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Wednesday, March 14, 2007

QPR's Derby Draw - Reports & Post-Match Comments

QPR OFFICIAL SITE - The gaffer was quick to praise the R's travelling support after the 1-1 draw with his former side Derby County.
Over 550 Rangers fans made the long trip North up the M1 to cheer John Gregory's men on - and the players responded in style, with a display of character and class against their high-flying opponents.
"The fans were magnificent yet again,'' Gregory told www.qpr.co.uk.
"Sometimes we take it for granted, but on away days like that, we have to take our hats off to them - they were sensational.
"For large parts of the match all we could hear from the bench was that corner section of the ground and it gave us all a fantastic lift.''
With chants of 'We are the Rangers boys, stand up and make some noise' ringing in their ears, the R's stormed into a one goal lead, courtesy of Martin Rowlands' eighth goal of the campaign.
The Hoops continued to orchestrate proceedings - on and off the pitch - for large chunks of the second half, only for Darren Moore to deny them a memorable victory when his last gasp header nestled in the back of the net. QPR

John Gregory - QPR Official Site KICK IN THE TEETH
The gaffer described Darren Moore's last-gasp leveller as a 'huge kick in the teeth' for his R's side.
Rangers were denied a deserved victory when Moore pounced in the 87th minute to cancel out Martin Rowlands' first half opener.
"It feels like a defeat, but it will probably turn out to be a good point at the end of the season,'' said Gregory.
"It was almost the perfect script, but perhaps we scored too early.
"They never looked like hurting us, but one long punt into the box caught us out and it's a huge kick in the teeth.
"We knew it would be a battle but the lads rose to the occasion magnificently.''
The 1-1 saw Rangers slip into the bottom three, but Gregory was honest as ever, commetning: "We just have to get on with it. If we play like that between now and the end of the season we'll be fine.
"The Leicester game takes on huge significance now.'' QPR Official Site

SPORTING LIFE/PA Sport - Riath Al-Samarrai

QPR boss John Gregory accused the officials of being "influenced" by the home crowd during his side's 1-1 draw at Derby.

The visitors were seemingly heading for an unlikely win when Martin Rowlands nodded them in front in the 14th minute, before Paul Furlong had an effort ruled out for offside and Darren Moore bagged a late leveller for the team placed second in the Coca-Cola Championship.

But Gregory, whose side slipped into the bottom three following the draw, slammed the officials for what he believed was an awful offside decision.

And the former Derby boss even suggested the referee knew his call was wrong.

He said: "The disallowed goal was atrocious. An awful decision by the linesman. Marc Nygaard was in an offside position but Furlong wasn't.

"The referee actually admitted to Furlong that the linesman had called the wrong player.

"Furlong came from behind the defender but the flag went up.

"There were a few strange decisions.

"I thought the referee was very influenced by the home crowd."

Gregory does not, however, believe his side are doomed to relegation.

He added: "You have got to get on with it. It's been a long season with lots of problems but hopefully we can stay in the Championship.

"We know what we have got to do but the games are coming thick and fast. But I can't fault our players tonight."

Derby boss Billy Davies, meanwhile, had no complaints with the result but warned his younger players to sharpen up their act.

He said: "I think that point will prove very important.

"People are fighting for their lives out there at this time of the season; there are no easy games, no easy points. The games are becoming scrappier and scrappier all the time and that is exactly what we got tonight. "When you get to this stage of the season it's what it's all about.

"We knew what to expect but it was a lesson for the younger players. They are learning that sometimes you can't get the ball down and play against these sides, that sometimes it needs to go up field.

"It would have been nice to get three points but that's easier said than done. This point could still be very crucial for us."

Davies also refuted suggestions his side had become porous at the back after they conceded for the eighth successive game.

He said: "You have to give credit to the opposition. It's not easy to keep clean sheets in this division.

"This team has been put together in seven months and has 70 points with eight games remaining. I'm not frustrated." Sporting Life

BBC- Derby 1-1 QPR
Darren Moore grabbed a last-gasp equaliser as high-flying Derby denied QPR a first away win since November.
Martin Rowlands put the Londoners ahead, nodding the ball home after Paul Furlong's shot hit the post.
But the Rams had the better of the chances with David Jones and Steve Howard both going close.
And the Rams continued to pile on the pressure in the second half and eventually got their reward when Moore headed home with three minutes left.
# Derby manager Billy Davies:

"We knew what to expect but it was a lesson for the younger players.
"They're learning that sometimes you can't get the ball down and play against these sides, that sometimes it needs to go up field.
"It would have been nice to get three points but it's easier said than done."
# QPR manager John Gregory:
"The disallowed goal was atrocious. An awful decision by the linesman. Marc Nygaard was in an offside position but Furlong wasn't.

"The referee admitted to Furlong the linesman had called the wrong player.

"There were a few strange decisions. I thought the referee was very influenced by the home crowd." BBC

Derby Official Site
Billy Davies reckons the point won against QPR on Tuesday night could prove vital at the end of the 2006/07 campaign.

"Of course we would have been delighted with three points," the Rams boss told dcfc.co.uk, "but if you look right across the country tonight teams are fighting for their lives and others have dropped points.

"What matters is that we continue to pick up points along the way. I have just told the players that tonight could be a very important point come the end of the season."

Billy expressed disappointment that his side didn't compete in the first half against John Gregory's side. "Teams like Stoke and QPR scrap - that's the way they play - and it's a learning process for some of our players," he said.

"Early on too many of our players were not taking part in that scrap, but we must learn to break down teams. It is important that we properly understand the nature of the games that are coming up. It doesn't matter if we are playing top or bottom, we have to earn the right to win games. That's what we did against Colchester and that's what we didn't do tonight.

"When you play 11 against 11 that's fine, but in the first half we played 11 against five or six and that's not good enough.

"I said before the game the only way they were going to score was from a long ball up to their big strikers or from a set piece. Furlong and Nygaard were a handful but we have to understand there is a time for suits and a time for armoured suits. Tonight was a time for the latter.

"Why are we not starting? I am asking the same question and I think the younger players have got to realise they need to get out of the blocks earlier and compete better.

"Eventually we ended up playing Darren Moore as a striker because of his presence and the type of game it was - and he got the goal."

Looking ahead to Saturday's home match against Cardiff, Billy added: "It doesn't matter that our next opponents are there or thereabouts - it is all about us."

Telegraph/Peter Gardiner - Moore to the rescue for Derby
Derby County (0) 1 Queens Park Rangers (1) 1

Derby County were spared the embarrassment of a damaging home defeat by struggling Queens Park Rangers when defender Darren Moore secured a late equaliser to salvage a point.

For much of a feisty encounter, it appeared the visitors would cling to the 13th minute lead Martin Rowlands had given them and make it a successful first return for former County manager John Gregory, now attempting to ensure Rangers' Championship survival. Gregory departed from Derby in acrimonious circumstances three years ago.

Rangers, chasing only their second victory in the last 11 games, defended with great resolve in the second half but were denied three minutes from the end, the result meaning they slid into the bottom three for the first time this season.

However, despite their precarious position, Gregory remained bullish about the chances of avoiding relegation. "If we continue to play like that, we should be OK,'' he said. ''The referee made a few strange decisions but I think he was influenced by the home crowd.

"We have now got to get on with it. It has been a long season for everyone at the club and there have been lots of problems. But hopefully we can stay in the Championship and regroup in the summer.''

Gregory was clearly disappointed at coming so close to taking all three points and claimed: "It felt like a defeat afterwards but when you look back it could be a very good point."

That was also the theme of Derby manager Billy Davies. ''I told the players as much at the end but this was a lesson for us,'' he said. ''We have got to battle in scrappy games like this and be prepared to fight for every ball if we are to break down teams. It is going to be like this right to the end of the season."

For Derby, Moore's face-saving third goal of the campaign could not have been better timed in view of results at the top of the table where the four teams who started the evening in the leading positions all failed to win.

Yet it all looked as if it might go wrong for Derby when Rowlands pounced after Paul Furlong's initial shot came back off a post. The turning point came when Derby goalkeeper Stephen Bywater superbly saved a stunning free-kick from Steve Lomas and, after playing with more authority in the second period, Derby earned their reward in the 87th minute when Moore headed in a cross from the left my Jay McEveley.

Match details

Derby (4-4-2): Bywater; Edworthy, Moore, Leacock, McEveley; Teale (Fagan 66), Barnes, Oakley, Jones (Peschisolido 77); Howard, Lupoli.
Subs: Grant (g), Fagan, Peschisolido, Johnson, Mears.
Booked: Moore, Howard.
Goal: Moore 87.
QPR (4-4-2): Royce; Mancienne, Cullip, Stewart, Bignot; Rowlands (Ainsworth 28), Lomas (Smith 90), Idiakez, Cook; Nygaard, Furlong (Jones 83).
Subs: Cole (g), Kanyuka, Jones, Smith.
Booked: Furlong, Ainsworth, Idiakez, Cook.
Goals: Rowlands 14.
Referee: S Tanner (Somerset). Telegraph

INDEPENDENT - Derby County 1 QPR 1: Moore leaves it late to save pride and hope for Derby By Phil Shaw

John Gregory, controversially sacked by Derby County after 14 months as manager, was three minutes from a victorious return to Pride Park with Queen's Park Rangers when Darren Moore headed a scarcely deserved equaliser.

The result pushed Rangers into the Championship relegation zone for the first time since early September, and yet Martin Rowlands' eighth goal of the season had looked likely to be sufficient to secure their first away win in six months.

Instead, Derby's pressure paid off when Moore, a centre-back lending his aerial power to attack, headed in Jay McEveley's cross. Results elsewhere gave the scoreline an unexpectedly pleasing look for their manager, Billy Davies.

"In the first half it was 11 men against six or even five," he said. Later, however, he insisted he was not frustrated, hailing the "great bottle" his players showed in the second half to scrape what could prove to be "a crucial point".

Davies revealed that he had signed Darren Currie, the left-sided Ipswich winger who has been on trial with LA Galaxy, on loan until the end of the season. He hoped Currie would "unlock a few doors" in the tight contests ahead.

Gregory said the draw "felt like a defeat", going on to criticise the officials over a disallowed effort by Paul Furlong that would have put Rangers 2-0 up. "It was an atrocious decision," he said. "They couldn't get it right between them. But there were a few strange decisions. I thought the ref was very influenced by the crowd."

Rangers were also left to rue a stunning second-half save by Stephen Bywater from Steve Lomas, the keeper diving at full stretch to tip a fierce shot over the bar. But Gregory claimed he was unconcerned by their precarious position, saying: "We just have to get on with it. We're still in with a great chance of staying up."

Derby's sluggish start was punished when they fell behind after 13 minutes. From Danny Cullip's long free-kick, Marc Nygaard headed the ball on for Furlong to hook against a post. The defence were static as Rowlands darted in to head home.

Rangers' ascendancy owed much to the way Derby were set up. Gregory's midfield outnumbered Davies', while Giles Barnes' tendency to push on into attack depleted the home side further.

David Jones' corner saw Steve Howard rise to power the ball goalward eight minutes before half-time, but Lee Cook headed off the line. Rangers' Simon Royce, beaten five times at Southend on his previous outing, then touched over Jones' long-range free-kick, but Moore's cameo as a striker turned a dreadful night into a step closer to promotion for Derby. Independent

GUARDIAN/Stuart James - Jittery Derby owe much to Moore's late rescue
Not for the first time John Gregory departed this stadium feeling aggrieved last night. The Queens Park Rangers manager, who had not been back here since he was dismissed in acrimonious circumstances three years ago, stood crestfallen as Darren Moore headed in an equaliser with three minutes left. It nudged Derby level on points with Birmingham but also denied Rangers the win that would have kept them clear of the relegation zone.

It was a cruel time to concede on a night when Derby rarely threatened, the home side giving an unconvincing display amid the audible unrest of their fans. Aside from Moore's late goal, the only cheer for Derby's fans was other results. With Birmingham and Wolves both losing and Sunderland drawing, this almost felt like a point gained rather than two dropped.

There was no such consolation available to Gregory. Southend's win last night means Rangers are now in the bottom three, prompting the manager to admit "we must get something from Saturday's match against Leicester". There was no surprise that he claimed the outcome "felt more like a defeat". Having taken a 14th-minute lead through Martin Rowlands' close-range header, Rangers never looked in danger of surrendering that advantage until Moore's late intervention.

A second goal probably should have arrived before the half-hour. Rowlands sent Furlong scampering clear and, though Marc Nygaard was offside, the striker was running away from goal and not interfering. Furlong sprinted on and lifted the ball over Stephen Bywater after Steve Tanner had blown the whistle. "It was an atrocious decision by the linesman," said Gregory, who claimed "the referee was very influenced by the home supporters tonight".

There was another turning point later when Steve Lomas, set up by Gareth Ainsworth, whipped a 20-yard shot towards the top corner only for Bywater to flick the ball behind with a superb save. The goalkeeper had no chance earlier when Rowlands, stooping at the back post, reacted quickest after Furlong's left-foot hooked shot cannoned off the upright.

Derby were firmly on the back foot at that point, with simple passes going astray as they struggled to find momentum. Steve Howard had a header cleared off the line by Lee Cook in the 36th minute but that opportunity was Rangers' first unnerving moment. The next was when Moore climbed powerfully to head Jay McEveley's deep cross past the stranded Simon Royce in the 87th minute.

Derby's manager Billy Davies, who has signed Ipswich's Darren Currie on loan until the end of the season, said: "We need to learn before we can get the ball down and play that there's a battle to be won. Guardian

The Times/Jeremy Cross - Moore’s equaliser at the last saves Derby blushes

John Gregory should have had the last laugh on his first return to Pride Park since being dismissed by Derby County in 2003, but his joy turned to despair courtesy of Darren Moore’s late equaliser to deny Queens Park Rangers.

Martin Rowlands’s 14th-minute goal looked like proving the defining moment between the sides. Derby’s impressive home record, accompanied by QPR’s dismal away form, suggested there could only be one result from this fixture, yet the prospect of reaching the Barclays Premiership can do funny things to teams once they come within touching distance.

QPR promptly took a deserved lead when Derby failed to clear Danny Cullip’s free kick. Paul Furlong’s shot rebounded off the post but Rowlands reacted first to bury the loose ball beyond Stephen Bywater.

Derby were eventually forced to pay Gregory £1 million in compensation for wrongful dismissal and this defeat would have cost them much more had Moore not met Jay McEveley’s deep cross to head past Simon Royce with three minutes remaining. Times

Derby Official SIte
Defender Darren Moore says the Rams will have to learn from their 1-1 draw against Queens Park Rangers when they come up against similar tests before the season ends.

QPR came to Pride Park desperate for the points after a run of five games without a win saw them dragged right into the Coca-Cola Championship's relegation battle.

And it looked as though they would leave with all three until Moore powered home an 87th-minute equaliser to earn Derby a draw.

"QPR came and made it hard for us and we've got to realise that, such has been the efforts of everyone at the club this season, that nobody will come up to Pride Park and play open football against us," he told www.dcfc.co.uk.

"Teams are going to make it hard, they'll make it difficult and frustrating for us, they'll slow the game down and every tactic in the book an away team can use against us they will do.

"But the players showed great resilience as it was a tough game out there tonight, and credit to QPR as they are scrapping for their lives.

"We have got a few more fixtures like that and all we can do is learn, and make sure that when we face these games we perform instead of dragging ourselves up from behind."

Moore's third goal of the season couldn't have been better timed as it lifts the Rams back to level on points with Birmingham City at the top of the table.

It was a typical centre-forward's header but with the regular talisman Steve Howard out on the touchline after setting up Jay McEveley's cross, Moore took up the mantle.

"I got the call to go up alongside Stevie, and we also had Pesch and Craig Fagan on at the time," Moore said.

"I got myself to the far post, Jay threw it in, and I managed to get between two defenders and headed it down.

"I'm really pleased with the goal, I wish it could have been a winner but an equaliser is better than a defeat." Derby

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