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Friday, February 22, 2008

QPR vs Sheffield United: United's Last Visit to Loftus Road

QPR play Sheffield United at Loftus Road on Saturday. Last month, QPR "controversially" lost at Sheffield United 2-1. Match Reports
Sheffield United now under the management of Kevin Blackwell who recently replaced Bryan Robson (Who himself replaced Neil Warnock in the summer)- Squad -- Results -- Sheffield United, like QPR have 39 points. United's away record is: 4 wins, 5 draws, 7 defeats. League Table

Update: QPR Official Site - 14,500 & COUNTING!
Posted on: Fri 22 Feb 2008
Over 14,500 tickets have already been snapped up for tomorrow's crucial Championship clash against Sheffield United at Loftus Road. Supporters are advised to buy tickets in advance. QPR v Sheffield United - Saturday 23rd February 2008 - Kick Off 3:00pm.
East and West Paddocks - SOLD OUT. Limited availability in all other areas. Visit the Ticket Office now, or click here for further details. QPR

As the Sheffield United site notes, the last time QPR played Sheffield United at Loftus Road was 2 1/2 years ago: August 13 2005. That was a day when various off-the-field events and alleged events occurred (and also the day when the 1967 squad was being Feted.) QPR, in their second season back in this division, were then managed by Ian Holloway. QPR beat top of the table United 2-1 with goals from Marc Bircham and a debut goal from sub, Steffan Moore. QPR's "Star Man" was Georges Santos. Of the 16 QPR players featuring, only Ainsworth and Cole are still with the club.
QPR: Royce, Bignot, Shittu, Santos, Rose, Ainsworth (Brown 69), Bircham, Doherty (Moore 39), Rowlands (Bean 87), Gallen, Furlong. - Unused: Cole, Shimmin.
August 2005
Goals from Marc Bircham and Stefan Moore were enough for the R's to record a 2-1 victory over the Blades in the last clash between the clubs at Loftus Road in August 2005, despite Steven Kabba netting deep into injury-time.
After a goalless first-half it was Bircham who opened the scoring with a rasping drive from outside the area that soared past Kenny and into the net.
As the fourth official indicated that there would be five minutes of added time, Moore broke clear for Rangers after a slip from Ifill.
Despite a loose touch, Rose managed to feed it back into the path of the striker who beat Kenny with a cool finish.
There was still time for United to get a consolation though when Kabba converted from close range after Jagielka's good work from a hopeful free-kick:
QPR: Royce, Bignot, Shittu, Santos, Rose, Ainsworth (Brown 69), Bircham, Doherty (Moore 39), Rowlands (Bean 87), Gallen, Furlong. - Unused: Cole, Shimmin.
[Sheffield] United: Kenny, Bromby, Morgan, Jagielka, Harley (Gillespie 74), Ifill, Nalis (Short 74), Montgomery, Kozluk, Shipperley (Kabba 78), Webber.
Unused: Quinn, Shaw.
Bookings: Bircham (QPR) Bromby, Morgan, Shipperley (United)
Attendance: 13,497
Referee: S Tanner (Somerset)
Sheffield United

"...Marc Bircham is one of those fortunate individuals who plays for the club he has supported with a lifelong passion. He wasn’t born when the likes of Rodney Marsh won QPR the League Cup as Third Division giantkillers almost 40 years ago and while the 1967 vintage were taking a bow at half-time, Bircham was locked in the dressing room being berated by manager Ian Holloway for being too anxious throughout a forgettable first half.
However, Bircham is well versed with the exploits of his elders and was clearly aware of their presence. Within 11 minutes of the restart the midfielder, who has been known to parade his devotion by dying his hair blue and white, was celebrating a goal that any QPR veterans would have been proud to score.
Then, with the match eventually won, Bircham went on to show the confrontational side to his character by reacting so angrily to a verbal barb from Sheffield United’s Chris Morgan that the visitors’ captain, seeking further retribution, had to be manhandled off the pitch by his manager, Neil Warnock.
The fact that QPR had not only taken the points but leapfrogged Sheffield United in the Championship table after the Yorkshire team started the day in top position, clearly fuelled Morgan’s temper.
Warnock maintained the entire contest was a disappointment, but his bitterness is understandable because his team did not possess the guile to exploit the opposition’s errors. QPR in contrast possess that quality as scorers Bircham and substitute Stefan Moore displayed.
Moore, a summer free transfer from Aston Villa, was introduced as a 36th minute replacement for fellow new arrival Tom Doherty who limped off with an injured knee. Moore’s pace and attack was a constant threat to United and he was integral to the opening goal. Initially Martin Rowlands raided down the left, Moore tried his luck in a more central position and when Phil Jagielka could only half clear the ball, Bircham steadied himself to drive a shot past goalkeeper Paddy Kenny from 20 yards.
Michael Tonge was badly missed in the Sheffield midfield and Frenchman Lilian Nalis had the sort of afternoon he could have categorised as tres terrible, but it was another summer signing, Paul Ifill, who suffered the brunt of Warnock’s displeasure. The former Millwall man appeared to lose his footing as he shaped to shoot early in the second half and sliced a goalscoring opportunity wide. But when he slipped and allowed Moore a free run at goal, Warnock decided an investigation was necessary.
“I was convinced he was wearing rubber studs, which is ridiculous given pitches in this day and age, but I was right,” revealed Warnock. “He won’t be wearing them again.”
Moore’s footwear was suitably stable for him to cross to Matthew Rose, who returned the ball for Moore to shoot home his first goal for his new club. Substitute Steve Kabba got one goal back for United from close range late in added time.
STAR MAN: Georges Santos (QPR)
Player ratings. QPR: Royce 6, Bignot 6, Shittu 8, Santos 9, Rose 7, Ainsworth 6 (Brown 69min 6), Bircham 7, Doherty 5 (Moore 86min, 5, Rowlands 7 (Bean 86min, 5), Gallen 7, Furlong 6
Sheffield United: Kenny 6, Bromby 5, Morgan 6, Jagielka 6, Kozluk 5, Ifill 6, Montgomery 5, Nalis 4 (Short 73min, 5), Harley 5 (Gillespie 73min, 5), Webber 7, Shipperley 5 (Kabba 77min, 7)
Scorers: QPR: Bircham 56, Moore 90
Sheffield United: Kabba 90
Referee: S Tanner
Attendance: 13,497 Sunday Times

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