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Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hint! On This Date a Year Ago, QPR Broke the Form Book and Picked up First Away Victory

It's QPR vs WBA today...on TV...before WBA's biggest crowd of the season (as WBA have lowered ticked prices for today's game Today. A Year Ago today, QPR picked up their first away win with goals from Blackstock and Ray Jones (RIP) and ended Southampton's run of four consecutive victories. G-d willing, a similar result today! (And like today, the ref a year ago, was Mr. D'Urso!). Jimmy Smith made his QPR debut (and new manger John Gregory picked up his second victory in a week - and refused to speak to the press!)
A very, very different QPR team a year ago from today: P Jones, Bignot, Rehman, Stewart, Rose (Kanyuka 21), Rowlands, Bircham (Lomas 62), Bailey (Smith 62), Cook, R Jones, Blackstock. Subs: Royce, Gallen. - Scorers: Blackstock & Jones.

Saturday, September 30, 2006 - QPR Official Site - Southampton 1 QPR 2
Rangers turned the formbook upside down to clinch a valuable, yet thoroughly deserved victory at St Mary's.
First half goals from former Saint Dexter Blackstock and fellow front-man Ray Jones made it two wins on the bounce for new R's boss John Gregory.
Victory was no less than QPR deserved, on an afternoon when each and every player shone against a Southampton side occupying a play-off place at the start of the day.
Rangers led 2-1 at the break, with Blackstock and Jones on target after Jermaine Wright's early goal gave Southampton a dream start.
Wright arrived bang on cue to volley home Mario Licka's cross on two minutes, albeit with the aid of a heavy deflection.
It took Rangers a good 15 minutes or so to settle, but in truth, all John Gregory's men had to show for their early efforts was a fierce Martin Rowlands strike which Kelvin Davis tipped to safety.
But Rangers are a resolute bunch under the new management structure, and when Lee Cook found Blackstock six-yards from goal, the former Southampton striker bagged only his third goal in QPR colours.
And the first half comeback was complete four minutes before the break, when teenager Jones fired home after robbing Davis of possession by the corner flag.
The new gaffer named an unchanged side for his first away match in charge of the R's.
Paul Jones and Dexter Blackstock lined up against their former Club, the latter for the first time since joining QPR in the summer, while Marc Bircham retained the captain's armband.
Chelsea loanee Jimmy Smith was named amongst the R's substitutes, as was fit-again Club Captain Kevin Gallen.
Rangers trailed inside 110 seconds, to a deflected Wright goal.
icka's cross from the left flank fell perfectly for the former Ipswich Town midfielder, who - with the aid of a deflection off Damion Stewart - volleyed the ball past the unsighted Paul Jones.
And but for a fantastically timed tackle by Zesh Rehman five minutes later, Bradley Wright-Phillips could've made it two, after Rangers yet again failed to deal with a Rudi Skacel set-piece.
The R's were second best all over the park in the opening exchanges, as Gregory cut a frustrated figure in the QPR technical area.
And his worse fears were almost compounded on 12 minutes, when a trademark Gareth Bale free-kick from fully 25-yards, forced Paul Jones into a fine save.
Undeterred, Rangers should have scored themselves on 16 minutes through Rowlands.
Lee Cook played provider, teasing his way into the box before laying the ball on a plate for Rowlands, whose powerful near post strike was superbly tipped to safety by Davis.
Matthew Rose was forced from the fray midway through the half, with Pat Kanyuka replacing him.
His arrival prompted a defensive reshuffle, with Marcus Bignot moving to left back, Rehman to right back, and Kanyuka partnering Damion Stewart at the heart of the back four.
Grzegorz Rasiak almost doubled the hosts' advantage on 24 minutes, rising tallest to meet a Gareth Bale cross, which Paul Jones did well to gather at the first attempt.
Jones had to be at his agile best again on the half hour, diving full length to his left to tip round dangerman Licka's deflected free-kick.
Despite continually struggling to get to grips with their high-flying opponents, Rangers were on terms on 35 minutes and what a goal it was too.
Blackstock returned to haunt his former Club with a splendid header, but only after Rowlands and Cook played their part in a terrific, free-flowing move.
The former arrowed an inch-perfect 70-yard ball into the path of Cook, who after two unsuccessful attempts at beating the first man, whipped in an enticing cross, which the former Saints striker finished with aplomb.
The travelling QPR faithful were in dreamland six minutes later when Jones - with Davis attempting to usher the ball out of play by the corner flag - intercepted and curled home a delightful finish from the tightest of angles.
Neither side offered anything in the way of goalscoring attempts in the opening 10 minutes of the second half, prompting Saints boss George Burley to introduce livewire Nathan Dyer.
The Southampton substitute made an immediate impact, volleying an innocuous effort on goal, which Jones did well to tip round.
Gregory responded by introducing debutant Smith and Steve Lomas on 62 minutes, with Bircham and Bailey making way.
But it was Southampton who continued to pose the greater threat in the final third, with Dyer seeing his shot blocked by a combination of Jones and Stewart.
Stewart almost put the game to bed at the other end two minutes later, rising high to meet Cook's corner kick.
The Jamaican international made a terrific contact, but the ball sailed a yard or so wide of Davis' left hand post.
Rangers were beginning to enjoy the lion's share of possession as the match reached its final 15 minutes and when Rehman found Smith in a wide position, the highly-rated youngster sent in a splendid centre, which Blackstock fired over from an acute angle.
Rehman was enjoying the freedom of the right flank from his unorthodox full-back position and after beating two men with ease, the former Fulham man shot high and wide from fully 25-yards.
The toot on referee Mr D'Urso's whistle at full time signalled the start of a QPR party in the away end - and they had every right to celebrate, after more than playing their part in an enthralling away day for the R's.
Southampton: Davis, Makin, Pele, Baird (Jones 70), Bale, Skacel, Licka, Viafara, Wright (Dyer 57), Rasiak, Wright-Phillips (Surman 77).
Subs: Miller, Ostlund.
Scorers: Wright 2
Bookings: Licka 90
Sending Offs:
QPR: P Jones, Bignot, Rehman, Stewart, Rose (Kanyuka 21), Rowlands, Bircham (Lomas 62), Bailey (Smith 62), Cook, R Jones, Blackstock.
Subs: Royce, Gallen.
Scorers: Blackstock 35, R Jones 41
Bookings: Rehman 43

- OBSEVER Gregory maintains the Rangers revival
Jamie Jackson at St Mary's - The Observer

Sunday Mirror - SOUTHAMPTON 1-1 QPR Peter White At St Mary's
QPR - Jones 7, Bignot 6, Rehman 7, STEWART 8, Rose (Kanyuka 6), Rowlands 7, Bircham 6 (Lomas 6), Bailey 6 (Smith 6), Cook 6, Jones 7, Blackstock 7.
MANAGER Gregory 8 REFEREE A D'Urso 6
MAN OF THE MATCH - DAMION STEWART Very solid at the heart of Rangers' rearguard
Sunday Mirror

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