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Saturday, February 09, 2008

QPR Win at Southampton...Now Six Points From Playoff Spot: Reports

QPR travelled to Southampton today and won 3-2. QPR are now 6 points away from a playoff spot (and 8 away from a relegation spot! Southampton went ahead in the first minute. Rowlands equalized and Agyemang scored with a goal in each half to make it 3-1. Southampton scored a second, a couple of minutes from time. Showing the new strength of the bench, Buzsaky came on for Lee, Blackstock for Agyemang and Leigertwood for Ephraim. This was Southampton's seventh home defeat of the season.
Teams:QPR Camp, Mancienne, Rehman, Connolly, Delaney, Rowlands, Mahon, Lee, Ephraim, Vine, Agyemang. Subs: Blackstock, Leigertwood, Stewart, Buzsaky, Pickens.
Saints: Davis, Thomas, Powell, Davies, Wright, Hammill, Euell, Safri, Surman, John, Wright-Phillips. Subs: Saganowski, Idiakez, Viafara, Lallana, Bialkowski.

Updated League Table
Watford 31 55
West Brom 31 54
Bristol C 31 54
Stoke 31 53
Charlton 31 50
Ipswich 31 45
Crystal P 31 45
Hull 30 45
Burnley 31 44
Cardiff 31 43
Wolves 31 43
Norwich 31 41
Plymouth 30 40
Barnsley 31 40
QPR 31 39

Luigi De Canio failed to hide his delight, as the R's clinched a deserved 3-2 victory against Southampton at St Mary's.
Skipper Martin Rowlands and in-form frontman Patrick Agyemang (2) bagged the all-important goals, as the R's moved eight points clear of the dreaded drop-zone.
"We're no longer the ugly sisters of the Championship," De Canio told www.qpr.co.uk.
"We were bottom when we arrived and now we're in a far healthier position in the standings."
De Canio added: "The early goal was a setback, but the response from the players was first class. We regained the right mentality which is excellent.
"We'll continue to take each games as it comes, but we're heading in the right direction and that is very pleasing.
"The hunger within this group of players is exceptional and that fills me with great belief."
De Canio praised the contribution of hit-man Agyemang, who continued his rich vein of form with a two-goal salvo.
"He probably wishes he'd have met me earlier on in his career," laughed De Canio.
"He should thank me! In all seriousness though, he's been great, as have all the new signings." QPR

Patrick Agyemang had QPR boss Luigi De Canio purring after his double sank calamitous Southampton 3-2 at St Mary's.
Agyemang, one of 10 new signings brought in by moneybags Rangers, had already added to Martin Rowlands' equaliser with a close-range strike before a horrible mix-up between goalkeeper Kelvin Davis and Jermaine Wright killed Saints off.
Lee Camp's long punt over the top caught Wright napping and with Davis in no man's land, the hapless defender kneed the ball over his goalkeeper to allow Agyemang to nip in and tap into an empty net.
That goal took Agyemang's tally since joining from Preston to seven goals in five Coca-Cola Championship games.
But Italian De Canio, who only took over in October, admitted the credit for his astute signing lay elsewhere.
He said: "Patrick is doing really well, along with the rest of the team. He came to my attention because Gianni Paladini, our chairman, suggested him to me as I was not familiar with a lot of English players.

"Southampton are a good team with good players but the behaviour of the QPR players, even after we let in an early goal, was excellent. We regained the right mentality and dominated the game."...
Rangers are now up to 15th but De Canio, despite the financial clout of owners Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone, is refusing to talk up their chances of a late surge into the play-offs.
"With all the changes, our main objective is to become a real team at the right level in the Championship," he said.
"We still do not have the continuity to make us a really important team so we will look to get as many points as possible and grow as a team.
"The owners are rich, but the club is not. They are entrepreneurs, so they don't throw their money away."

Saints, who this week confirmed Jason Dodd and John Gorman will be in charge until the end of the season, find themselves moving in the opposite direction having slipped to 18th.
"It's a worry that we are not scoring goals," said Dodd.
"We don't seem to be punishing teams and we made three individual errors, which cost us the match.
"I'm not going to blame individuals, we are collectively to blame." Sporting Life

SPORTING LIFE By Andy Sims, PA Sport
Patrick Agyemang took advantage of some comical defending to take his goal tally to seven in five Coca-Cola Championship games as QPR sank Southampton at St Mary's.
The red-hot striker, one of 10 new signings brought in by moneybags Rangers, had already added to Martin Rowlands' equaliser with a close-range strike before a horrible mix-up between goalkeeper Kelvin Davis and Jermaine Wright killed Saints off.
Lee Camp's long punt over the top caught Wright napping and, with Davis in no man's land, the hapless defender kneed the ball over his goalkeeper to allow Agyemang to nip in and tap into an empty net.
Darren Powell had put Saints ahead after Rangers, who were without a point on the road this season, conjured up their own defensive howler in the opening minute.
But Rowlands dragged them level with his fifth of the season before Agyemang, who scored twice for Preston against Saints earlier this season, repeated the trick as Rangers leapfrogged their hosts in the table.
Saints captain Youssef Safri was sent off 12 minutes from time before Stern John grabbed a late consolation.
It had all looked so different for Southampton when they went ahead with barely 60 seconds on the clock.
Centre-half Matthew Connolly left a harmless-looking through pass to Camp, but the Rangers goalkeeper hesitated and when he did finally come to collect, he inadvertently slid out of the penalty area with the ball in his grasp.
Adam Hammill chipped the resulting free-kick into a crowded goalmouth, from where big centre-half Powell bundled the ball over the line.
Rangers recovered their composure and began to look a potent attacking threat, skipper Rowlands fizzing a stunning 20-yard volley inches over the crossbar.
But Saints missed two gilt-edged chances to put themselves out of sight within in the space of a minute.
First Andrew Surman sent Bradley Wright-Phillips through on goal, but the striker poked a weak shot straight at Camp.
Worse was to follow seconds later when Jason Euell robbed Hogan Ephraim on the left wing and crossed to John, who, without a Rangers player anywhere near him, ballooned the ball high over the bar from eight yards.
Saints were made to pay in the 38th minute when a swift Rangers counter-attack saw Rowan Vine feed Rowlands, who neatly tucked the ball under Davis.
And moments before the interval, Wright misjudged Ephraim's deep cross and Agyemang was free to sidefoot the ball home.
Saints substitute Marek Saganowski just failed to get on the end of Andrew Davies' cross as the hosts pushed for a leveller.
But their hopes were ended on the hour when Agyemang pounced on Wright and Davis' shocking mix-up, strolled towards the empty net, stopped the ball on the goalline and backheeled it in.
Safri then compounded Saints' misery with a late challenge on Agyemang which earned him a straight red card, before John swept home a loose ball in stoppage-time. Sporting Life

"...Camp carried the ball outside his area as he slid in to gather after just 15 seconds. He escaped a card but proper punishment was exacted as Saints took a first minute lead.
Hammill whipped an awkward ball in from the left edge of the area 10 yards from the byline and POWELL just got there ahead of Davies to bundle the ball over the line from close range. Replays suggested Delaney may have got a touch.
Safri headed behind to cut out a dangerous cross from the left by Ephraim and Euell powerfully nodded away the corner on the right.
John turned an thumped a trademark ambitious volley from 25 yards but it flew wide of the left post and then Wright-Phillips could not steer on target from the left of goal.
Ephraim poked an 18-yard shot tamely through to Davis. Hammill's quick chipped free-kick picked out Thomas in space on the right but his volleyed cross drifted beyond the far post.
QPR were looking a much better team than they had done when Saints won 3-0 with ease at Loftus Road and Davies had to head behind from a long throw with Delaney nodding the left-wing corner wide at the far post.
Safri whipped in a corner from the left but the twisting header by Wright-Phillips flew past the far post.
Rangers almost got level on 22 minutes when Rowlands let fly with a thumping 20-yard volley which flashed inches over the bar.
Saints might have had a second on 34 minutes when Surman prodded through the inside left channel for Wright-Phillips who beat the offside trap. He produced a neat step-over to get through but under pressure from Mancienne he toe-poked the shot against the keeper from a tight angle.
There was an almost unbelievable miss a minute later when Euell won the ball from Delaney and squared across the box for the unmarked John who was all alone around the penalty spot.
He had time to take a touch and steady himself but with the goal at his mercy he ballooned way over the bar to the astonishment of the fans ready to acclaim a goal.
Saints kept up the pressure and corner on the right by Safri was met by a thumping header by Davies only for Camp to produce a fingertip save to his left.
Saints paid for those misses when QPR levelled out of the blue on 38 minutes. Vine made a dangerous diagonal run across the top of the box from left to right before prodding through to ROWLANDS breaking through and he tucked the ball home from 15 yards.
Just as two extra minutes were indicated, Rangers took the lead. Delaney drove a long diagonal ball over from the left. It dropped behind Wright and AGYEMANG ghosted round the back to sidefoot home first-time from six yards.
Half-time: Saints 1 QPR 2
Both sides made a switch at the start of the second half. Saints sent on Saganowski for Hammill while QPR replaced Lee with Buzsaky.
Saganowski found Surman in space on the left but his low cross was cleared at the near post. Saints made a second change on 52 minutes as Viafara came on for Thomas who presumably had picked up a knock.
Saganowski just failed to get a touch as he hurled himself at a Viafara cross which dropped over Rehman.
Buzsaky was booked on 58 minutes for tugging down Surman on the left but the free-kick by Safri was noded wide of the near post by Davies under pressure.
The visitors stretched their lead on the hour through a dreadful mix-up at the back as a long ball was pumped forward.
Wright tried to flick back to Davis who had come out of goal to collect the ball which ran for AGYEMANG who had time to walk it into the unguarded net.
Powell was booked for a foul and from a quickly-taken free-kick Viafara's low centre was scooped over his own bar by Connolly.
Davis snatched Powell's header away from the lurking Agyemang before Lallana replaced Wright-Phillips on 67 minutes.
Camp made a brilliant close-range save from John but play was pulled back because Saints had taken a free-kick too quickly.
Lallana wriggled forward but dragged his 20-yard shot past the base of the right post. John got behind the back line and unselfishly puled back for Saganowski who scooped over from the edge of the area on 73 minutes.
Surman got the better of Mancienne and whipped in a dangerous cross-shot which Camp did well to tip over with 15 minutes on the clock.
Saints were reduced to 10 men 13 minutes from time when Safri clattered in Agyemang who had just got there first to a 50-50 ball. The Moroccan caught the striker on the knee and was shown his second red card of the season, meaning an extra game on top of the automatic three-match ban.
He misses the midweek trip to Stoke, the FA Cup tie at Bristol Rovers, the home game against Plymouth and the away match at Scunthorpe.
Agyemang limped off to be replaced by Blackstock. And the Londoners soon made their final switch sending on Leigertwood for Ephraim with seven minutes on the clock.
Blackstock tripped his way in on goal from the right but rolled the ball across the six-yard line with Vine unable to get a touch.
In the final minute of the 90 Viafara swung a 25-yard shot well wide. Four minutes were added and in the first of those Saints pulled one back.
Viafara's ball in from the right was neatly controlled by JOHN who turned past Mancienne at the far post and steered the ball just inside the right post.
But it was too little too late and despite fierce pressure which included Davis going up for a free-kick, QPR held on and almost got a fourth when Vine rolled an 18-yard shot wide of the left post.
Full-time: Saints 2 QPR 3 - Southampton

History repeated itself at St Mary's, as Rangers came back from a goal down to clinch all three points against managerless Southampton.
Following last season's comeback victory on the South Coast, the R's again left the home faithful stunned, as a brace from Patrick Agyemang and a sublime Martin Rowlands goal wiped out Darren Powell's first minute strike.
The victory - Rangers' first on their travels since the turn of the year - again owed much to Agyemang, who enhanced his ever-glowing reputation with a deadly double; his second of the season against the Saints, following his two goal salvo in early October for former Club Preston North End.

To compound the hosts' woes, skipper Youssef Safri was shown a straight red card in the closing stages for a reckless challenge on Agyemang and although Stern John bagged a late second for the hosts, it was Rangers' day - and deservedly so.

With one eye on Tuesday's fixture against Burnley at Loftus Road, Luigi De Canio rested international duo Damion Stewart and Akos Buzsaky after their midweek ventures abroad.

As a consequence, the R's First Team Coach recalled Matthew Connolly and Kieran Lee to the starting XI, while Saints old-boy Dexter Blackstock was again resigned to a place amongst the R's substitutes.

Southampton's temporary managerial duo of John Gorman and Jason Dodd opted for the pace and power combination of Bradley Wright-Phillips and John in attack, while former Rangers loanee Inigo Idiakez was named on the Saints bench.

In a carbon copy start to last season's fixture at St Mary's, Rangers fell a goal behind inside the opening exchanges.

There was barely a minute on the clock when a mix up in communications between Lee Camp and Connolly saw the former skid out of his penalty area with the ball firmly in his grasp.

From the resultant free-kick, the unmarked Powell reacted quickest to meet Adam Hammill's teasing set-piece, firing the ball home from inside the six-yard box.

Undeterred, Rangers soon found their feet, with Rowan Vine testing Saints custodian Kelvin Davis in the sixth minute.

At the other end, John tried his luck from distance with a volley that flew well wide of Camp's right hand post, before Hogan Ephraim's weak prodded effort was easily gathered by Davis.

It was livewire skipper Rowlands who came closest to putting the R's on terms midway through the half though, when his stunning 25-yard volley flew inches past the stanchion.

Rangers continued to pose the greater attacking threat as the half progressed, with Damien Delaney stooping to head Ephraim's corner wide on the half hour.

Wright-Phillips squandered a golden opportunity to double the hosts' advantage when he fired straight at Camp, but if the Saints faithful thought that miss was guilt-edged, what followed sixty seconds later was simply unbelievable.

Ephraim's weak back pass was seized upon by Hammill and when he squared the ball for John, the Trinidadian hit-man inexplicably fired the ball into row Z, from little more than eight yards out.

Rangers' response to their reprieve was simply emphatic though.

Ephraim robbed Hammill out wide and when he slid the ball into Vine, the former Birmingham City striker did fantastically well to evade two strong challenges, before sliding a neat pass into the path of the roaming Rowlands, who finished with aplomb, slipping the ball beneath Davis.

It was a remarkable team goal and no less that the R's deserved for their first half display.

Buoyed by their equaliser, the R's went in search of a second goal, and they were rewarded on the stroke of half-time, thanks to yet another piece of textbook finishing from in-form Agyemang.

Ephraim played provider this time, sending in an inviting far post cross, which Agyemang - with the confidence of a player enjoying the richest goalscoring form of his career - volleyed past the exposed Davis.

De Canio replaced the hardworking Lee with Buzsaky at the break, while Saints managerial duo Gorman and Dodd introduced fans favourite Marek Saganowski at the expense of Hammill.

Buzsaky's first major contribution saw him pick up a fifth booking of the season - and a resultant one-match suspension - for a foul on Saganowski.

But that mattered little moments later, as Rangers - albeit slightly against the run of play - added a comical third.

Camp's long pump forward caused mayhem in the Saints half and when Jermaine Wright opted to knee the ball back to Davis, the keeper was in no man's land and Agyemang had the simplest of tasks, cheekily flicking the ball home for his seventh goal in just five league outings.

Southampton's frustrations were there for all to see and when Safri scythed down Agyemang with a knee high challenge 12 minutes from time, referee Mr Taylor had little alternative than to show the midfielder a red card.

As the clock ticked down, chants of 'there's only one Ray Jones' reverberated around St Mary's in recognition of the late strikers' winner at the same stadium last season, and despite John pulling a goal back in the dying moments, Rangers were good value for their victory.

Southampton: Davis, Thomas (Viafara 53), Powell, Wright-Phillips (Lallana 68), Wright, Surman, Hammill (Saganowski 46), Euell, Safri, John, Davies.

Subs: Bialkowski, Idiakez.

Scorers: Powell 1, John 90

Bookings: Powell 63

Red Cards: Safri 78

QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mahon, Mancienne, Rowlands, Connolly, Agyemang (Blackstock 79), Lee (Buzsaky 46), Ephraim (Leigertwood 83), Vine, Rehman.

Subs: Stewart, Pickens.

Scorers: Rowlands 39, Agyemang 45 & 60

Bookings: Buzsaky 58, Delaney 69

Red Cards:

Referee: Mr A Taylor

Attendance: 22, 505

[Note, at the beginning of September, QPR, then managed by John Gregory, played Southampton at Loftus Road, in the immediate aftermath of the death of Ray Jones and lost 0-3. QPR's team that day: Camp, Curtis, Stewart, Mancienne (Cullip 84), Barker, Rowlands, Leigertwood, Bolder, Ephraim, Blackstock (Nygaard 69), Sahar (Nardiello 69). Subs Not Used: Cole, Bignot.]

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