspension to replace the injured Jermaine Johnson.

Rangers began the day above the relegation zone on goal difference alone, but they started this match brightly.

In the fourth minute, former Rangers loanee Frank Simek's slip on the Wednesday right let in Lee Cook, whose cross was steered goalwards by Dexter Blackstock but tipped over superbly by Iain Turner.

Rangers came even closer five minutes later when Cook - in front of the watching Charlton boss Alan Pardew and West Ham chief Alan Curbishley - collected the ball 35 yards from goal and struck a shot that beat Turner but bounced back off the crossbar.

Rangers were causing their visitors plenty of problems down the flanks, but their next clear opportunity came in the 24th minute when Idiakez's free-kick from 30 yards was pushed around the post by Turner.

Moments later, Paul Furlong shot inches wide of the left post from 10 yards after finding space inside the penalty area.

Shortly before the break, Turner kept out another free-kick from Idiakez and Wednesday scrambled the loose ball clear.

Rangers could not rediscover their verve early in the second half, and they suffered a huge blow in the 56th minute when Wednesday took the lead with their first genuine chance of the match.

Simek's long throw from the right was flicked on by Tudgay, and Brunt took advantage of appalling marking to fire past Lee Camp from six yards.

Brunt could have scored a second seven minutes later when he was again left unmarked, but he blasted over from 10 yards to give Rangers hope.

But their luck was out once again when Nygaard saw a close-range effort cleared off the line by Tommy Spurr.

A minute later, however, Nygaard was pulled back inside the area by Wood, and Rowlands squeezed the penalty past Turner's right hand for a 72nd-minute equaliser.

Rangers, backed by a noisy home crowd, tried to build a head of steam, but they were indebted to Camp 13 minutes from time for his fine reflex save to deny Brunt from 10 yards, while at the other end Rangers could not believe their luck after Cook tricked his way into the Owls' box but could not pick out a team-mate.

In the second minute of stoppage time, Furlong almost scrambled in the winner from three yards. Mail

This is London - Rowlands to the rescue on QPR'S big day
QPR 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Rangers manager John Gregory was furious his side failed to win on such an important day.

It was not so much the 40th anniversary of the League Cup final victory over West Bromwich that demanded a win. The danger at the foot of the Championship should have been motivation enough.

But Martin Rowlands' gutsy penalty 18 minutes from time could salvage only a point after the impressive Chris Brunt had given Wednesday a second-half lead.

Now Gregory must take Rangers to high-flying Derby, the club he left under a cloud not so long ago. He said: "I've not been back since. I'll just get my head down and get on with the job."

His players appeared to do just that in the first half, and Lee Cook jolted Iain Turner's crossbar. Even Wednesday manager Brian Laws admitted: "We had to deal with about 40 crosses, but we knew it would be tough because they are fighting for their lives."

Brunt scored against the run of play after 56 minutes, having been left unmarked when Marcus Tudgay helped on Frank Simek's throw-in. Gregory said: "We should have been home and dry by then but we gifted them the lead."

Marc Nygaard was then hauled down in the Wednesday area and Rowlands held his nerve to rescue the day and fuel the nostalgia. Gregory said: "I was at that final in 1967. My dad took me."

The Rangers manager now hopes to create some happy memories from the remainder of the season. This is London

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