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Monday, May 07, 2007

QPR vs Stoke - Reports & Comments

See also: earlier QPR vs Stoke reports & Managerial comments - "Stoke Lose Out on 60 Million Pound "Pot of Gold" Opportunity"

BBC - QPR 1-1 Stoke
QPR killed off Stoke's Championship play-off hopes as they held on for a point despite being reduced to 10 men.
The hosts dominated the first half and took a deserved lead through Martin Rowlands' free-kick from a tight angle.
Sampsa Timoska was dismissed in the second half for two bookable offences on Ricardo Fuller and Lee Martin.
Stoke finally made the breakthrough late on when Mamady Sidibe neatly placed home Fuller's cross but it was not enough to clinch a play-off place.
Results elsewhere ensured their play-off dreams would have to wait another year as Southampton, Wolves and West Brom all won.
QPR bossed the first half but Lee Martin hit the post just before the break with Stoke improving markedly after the break.
Stoke did manage to find the net again but Danny Higginbotham's goal was rightly ruled out for offside.
Carl Hoefkens' centre was converted by Danny Higginbotham but he had strayed into an offside position.
Stoke pressed forward for a winner but QPR held on for a well-earned point.
QPR manager John Gregory:
"I got unbelievably angry with the referee. I think the QPR chairman and kit man were the only people he didn't book.
"But I don't want that to gloss over what has been a monumental achievement by my players this season.
"Six teams have finished below us - at one stage all of them were above us."
Stoke boss Tony Pulis:
"It would have been magnificent if we had gone up. Even if you come back down again, these days the parachute payments make you very strong.
"If we can wheel and deal in the summer, then hopefully we will come back next season even stronger.
"That's what we'll look to do and I'll go for as many good players as I can." BBC

The Sun: QPR 1- Stoke 1 By GARY PAYNE
TONY PULIS was left cursing his bad luck as Stoke’s promotion hopes went up in smoke.
The Potters blew the chance to make the play-offs after failing to better Southampton’s 4-1 drubbing of Southend.
Mamady Sidibe’s late consolation was not enough to get Stoke over the finish line after Martin Rowlands’ early goal meant City were playing catch-up.
Boss Pulis said: “It’s disappointing, especially when it came down to the wire like that.
“But the players gave it everything and I can’t fault them.
“We just didn’t have lady luck on our side. They had two efforts on goal but it was wave after wave from us. It just didn’t go in.
“That bit of luck you need just wasn’t there.
“They were down to 10 men but then Sidide pulls a hamstring and we’ve already used our three subs, so it’s 10 against 10.”
Rowlands caught Potters keeper Steve Simonsen out of position with a 25-yard free-kick to put Rangers ahead.
Stoke then wasted a hatful of chances before QPR defender Sampsa Tomoska was sent off for two bookings.
Sidibe’s tap-in from Ricardo Fuller’s cross was too little too late.
Rangers boss John Gregory said: “We’ve had a lot of misery but we’ve finished in style and we’re celebrating.”
Colossal in defence.


Too little too late as Stoke fall short
Queens Park Rangers 1 Stoke City 1 Kaveh Solhekol
Pulis’s side fail to make play-offs

STOKE CITY’S PUSH FOR a play-offs place ended in failure yesterday after Tony Pulis’s team were held to a 1-1 draw by Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road. The home team had nothing to play for but took the lead after only six minutes when Steve Simonsen, the Stoke goalkeeper, failed to keep out a smart free kick by Martin Rowlands.

Knowing that they would probably need to win to snatch the final play-offs place from Southampton, Stoke poured forward, but QPR held firm until the 84th minute when Mamady Sidibe equalised from close range after a low cross by Ricardo Fuller.

By then Sampsa Timoska, the QPR defender, had been sent off after two yellow cards in four second-half minutes, while Trevor Kettle, the referee, booked ten players. By the end of the match even the most minor infringement was punished by a yellow card.

“It went to the wire but Lady Luck was not smiling on us today,” Pulis, the Stoke manager, said.

Queens Park Rangers 1 Rowlands 6

Stoke City 1 Sidibe 84

Queens Park Rangers (4-4-2): J Cole – S Timoska, D Stewart, D Shimmin, M Bignot – M Rowlands, S Bailey, A Bolder (sub: M Bircham, 82min), J Smith – M Nygaard (sub:R Jones, 88), D Blackstock (sub: P Furlong, 75). Substitutes not used: P Jones, S Moore. Booked: Rowlands, Bolder, Bailey, Shimmin, Timoska, Furlong, Cole, Smith. Sent off: Timoska. FORM DLWLWW

Stoke City (4-4-2): S Simonsen – G Zakuani (sub: V PĂ©ricard, 56), J Fortune, D Higginboth-am, A Griffin – C Hoefkens, S Diao (sub: D Russell, 71), D Matteo, L Hendrie (sub: L Martin, 19) – M Sidibe, R Fuller. Substitutes not used: R Hoult, J Eustace. Booked: Fortune, Diao FORM DWDDWW Referee: T Kettle The Times

STOKE OFFICIAL SITE - Pulis Comments - Tony's Prediction

Tony Pulis insists the future is bright for the Potters despite suffering last day heartbreak in the club's quest for the Play-Offs.

Results elsewhere meant regardless of City's result (baring a 5-1 win) a spot in the top six was unreachable, but the City boss is adamant that the latest era in the club's history is only just beginning.

"Look how far we have come over the last eight months," he says.

"We lost a ridiculous amount of games last season, and if you compare that to this season, it is chalk and cheese.

"I believe there is something happening at this club now, there is a real buzz around the place and the town and I want to make sure we realise our dream"

The season wasn't lost on Sunday according to Tony, who says the lack of luck has played a huge part in missing out on a spot in the top six.

Saying: "I think it's fair to say that we haven't had much luck this season.

"I don't think I have once came away from a game thinking we were fortunate to get all three points there.

"But many times I have come away disappointed that we didn't get wins, add on top of that all the injuries we have had.

"If we had a little bit more lady luck shining on us this season I believe we would have made it, and if we had I don't think we would have been stopped," insists Tony.

Mamady Sidibe scored the Potters only goal of the game and Tony admits that if he was told the players would have so many chances before the game, he would have snapped their hands off.

"We could have scored a lot of goals today, but unfortunately they didn't go in for us.

"Dom (Matteo) and Lee (Martin) had a couple of really good chances, all they had to do was make a bit of contact with the ball and they would have gone in, but they didn't and that's football.

"It didn't help going behind so early, I felt it knocked the stuffing out of us quite a bit and it took us a long time to recover.

"But once we did recover I thought we absolutely murdered them, they only had two shots all game and one of them went in," adds Tony.

With the season now at an end, he says he will take a well earned holiday with his family and then get straight back to the nitty gritty, and try to bolster together a squad capable of promotion next campaign.

"Me and Debs have been married 25 years now, so I better take her on a nice holiday somewhere.

"Then I will be back in working and sorting out the club for next season.

"I already have my hand in a few pots, and with a little bit of luck we will have a few players signed soon," he adds. Stoke


ity's 2006/07 season ended in disappointment at Loftus Road on Sunday after narrowly missing out on a place in the Play-Offs.

Martin Rowland fired the R's ahead after just six minutes and Mamady Sidibe netted the Potters equaliser just eight minutes from time, but it wasn't enough to seal a top six finish.

3,000 City fans made the long journey to the capital, while nearly 6,000 attended the Britannia Stadium's 'Beam-Back' creating a carnival like atmosphere.

However that was short lived, and disaster struck for Tony Pulis' side as the former Brentford man cheekily curled home a soft free kick into the bottom right hand corner.

Jamaican international Ricardo Fuller almost brought the visitors back on to level terms just minutes later, but after latching on to Sidibe's knockdown he rounded the keeper only to see his shot hacked off the line.

As if being 1-0 down wasn't enough, a second blow was enforced on City after 20 minutes with Lee Hendrie being forced off with an ankle injury after falling victim to a crude challenge just minutes before.

With news filtering in that Wolves and Southampton were losing, City stepped it up a gear and began to dominate.

Firstly substitute Lee Martin attempted an audacious curler from 30-yards which agonisingly cannoned off the post.

Then seconds later he totally missed the ball after being set free down the right flank.

With the players surely finding out that Southampton had equalised and Wolves had taken the lead during the half time interval, they came out all guns blazing at the start of the second half.

Dominic Matteo should have immediately levelled but he somehow flicked the ball over the bar from just three yards following a neat cushioned header from Jonathan Fortune.

Andy Griffin attempted a repeat of his wonder strike against Coventry earlier in the season, but Jake Cole was alert to parry his strike away from goal.

With City needing goals, Vincent Pericard was brought on to replace Gabriel Zakuani as Pulis went 4-3-3.

His change of tactics almost proved an instant success, but Danny Higginbotham's powerful header into the back of the net was ruled out for a dubious offside decision.

John Gregory's side were reduced to ten men with 20 minutes left - Martin weaved his way through the defence before Sampsa Timoska upended him, which resulted in his second yellow card of the afternoon.

Timoska was shown the cards by referee Trevor Kettle, a very late replacement to the already changed Clive Penton.

With time running out the Potters were 'Gung-Ho', with at times eleven men in the opposition's penalty area.

Sidibe finally grabbed a deserved goal after reacting quickest to Pericard's low cross, and then the Frenchman himself went close as the game, and the season drew to a close.

Despite the last day heartbreak, it has been a tremendous season, and lets hope we can go one step further in twelve months time.

QPR (4-4-2): Cole; Bignot, Timoska, Shimmin, Stewart; Smith, Bailey, Bolder (Bircham 82), Rowlands; Blackstock (Furlong 75), Nygaard (R Jones 87). Subs (Not Used): P Jones (GK), Moore.

CITY (4-4-2): Simonsen; Zakuani, Fortune, Higginbotham, Griffin; Hoefkens, Diaro (Russell 71), Matteo, Hendrie (Martin 19); Sidibe, Fuller. Subs (Not Used): Hoult (GK), Eustace.

(We would like to apologise for the lack of live updates during the game. Unfortunately we experienced technical difficulties which caused unforeseen problems.) Stoke

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