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Monday, October 08, 2007

QPR Get Their First Win of The Season

Full Time: QPR 1 Norwich 0. QPR played Norwich at Loftus Road tonight in another televized game. After a 0-0 half-time, QPR took the lead for the first time this season through a Rowlands penalty. The crowd was 10,500.

BBC Minute-by-minute report
Sporting Life - Minute By Minute

QPR remain bottom on goal difference. Updated Championship Table


With Gary Doherty injured, City skipper Jason Shackell returned to the starting line-up after serving his three-match suspension and was joined in the heart of the Canaries' defence by Dion Dublin.
Up front young striker Chris Martin, who struck the woodwork against Scunthorpe last Tuesday night, was partnered by Darren Huckerby. In midfield Rossi Jarvis started in the centre with Darel Russell, with Lee Croft on the right and Simon Lappin on the left.
Ian Murray shrugged off a foot injury suffered in the Scunthorpe game to join Gilks, Chadwick, Brown and Strihavka on the City bench.
For QPR loanees Rowan Vine, former City player Jason Jarrett and Martin Cranie were all making their home debuts.
Although Sky were naturally focussing on a big game for both clubs in their pre-match build-up, for the newspaper photographers the excitement before kick-off centred around the appearance of glamorous celebrities Naomi Campbell and Tamara Beckwith in the directors' box.
With both sides eager to win there was some crisp passing in the opening exchanges with neither 'keeper troubled as players for either side found their feet.
The first threat to the City goal came in the ninth minute, Vine cutting the ball back from the byeline to tee up Leigertwood who drilled his low shot wide of the post from 16 yards.
Two minutes later Sahar picked the ball up and ran at the City defence after Russell lost possession in the centre circle, but his shot was eventually blocked by a superb block from Dublin at full stretch.
In the 16th minute Adam Drury was left prone on the pitch apparently clutching his shoulder after competing for a header and received lengthy treatment but thankfully was able to get to his feet and continue after a couple of minutes.
Lee Croft nearly cut in behind the Rangers defence in the 21st minute to pick up a clever pass from Chris Martin but just couldn't find the time and space to get a shot off and was eventually forced wide and away from danger by good QPR defending.
Dion Dublin received the game's first yellow card from referee Mr P.Walton in the 27th minute after a tussle for the ball in the centre of the pitch with Adam Bolder.
Just after the half-hour Huckerby and Otsemobor combined well but the City right-back seemed caught in two minds as he found himself carving into the Rangers box and eventually drilled a shot from tight angle straight at former Canary 'keeper Lee Camp.
Play switched to the other end and Hogan Ephraim warmed the palms of David Marshall with a fierce drive from 25 yards which the City custodian palmed away well.
In the 36th minute after Shackell conceded a corner, Marshall was again alert to palm away Ephraim's in-swinging flag kick from under the crossbar and away to safety.
In the closing seconds of first-half injury time Lappin's corner from the right was met by the towering figure of Dublin but he planted his header well over the bar.

Half-time: QPR 0, Norwich City 0
City made a change at the break, Ian Murray coming on for Dion Dublin - Manager Peter Grant perhaps conscious of the yellow card Dublin picked up in the first half.
But it was QPR who looked the more dangerous in the opening exchanges of the half - and they were centimetres away from breaking the deadlock in the 47th minute. The City midfield and defence seemed almost to stand off as Martin Rowlands arrowed forward from defence and he had time to blast a low shot from 25 yards which cannoned off the foot of the far post with Marshall beaten.
It was a let-off for City who had started the period firmly on the back foot - and within a couple of minutes they had another scare as they survived loud claims for a Rangers penalty after Vine went down under Shackell's challenge.
In an effort to change the balance of the game, Grant made a tactical shift on 52 minutes with Huckerby slotting in on the left of a five-man midfield and Martin left as lone striker.
Rowlands was having a lively second half and on 59 minutes he forced a smart reaction save from Marshall with a curling free kick from 30 yards which was arrowing towards the top corner.
Four minutes later with Norwich now firmly on the back foot Grant made his sceond change of the evening, striker David Strihavka replacing Lappin and joining Martin up front as the Canaries reverted to 4-4-2 once again.
On 65 minutes Lee Croft was booked for a foul on Ephraim - but if that looked harsh there was worse to come a minute later as Ian Murray was controversially adjudged to have brought down Vine in the box and a penalty was awarded.
Martin Rowlands capped a great personal performance by stepping up to ram a perfect spot kick low and to Marshall's left, giving the City keeper no chance whatsoever.
Rangers caretaker boss Mick Harford immediately made a substitution, Stefan Moore replacing Sahar.
The home side was definitely on top at this stage - two chances in the space of 60 seconds coming on 70 minutes as first Ainsworth's acrobatic volley was deflected inches wide by the head of Drury and then Stewart's powerful header from the resulting corner was saved at full stretch by Marshall.
A minute later Rowan Vine was the next to test Marshall's reflexes, forcing yet another excellent save on the line from the Canary keeper.
Somehow City needed to find a way back into a game in which they had failed to significantly threaten the Rangers goal. Grant responded by bringing on Chris Brown for Martin with 15 minutes to go.
Almost immediately there was a slight improvement as Russell hit a half-volley from 22 yards which Camp saved comfortably. It was City's first shot in anger of the second half but did at least give the City fans behind the goal something rare to cheer about.
The Canaries once again had Marshall to thank for keeping them in the game in the 82nd minute when he stuck out a leg to deny Ephraim's blast from eight yards.
Two minutes later a long raking ball forward from Otsemobor was nodded down well by Strihavka, but Brown got under his shot and sent it well over from 25 yards.
QPR then made their final change, another former City man Jason Jarrett coming on for Ainsworth with five minutes of normal time to go.
NORWICH: Marshall, Otsemobor, Drury, Shackell, Huckerby, Croft, Dublin (Murray 46), Lappin (Strihavka 63), Russell, Rossi Jarvis, Martin (Brown 75)
SUBS NOT USED: Gilks (GK), Chadwick.


Martin Rowlands' second half spot-kick ensured QPR headed into the international break on a high with a first victory of the campaign, in front of the live Sky Sports cameras.
Rowlands bagged the only goal of a one-sided contest midway through the second period, when referee Peter Walton pointed to the spot following Ian Murray's foul on home debutant Rowan Vine.
Victory was no less than the R's deserved, after their most creative performance of the season.
Rowlands was denied by the woodwork and Vine saw his thunderous volley tipped to safety by the overworked David Marshall, as the R's produced a much-improved display in front of a star-studded Loftus Road Director's Box.
Still reeling from the R's 4-2 defeat against Colchester United a few days earlier, Caretaker Manager Mick Harford made three changes to the QPR side.
Portsmouth loanee Martin Cranie replaced Danny Cullip at the heart of the R's defence, while Damion Stewart was restored to the Rangers back four, with Mikele Leigertwood returning to his usual central midfield berth, at the expense of Jason Jarrett.
Chelsea loan star Ben Sahar replaced Dexter Blackstock in attack, alongside home debutant Vine.
Norwich were minus the services of former R's front-man Jamie Cureton, who missed out with a foot injury, but Jason Shackell returned from suspension to skipper the Canaries.
On a balmy October evening in West London, the game started at a nice tempo and it was Rangers who made most of the early running.
Vine's seventh minute pull-back from the by-line fell perfectly into the path of the roaming Leigertwood, whose driven 18-yard effort shaved the outside of David Marshall's right hand post.
It was Vine's strike partner Sahar who spurned the next opportunity, firing into the midriff of Dion Dublin after he homed in on goal from a position on the left flank.
Rowlands' resultant corner kick was only half cleared at the back post and Ainsworth lashed a first-time volley into the arms of Marshall.
Sahar's pace and strength was causing Dublin and Shackell constant problems and when the Israeli front-man bore down on goal on the half hour, the latter did just enough to prevent him from letting fly.
Replays suggested Sahar was dragged back by the Norwich skipper, but referee Peter Walton was not forthcoming with the decision.
Norwich fans were made to wait until the 32nd minute to see their side create an opportunity.
Jon Ostemobor broke from deep, but having left two in his wake, his finish lacked the sufficient power to test Camp.
Rangers continued to pepper the Norwich goal and moments later, the lively Ephraim brought the best out of Marshall, who dived full stretch to beat the left sided midfielder's 25-yard effort to safety.
Norwich created the final chance of the half on the stroke of half-time, when Dublin headed over Darren Huckerby's corner kick.
That proved to be Dublin's final act of the match, with Ian Murray replacing the veteran defender on the resumption.
Rangers were soon back in the groove at the start of the second half, with the unlucky Rowlands denied by the woodwork in the 47th minute.
Playing in an unorthodox right-back position, Rowlands broke from just inside his own half before unleashing a venomous 25-yard drive, which Marshall could only watch onto the foot of his post.
If the R's first half penalty shout was optimistic, their second half appeal in the 50th minute was anything but.
Vine robbed Shackell yet again out wide and when he cut inside the penalty box, the Norwich centre-half was extremely fortunate not to give away a spot-kick, as he grabbed a large chunk of his shirt and dragged the R's loanee to ground.
Yet despite vocal appeals from the entire R's squad and the partisan supporters in the Loft, referee Walton was unmoved.
Rowlands was leading the R's crusade, firing an ambitious 30-yard free-kick on target, which Marshall dealt with, albeit at the second attempt.
It was third time lucky for the R's in the 66th minute, when Vine nipped in front of Murray, nudged the ball forward with his knee and was sent tumbling to ground by Murray.
Walton had no hesitation this time, pointing straight to the spot and Rowlands did the rest, thrashing a powerful right foot drive in to the bottom left hand corner to hand Rangers a thoroughly deserved opening goal.
Buoyed by their goal, the R's created a further two chances in as many minutes.
Ainsworth's thunderous 30-yard volley was deflected wide via the head of Adam Drury and from the resultant corner kick, the impressive Stewart saw his stooping header acrobatically tipped over by Marshall.
The purple patch continued, with Vine seeing his splendid 71st minute volley on the turn tipped to safety by the Scottish custodian.
Norwich threatened briefly when Darel Russell fired a speculative shot straight at Camp, but the reaction of the City faithful said it all, as they mimicked their sides' efforts with a jovial round of applause.
Ephraim was denied the goal his virtuoso display undoubtedly deserved when his low, close-range strike was blocked by Marshall at his near post, but it mattered little, as the R's held on to bag all three points, for the first time this season.
QPR: Camp, Barker, Stewart, Bolder, Ainsworth (Jarrett 86), Rowlands, Sahar (Moore 68), Ephraim (Timoska 90), Vine, Leigertwood, Cranie.
Attendance: 10, 514 QPR

QPR: Camp, Barker, Stewart, Bolder, Ainsworth (Jarrett 85), Rowlands, Sahar (Moore 69), Ephraim, Vine, Leigertwood, Cranie
SUBS NOT USED: Cole (GK), Bignot, Timoska

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