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Saturday, December 29, 2007

QPR's Watford Victory: Reports and Comments

QPR took a 3-0 Half-time lead and ended up winning 4-2 at Watford. QPR moved out of the bottom three (and 11 points out of a playoff spot!)
Blackpool 25 30
Leicester 25 27
QPR 25 27
Norwich 25 27
Scunthorpe 25 26
Sheff Wed 23 25
Preston 25 24
Colchester 25 22
League Table

Watford manager Adrian Boothroyd blamed his side's poor defending for prolonging their miserable home record against QPR.
Martin Rowlands - with a brace - Damion Stewart and Akos Buzsaky fired lowly Rangers to an amazing 4-2 win at Vicarage Road.
The Hornets, who were nine points clear at the top of the Championship a couple of months ago, are still without a home victory since October 20 and have slipped three points behind leaders West Brom.
But Boothroyd dismissed suggestions his side are suffering a bout of stage fright performing in front of their own fans.
"We dominated for long periods in the first half and yet ended up 3-0 down at half-time," he said.
"I was pleased with our attacking play but not some of the defending. It was schoolboy stuff."
The Hornets self-destructed in spectacular fashion from the moment Jordan Stewart upended Dexter Blackstock to concede a 13th-minute penalty which Rowlands converted.
Stewart headed his fourth goal of the season on the half hour, and Rowlands doubled his tally when he lashed the ball home from 10 yards to put Rangers three up five minutes before half-time.
Damien Francis struck from close range after the break as Boothroyd's men briefly threatened a second-half comeback.
But substitute Buzsaky stole in and rounded Richard Lee to hit a fourth for the visitors before Rangers old boy Danny Shittu's late goal completed the scoring.
"There was no ranting or raving at half-time, we just talked about what we had to do to try to get back into it," added Boothroyd.
"We got back into it and then left ourselves open.
"I don't think it's psychological. I might have done before today but the attitude and application is all there. But individual defensive errors you just can't legislate for."

[QPR's De Canio]
While Watford have won just three of their last 12 games, the future looks bright for Rangers after pocketing three more three points to climb out of the relegation zone ahead of their anticipated spree in the January sales.
But manager Luigi De Canio preferred to dwell on his current batch of players, rather than any potential raft of new signings.
"I think the team is playing better and better. Today we managed to take our chances which meant the losses of concentration we sometimes have didn't cost us," said the Italian.
"In the dressing room we only talk about our opponents, not what might happen tomorrow or in January.
"Everyone needs to do his duty, that is a sign of maturity and each one of these players has that."
De Canio sprung a surprise by sticking with on-loan defender Bob Malcolm, who was on Friday suspended by parent club Derby over a drink-drive charge.
Malcolm's spell with Rangers comes to an end on New Year's Day, when he will have to head back to Pride Park.
"Derby have suspended Bob from when he returns," added De Canio.
"We haven't condemned Bob. We asked him to explain himself and his explanation satisfied us."
Asked if he would attempt to extend the Scot's stint at Loftus Road, De Canio said: "We will discuss that after January 1." Sporting Life

Rangers ran riot at Vicarage Road, as goals from Martin Rowlands (2), Damion Stewart and Akos Buzsaky clinched a stunning 4-2 victory against Championship front-runners Watford.
The R's stormed into a three goal lead at the break.
Rowlands opened the scoring from the spot, before he turned provider to set up Stewart who headed home to make it two.
The outstanding Rowlands capped a cameo individual display with a third from Angelo Balanta's threaded through ball, and although a Lee Camp own goal temporarily allowed the Hornets back into the tie early in the second period, substitute Akos Buzsaky guaranteed the win eight minutes from time.
Remarkably, there was still time for R's old-boy Danny Shittu to notch a late second for the Hornets, but it was Rangers' day - and how!
R's First Team coach Luigi De Canio made wholesale changes for the trip to Vicarage Road.
Under-18 hot-shot Balanta came in for his full first team debut, while Dexter Blackstock, Marc Nygaard and Stewart all returned to the starting XI.
Rowan Vine, Buzsaky and Simon Walton all dropped to the bench, while Mikele Leigertwood was absent, at the start of his four match ban.
Watford boss Adrian Boothroyd left Marlon King out of the starting line-up, while former R's defender Shittu also had to make do with a place on the substitutes' bench.
In a frantic opening, it was Watford who spurned the first opportunity in the fourth minute.
Nathan Ellington rose unmarked at the back post to meet Jobi McAnuff's cross, but his header lacked power and direction, as it trickled past Lee Camp's left hand upright.
Despite the Hornets' fast start, it was Rangers who opened the scoring in the 13th minute, after referee Mr Foy awarded a penalty.
Balanta's fine through ball landed in front of Blackstock, who was sent crashing to ground by Jordan Stewart inside the box.
Rowlands stepped up from 12-yards and made no mistake, sending Richard Lee the wrong way, for his third goal of the campaign.
Watford should have been on level terms six minutes later though, only for Ellington to blast high and wide from eight yards out.
At the other end, Blackstock's scuffed volley was tipped wide by Lee, but there was nothing the home custodian could do to prevent the visitors from doubling their advantage from the resultant corner.
Rowlands' set-piece was flighted towards the edge of the six-yard box and Stewart rose unchallenged to glance his header in off the underside of the bar.
The home faithful were silenced, but the same could not be said for the supporters in the away end, who immediately broke into a vocal rendition of "2-0 to the Billionaires."
Lloyd Doyley was the recipient of one of the craziest bookings of the season as the half reached its conclusion.
The Hornets full-back appeared to hear a whistle as he retrieved possession inside his own half and inexplicably picked the ball up. Mr Foy had very little choice but to book the player, who was perhaps lucky to stay on the park, having thrown the ball away too.
Rangers finished the half with a flourish, as Rowlands bagged his second of the match to sensationally put the R's 3-0 up at the break.
The goal had class stamped all over it, as Adam Bolder, Nygaard and the tricky Balanta exchanged intricate passes deep inside the Watford half, before Rowlands took one touch to control the ball and then thrashed a fearsome left footed drive past the sprawling Lee.
Undeterred, the Hornets came within a lick of paint of pulling a goal back in the 43rd minute, when Lee Williamson smashed a 20-yard strike off the post, before Camp smothered the ball to safety.
Buoyed by the introduction of Shittu at the break, Watford pulled a goal back in rather bizarre circumstances in the 52nd minute.
The former R's defender rose tallest to meet McAnuff's corner and as Zesh Rehman attempted to hack the ball off the line, the unfortunate Camp saw the ball ricochet off his foot and into the back of the net.
Rowlands' performance went from strength to strength as the half progressed, with the combative midfielder leading by example alongside the ever-efficient Bolder.
De Canio made his first change of the afternoon soon after, as Vine replaced Gareth Ainsworth, whose first half head injury led to him wearing a Terry Butcher style bandage for his hour long stint.
Boothroyd responded by throwing on King, and the master poacher nearly made an immediate impact.
Darius Henderson's lay-off fell invitingly for the Watford number nine, who fired a rising shot inches over the angle of post and crossbar.
Camp was in the right place, at the right time, to deny King again in the 78th minute, before Buzsaky put the icing on the cake for the R's with a fourth goal three minutes later.
A neat passing move eventually saw the ball bounce to Rowlands, who played in the Magical Magyar.
Buzsaky's sublime close control saw him drag the ball past Lee, before he calmly slotted the ball home from an acute angle.
Shittu ensured a nervy finale when he volleyed the ball past the exposed Camp to make it 4-2, but it mattered little, as the R's clinched a handsome away victory, at the home of one of their nearest rivals.
Watford: Lee, Jackson (Shittu 46), Stewart, DeMerit, Francis, Henderson, McAnuff, Doyley (O'Toole 80), Williamson, Ellington (King 69), Smith.
Subs: Mariappa, Ainsworth.
Scorers: Camp (o.g) 52, Shittu 85
Bookings: Doyley 34, Smith 75
Red Cards:
QPR: Camp, Barker, Stewart, Bolder, Blackstock, Ainsworth (Vine 63), Rowlands, Malcolm, Rehman, Nygaard (Walton 92), Balanta (Buzsaky 74).
Subs: Cole, Moore.
Scorers: Rowlands 13 (pen) & 40, Stewart 29, Buzsaky 82
Bookings: Nygaard 44, Barker 60, Bolder 87
Red Cards:
Referee: Mr C Foy
Attendance: 18, 698

De Canio's Official Site Comments - SMILES BETTER!
Luigi De Canio praised the R's fighting spirit and determination following the 4-2 victory against high-flying Watford.
Goals from Martin Rowlands (2), Damion Stewart and Akos Buzsaky clinched a stunning win for the R's on their travels.
"I'm very proud of the players. There is still more to come from this group, but this is a significant victory," he told www.qpr.co.uk.
"The result reflected the performance and that hasn't necessarily always been the case in recent weeks, when we've not had the rub of the green with some big decisions.
"We've been playing a lot better in recent weeks and this was a result we'd been threatening.
"The players are responding to what I am trying to install here and we're progressing."
De Canio also shed some light on potential new arrivals in the January transfer window, commenting: "We will be investing in new players in January.
"There are still certain areas of the side that need strengthening and we will do everything we can to bring players in that will improve the playing personnel." QPR

SPORTING LIFE/PA Sport - Andy Sims - Watford 2 QPR 4
Watford's woeful home form plumbed new depths as Martin Rowlands, Damion Stewart and Akos Buzsaky fired lowly QPR to an amazing win at Vicarage Road.
The Hornets, who were nine points clear at the top of the Championship a couple of months ago, are now without a home win since October 20.
And Adrian Boothroyd's men self-destructed again in spectacular fashion from the moment they conceded an early penalty which Rowlands converted.
Stewart headed home his fourth goal of the season on the half-hour, and Rowlands doubled his tally to put Rangers 3-0 up before half-time.
Damien Francis struck after the break as the Hornets briefly threatened a second-half comeback, but substitute Buzsaky hit a fourth for the visitors before Danny Shittu's late goal.
Watford have now won just three of their last 12 games and are in danger of slipping off the pace.
For Rangers, the future looks bright after gaining another three points ahead of their anticipated spree in the January sales.
Boothroyd opted to drop top-scorer Marlon King to the bench, while Rangers chief Luigi De Canio left out Buzsaky in favour of 17-year-old Angelo Balanta.
De Canio sprung a further surprise by sticking with on-loan defender Bob Malcolm, despite the Scot being suspended by parent club Derby over a drink-drive charge.
Watford gifted Rangers a 13th-minute lead. Nathan Ellington had come close to putting the hosts ahead with an early header, but they went behind when Balanta's fine cross-field pass sent Dexter Blackstock charging towards goal, only to be felled by Jordan Stewart in the area.
Referee Chris Foy had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Rowlands stepped up to blast the penalty past Hornets keeper Richard Lee.
The visitors struck again in the 29th minute after Blackstock's snap-shot had been palmed behind by Lee.
Stewart met Rowlands' corner with a firm header which flew past Lee and in off the underside of the crossbar.
With Watford's frustration mounting, Lloyd Doyley earned a bizarre booking when he appeared to deliberately handle the ball inside the centre-circle.
And the shellshocked hosts found themselves three down when Rowlands burst into the area and fired past the helpless Lee in the 40th minute.
Lee Williamson rattled the post as Watford staged something of a rally, but they trudged off to a chorus of boos at the interval.
The comeback looked set to begin in earnest, however, when Francis finished from close range after his initial header had been blocked on the line seven minutes into the second half.
Tommy Smith and Darius Henderson shot wide as Watford poured forward before Boothroyd threw on King.
The 10-goal striker was immediately in the thick of the action, firing narrowly over from the edge of the area.
But with Watford leaving gaps at the back, substitute Buzsaky stole in and rounded Lee before firing home an angled drive.
Rangers old boy Shittu poked in a late second for Watford but Boothroyd's jittery side were beaten. Sporting Life

AIDY Boothroyd struggled to hide his frustration after the final whistle as his side extended their winless streak at home to seven games.
Three sucker punches in the first half from a struggling Queens Park Rangers side were enough to put the Hornets out of sight, despite a second half rally from the home team.
"Another home defeat is disappointing," said Aidy, "yet despite the result I think in many ways there were a lot of bright spots there. The stats from the first half alone say that QPR got into our half four times and scored three times.
"Massive domination for us in the first half saw us start as well as we have this season, but go on to find ourselves three nil down at half-time because we just can't defend, because we don't do the fundamentals well and we get caught out with a simple run in between the centre back and the left back; that in itself is disappointing.
Nathan Ellington
"Sometimes when you look to chase the game you can get caught out on a counter attack and that's exactly what happened and we ended up getting done, there you have it."
Boothroyd made one tactical change at half-time bringing on former Ranger Dan Shittu for Matt Jackson. The move yielded a goal from the domineering centre-back, but was the boss prepared to make more changes at the break?
"I was, yes, but I thought there was enough in there and that is was just the defensive frailties that cost us; some of our attacking play was very good in the first half and on a another day we would have scored, but we didn't.
"I think the two wide players did very well, and I couldn't say anybody had an absolute nightmare, but in the second half I had to make changes."
The Hornets remain second in the table but Boothroyd is not brushing anything under the carpet, despite the elevated position.
"We can't keep relying on everybody else, I've got some work to do, the players have got work to so and our home form has got to improve drastically." Watford

THREE first half goals from Rangers, the first from the penalty spot and all three against the run of play, gave the visitors an undeserved lead at the break.
Martin Rowlands' brace and Damion Stewart's header saw the Hornets shell-shocked and unable to recover.
Lee Camp's own goal did little to turn Watford's fortunes as a Jay DeMerit own goal at the other end with ten minutes to go killed the game off, despite Dan Shittu's consolation just minutes later. Killed off indeed in a game which Watford had strangely bossed from start to finish.
It was second top against second bottom and Aidy Boothroyd chose to make two changes to the side which shared the spoils with Cardiff City on Boxing Day.
Darius Henderson and Lee Williamson came into the starting line up at the expense of Marlon King and John Joe O'Toole.

It was Watford who had the first of the chances in front of goal. Jobi McAnuff swung the ball into the far post where Nathan Ellington was waiting, but sadly his weak effort missed the target and bobbled past the post.

Lee Williamson

There was a scare for the Hornets in the fifth minute when Ellington then went down holding his calf, but after the magic sponge had done its job, he was back in the thick of the action.

It seemed that most of the talking points were injuries as Richard Lee's low dive at the feet of Dexter Blackstock saw him grounded and with no keeper on the bench there was a tense few moments to see if he would recover.

Tommy Smith then attempted to carve out an effort with one of his stereotypical by-line runs, but the throng of QPR players occupying the box made it impossible for him to work his magic.

Rangers remained camped in their own half as one after the other, it seemed as though all of the Watford players had at least one attempt on goal.

Damien Francis' effort went straight down the middle, but wasn't placed well enough to trouble Camp.

Tommy Smith

With eleven minutes gone, the referee pointed to the spot when Dexter Blackstock was brought down in the box by Jordan Stewart. When Rowlands stepped up and sent Lee the wrong way, to say it was an injustice would be somewhat of an understatement.

Normal service was resumed from there on in as Watford returned to battering the QPR goal. Ellington blazed Williamson's ball over as he shot on the turn and then Gareth Ainsworth returned to action sporting a Terry Butcher head bandage.

Then followed a succession of shots from Watford men, Henderson, Smith, Ellington and then Francis all rained shots in on the QPR goal - how they were staying out one can only wonder.

With 29 minutes gone, Lee had his first open play work to do, palming away Blackstock's effort for a corner. From the ensuing set piece, Stewart rose to head home into the roof of the net.

Marlon King

This was a 2-0 massacre - a massacre from Watford however. They say football's a funny old game. Not so funny when you're on the receiving end.

Matt Jackson was the next to try his luck, but his header took a deflection and sailed wide for a corner. One after the other the Hornets lined up to attack Camp's goal and a combination of poor finishing and dogged defending kept the Golden Boys at bay.

With their third attack, Rangers went 3-0 up. Rowlands gathered his brace with a superb finish, shooting past Lee from just inside the box after neat build up play involving youngster Angelo Balanta and Adam Bolder.

Camp then has to go full stretch to deny Williamson from scoring from outside the area, batting his effort away for a corner.

Half time couldn't come quick enough for Watford as it looked as though they would need a serious talking to.

The major change made at the break was the introduction of Shittu for Matt Jackson. The arrival of the former Rangers man saw clapping from all corners of the ground.

With five minutes of the second half gone, Watford gave themselves a chance of getting back into the game. Doyley's cross had to be cut out by Stewart and from the resulting corner, Zesh Rehman's hashed clearance seemed to ricochet off of Camp and into the back of the net.

Darius Henderson

What had started out as a game with Watford playing their football steadily, hoping the goals would come, descended into desperate battling from both teams. Watford knew they were on the brink of nicking something if they kept it up and Rangers were even more dogged knowing that the game could slip away from them if they weren't careful.

The outcome of which saw both teams fighting scrappily out of frustration and desperation on Watford's part and fear on QPR's.

With 68 minutes gone, Boothroyd introduced King into the fold in the hopes that he would find the back of the net. He every nearly did as his first shot flew just over the bar.

Henderson was the next to go close as he somehow chested the ball into Camp's hands.

The Watford battering ram didn't let up and Camp's hands were stung again as McAnuff searched for his third goal in as many outings.

But when it's a bad day at the office, it really is. As substitute Akos Buzsaky searched for the goal, DeMerit tried desperately to deny him and in doing so, stuck the ball into the back of his own net as he tried to turn it away from goal.

Shittu struck back with seven minutes to go against his old club when he latched on to a knock down in the box and drilled home in dramatic fashion.

Blackstock had a great chance to grab a fifth but he dragged his effort well wide after showing a fresh pair of legs to the Watford defence.

A bad day indeed and as the clock ran down, Watford were left bitterly disappointed from this unfathomable game.

WATFORD (4-4-2): Lee; Doyley (O'Toole 79), DeMerit (c), Jackson (Shittu 46), Stewart; Smith, Williamson, Francis, McAnuff; Henderson, Ellington (King 68). Subs not used: Mariappa, Ainsworth.

QPR (4-4-2): Camp; Barker, Malcolm, Rehman, Stewart; Bolder (c), Rowlands, Ainsworth (Vine 63), Balanta (Buzsaky 74); Blackstock, Nygaard (Walton 90). Subs not used: Cole (gk), Moore.

BOOKINGS: WATFORD; Doyley (unsporting behaviour, 34), Smith (75). QPR; Nygaard (foul, 44), Barker (dissent, 55), Bolder (85).


GOALS: WATFORD; Camp OG, 52, Shittu 83. QPR; Rowlands 12, 38 Stewart 29, DeMerit OG 80.


ATTENDANCE: 18,698 (2,279 QPR supporters) Watford

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