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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

QPR's Crash at Home to Burnley - Reports and Comments

QPR went down 2-4 at home to Burnley after being 2-0. With 14 games remaining, QPR remain 9 points away from a playoff spot - and 7 points out of relation trio. Updated table

Luigi De Canio failed to hide his disappointment, as Rangers threw away a two goal lead to lose 4-2 against play-off hopefuls Burnley at Loftus Road.
Andrew Cole was the star of the show for the visitors, bagging a trademark hat-trick, as the R's tasted defeat in W12 for the first time in 2008.
Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk, De Canio said: "Maybe, because of the type of football we played in the first half, we left ourselves open.
"Burnley took full advantage of our mistakes.
"The general condition of the players was okay, but we had a few niggles in the camp and consequently we weren't at our best in the second half.
"We struggled in the second period and gave the ball away far too easily. That is not a characteristic I like and we will work on it.
"The squad has changed a lot and we are still trying to find our best possible team. As I've said before, these things can happen.
"We have a lot of good players here, but they need time and they need to get to grips with each other's games."
De Canio praised Cole's contribution though, adding: "Cole is a fantastic player and his record shows that, but I've brought in very good players of my own and we will see them progress in time." QPR

BURNLEY OFFICIAL SITE - Gaffer: Spirit Was Incredible!
Owen Coyle heaped praise on his never-say-die side after the stunning 4-2 win away to QPR.
Andrew Cole's first hat-trick for seven years and Ade Akinbiyi's crucial strike sealed a remarkable comeback for the Clarets, who trailed the Championship's form side 2-0 after 30 minutes.
Coyle said: "I thought tonight their spirit and sense of togetherness was incredible and I am delighted to reward the fans who have made the trip.
. "It would have been very easy at 2-0 down to fold and end up getting a hiding, but nothing could be further from the truth.
"Yes, we lost two goals - poor goals from our point of view - but we bounced back in terrific fashion."
Coyle, who has now seen new loan signing Cole bag four goals in two starts for the club, added: "I was never in any doubt what Andrew would offer to the football club.
"The biggest thing when we sat down (before he signed) was whether he had the hunger and desire to play at a very high level and I think he's shown that since he came on at West Brom.
"As well as the goals I think he leads the line so well; his touch and awareness brings other people into play.
"His finishing tonight was superb, but he was helped by his team-mates.
"I've said before it won't be about individuals at this football club though ? we are a group."
Apologies to supporters for the truncated manager comments tonight, due to circumstances beyond our control at Loftus Road. There will be more comments from the manager on the website tomorrow morning. Burnley

Burnley manager Owen Coyle paid tribute to Andrew Cole after the veteran netted a hat-trick as the Clarets came back from two down to win 4-2 at QPR.

Goals from Gavin Mahon and Patrick Agyemang put Rangers in command and on course for victory in the Coca-Cola Championship clash.

But on-loan Sunderland striker Cole hauled Burnley level and completed his hat-trick after substitute Ade Akinbiyi put Coyle's side ahead.

Coyle said: "There was never a doubt in my mind what Andrew Cole would bring to this club.

"I saw him play earlier this season for Sunderland and knew he had the hunger and desire to show he can still play at a high level.

"Andrew brings belief to the team and it's not just his goals - he leads the line really well and brings other people into the game too.

"Our players can only learn from someone of his stature, and I'd be saying that even if he hadn't scored those goals."

Coyle felt his team's fightback typified the spirit he has installed since taking over as boss.

"It would have been easy at 2-0 down to fold, but we bounced back in tremendous fashion" he added.

"We sensed when we got back into the game that we could go on and win it. The spirit among the players is great and it was evident tonight."

Rangers took the lead when Agyemang's back-heel found Akos Buzsaky, whose cross was headed in by Mahon.

Agyemang then latched onto Damien Delaney's threaded pass and rounded keeper Brian Jensen to net his eighth goal in six matches.

Burnley were handed a lifeline when a deflection off Cole diverted Joey Gudjonsson's free-kick into the net.

And 11 minutes after the break, Cole lost his marker and applied the finishing touch to Akinbiyi's right-wing cross to equalise.

Burnley's Wade Elliott sent a 30-yard shot against the post, but there was no escape for Rangers when another defensive lapse led to them going behind.

Stanislav Varga's header into the danger area found Akinbiyi onside and the striker had the simple task of heading past keeper Lee Camp.

And Cole punished yet more shoddy marking four minutes from time by firing home at the near post after being picked out by Graham Alexander's free-kick.

"I put that defeat down to two things," QPR boss Luigi De Canio said.

"First, some of the players were not in excellent condition and this affected how we played. Second, the way we played in the first half meant we were convinced we would win.

"It's possible that, subconsciously, we were complacent. But we were also not able to play our best because Martin Rowlands went off injured, Mahon was close to being substituted and Hogan Ephraim also took a knock.

"That had a bearing on our performance - especially when we were trying to counter-attack. We ended up just kicking the ball forward, and that is no longer the way we play.

"Talking of defensive fragility is a bit of a generalisation. The ability of a defence depends on the whole team and not just the defenders." Sporting Life

Former England striker Andy Cole rolled back the years with a hat-trick, as Rangers tasted defeat at Loftus Road for the first time in 2008.
Trailing 2-0 inside the opening half hour, Owen Coyle's men came back from the dead to win 4-2, in an extraordinary Championship encounter.
Gavin Mahon's first goal in 10 months put Rangers in front early on and when Patrick Agyemang made it two in the 30th minute, the R's faithful sensed another comfortable home win.
But Burnley had other ideas and thanks to Cole's deadly treble and a close range header from Ade Akinbiyi, the Clarets exacted revenge for the R's 2-0 win at Turf Moor in December - and in some style too.
Luigi De Canio welcomed back international duo Damion Stewart and Akos Buzsaky, after the pair were rested for Saturday's 3-2 victory at St Mary's.
Michael Mancienne and Kieran Lee dropped to the bench, while US goalkeeper Matt Pickens was also named amongst the substitutes.
Cole retained his place in the Clarets' starting XI after opening his account against Colchester United on Saturday, while highly-rated attacker Kyle Lafferty returned.
Rangers enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges, with Hogan Ephraim firing wide on six minutes, after he latched on to Buzsaky's inch-perfect cross-field pass.
To their credit though, Burnley more than held their own as the clock ticked towards the quarter hour. Lafferty's pace and guile caused Matthew Connolly all sorts of problems early on, with the wide midfielder twice delivery teasing balls into the heart of the R's six-yard box, which the returning Stewart mopped up with ease.
But it was the R's who continued to pose the greater threat in the attacking third and their forward-thinking policy was rewarded in the 14th minute, thanks to a first goal in Rangers colours from Mahon.

Lee Camp's perfectly flighted free-kick found Buzsaky, and when his deft flick on fell at the feet of Agyemang, the in-form front-man played a sublime back heel into the midfielder's path.

With time to look up, the Magical Magyar crossed to the back post and picked out the arriving Mahon, who leapt above a static Clarets rearguard to nod home his first goal of the campaign.

It was all one-way traffic by now, and Rangers doubled their advantage on the half hour. Guess who got it? Yes, you guessed it - that man, Agyemang!

But the credit for the goal had to go entirely to Damien Delaney, who having picked up possession on the edge of his own box, raced fully 60-yards before playing a defence splitting through ball into the path of the R's top-scorer.

Baring down on goal, Agyemang had the coolness to drop a shoulder, round Jensen and tap the ball into an empty net for his eighth goal in six Championship matches.

The R's nearly added a third sixty seconds later, as Buzsaky fired wide from distance, before Zesh Rehman's marauding run ended with his speculative left footed curler being palmed away by the now over-worked Clarets custodian.

The workmanlike Martin Rowlands was forced off six minutes from the break, with a hip injury. Mikele Leigertwood entered the fray as a consequence, with Mahon taking over the captaincy duties.

Leigertwood was on the pitch just a matter of seconds when the R's conceded a first goal at home since New Year's Day.

Joey Gujonsson's free-kick appeared to be drifting well wide of Camp's right hand post, until Cole stuck out a leg and inadvertently thrashed the ball into the roof of the net.

Ephraim twice tested Jensen early in the second half, but the Clarets keeper came out on top on both occasions.

Burnley refused to lie down though and when half-time substitute Ade Akinbiyi floated a neat ball to the far post, Cole dispatched the ball with aplomb to make it 2-2.

Undeterred, Connolly almost restored the R's one goal buffer four minutes later, when his dipping 25-yard volley brought the very best out of Jensen.

Play soon switched to the other end, and this time it was Camp's heroics that kept the scores level, as he dived full stretch to tip Wade Elliott's piercing drive onto the outside of the post.

The action was relentless, with Vine dragging a 15-yard effort wide moments later and Leigertwood forcing Jensen to smother the ball at this near post in the 73rd minute, as the R's continued their all-out pursuit for the all-important fifth goal of the contest.

But it was Burnley who got it, as Akinbiyi capitalised on indecision in the hosts' back-line to head home unmarked from six-yards.

The result was put beyond any doubt four minutes from time, as Cole swivelled on a six-pence before firing past Camp for his hat-trick.

QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mahon, Stewart, Buzsaky, Rowlands (Leigertwood 39), Connolly (Mancienne 90), Agyemang, Ephraim (Blackstock 69), Vine, Rehman.
Subs: Pickens, Lee.
Scorers: Mahon 14, Agyemang 30
Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Harley, Caldwell, O'Connor (Spicer 90), Gudjonsson, Elliott, Lafferty, Blake (Akinbiyi 46), Varga, Cole (Randall 89).
Subs: Kiraly, Jordan.
Scorers: Cole 41, 55 & 86, Akinbiyi 77
Bookings: Varga 78
Red Cards:
Referee: Mr K A Friend
Attendance: 13, 410 QPR

BURNLEY - Cole: I Feel 21 Again!
Andrew Cole was overjoyed with his first hat-trick for the Clarets - but even happier as Burnley closed in on the play off places.
The 36-year-old former England and Manchester United striker bagged his first treble for seven years as Owen Coyle's side came from two goals down to thrash QPR 4-2 on their own patch.
And Cole, who is on loan from Sunderland until the summer, said: "I am very pleased, not just by the hat trick but by the way the lads came back from 2-0 down to win.
"That gave me great pleasure because when they went 2-0 up, they were giving it "Ole". "But the game is not over until it's over and this was a big performance.
Maybe the first goal was the turning point because it knocked the wind out of their sails a little bit.

"We came out and cracked on in the second half and I thought we dominated to be fair."

Cole, who has now scored four goals in two Burnley starts, added: "Every goal feels good.

"I have not played too many games this season, but to score goals now is the same feeling as it did when I was a kid.

"Nothing changes. I still have the same appetite to play and win games and I am not going to change."

Cole also praised Clarets boss Coyle, who must be pinching himself at the start the former Premiership star has made to life at Turf Moor.

He said: "The manager played a big part in getting me to the club.

"He said he thought I could bring a lot to the club playing week in and week out and helping others.

"When managers have that belief it makes you feel really good and he has that belief in me.

"We are all playing for the manager. He gives us the enthusiasm to want to carry on playing and he makes me feel as though I am 21 again!" Burnley

ANDREW Cole dragged Burnley back from the dead with a stunning hat-trick as the Clarets recovered from two goals down to snatch a sensational victory at Loftus Road.

Cole made it four goals in two starts - after Owen Coyle's side felt the full force of a Rangers side looking for a fifth straight home win.

Goals from Gavin Mahon and Patrick Agyemang inside the opening half hour made that look a distinct probability.

But Rangers reckoned without the resilience of a battling Burnley side now with added firepower in the form of Cole!

The sprightly 36-year-old, who opened his account against Colchester at the weekend, doubled his tally with a lightening flicked finish form Joey Gudjonsson's free kick.

Cole then rolled back the years to level the scores after the break with a typical poachers finish to a move he started.

Ade Akinbiyi then incredibly put the Clarets ahead 13 minutes from time with a simple header.

But Cole was not to be denied his hour of glory and the 36-year-old rolled back the years, completing his treble three minutes from time by sweeping home Graham Alexander's smart free kick.

Where to start?

Burnley made one change for the trip to Loftus Road, as skipper Steven Caldwell replaced David Unsworth (virus).

Elsewhere, it was as you were as the Clarets looked to halt the rise of the form team in the Championship, with four straight home wins propelling the Hoops up the table.

A lively start saw Luigi Di Canio's men go straight n the attack in search of a nap hand!

Akos Buzsaky's early free kick was deflected wide - bringing back memories of Johnnie Jackson's Colchester equaliser - and Hogan Ephraim let fly from 25 yards but was off target.

But in the 15th minute Rangers grabbed the lead with a cleverly worked goal.

In-form Agyemang's cheeky back heel took out Jon Harley near the right hand touchline and Buzsaky's inch perfect cross was met with a bullet header from Gavin Mahon form six yards out.

Burnley simply weren't at the races in the opening 20 minutes and Agyemang, who has found a new lease of life at Loftus Road, curled an angled shot wide as the home crowd smelt blood.

As Burnley tentatively found their feet, Joey Gudjonsson had the Clarets first effort midway through the half with a 30-yard volley that sailed into the massed ranks of upbeat Rangers fans behind the goal.

And soon after, a sweeping Burnley move involving five men saw Blake feed Wade Elliott with a great reverse ball, only for the winger's attempted cross to be deflected away from the inrushing Andrew Cole and Kyle Lafferty.

But as Burnley edged forward in search of an equaliser, disaster struck.

James O'Connor's misplaced pass on the edge of the Rangers box saw the hosts burst into a counter attack and Damien Delaney slipped Agyemang past a static offside line for the former Preston striker to walk around Brian Jensen and score his eighth goal in six starts.

Buzsaky was inches away with another drive from distance as the Clarets reeled on the ropes.

But five minutes before the break and out of the blue, the Clarets were right back in it!

Robbie Blake earned a foul 35 yards out and Gudjonsson's low rocket was turned high into the net by Cole's instinctive flick.

Half time gave Coyle a further chance to rally his troops after that disastrous start.

And with the introduction of Akinbiyi for Blake at the break, the hope was that Burnley would now give Rangers the same defensive palpitations that Agyemang caused the Clarets throughout the opening 45 minutes.

How Plan B worked!

In the 55th minute Cole was heavily involved in a move that swept from left to right.

And when he eventually threaded the ball through to Akinbiyi on the right hand edge of the area, the former England striker again showed all his predatory instincts to rifle the ensuing cross home at the far post.

Now the Clarets tails were right up and just after the hour mark, Elliott was a whisker away from turning the game completely on its head.

Lafferty intelligently switched the ball from left to right and the winger brought back memories of his stunner at Sunderland last season with a swinging piledriver that cannoned off the right hand upright with Lee Camp beaten.

Rowan Vine dragged a shot across Burnley bows as Rangers also sounded their intent in what was now an end-to-end thriller.

Sub Mikele Leigertwood hammered a low shot into the midriff of Jensen before Burnley grabbed the crucial winner.

Harley tossed the ball back into the mix after Rangers failed to clear and there was Akinbiyi to nod home his eighth goal of the campaign.

The scene was set for Cole to round off an amazing night in West London in the 87th minute. Elliott was fouled and when Alexander angled a low ball into the near post, the prolific former Premiership star coolly swept the ball home at the near post.

Cole rightly received a standing ovation when he was replaced by Mark Randall in the closing seconds.

And this was truly a night that will live long in the memory. Burnley

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