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Saturday, September 27, 2008

QPR Slump at Home

A crowd of just over 14,000 saw QPR slump at home: QPR 0 Derby County 2. 0-0 at halftime. In the second half: A late Derby Goal. Then a second, even-later Derby goal.
League Table - Updated

Derby Official Site - Gareth Davis reports from Loftus Road

Martin Albrechtsen scored again with a carbon-copy of his goal against Cardiff and Tito Villa came off the bench to net as Derby earned a fine 2-0 win away to Queens Park Rangers.

Mega-rich Rangers are among the favourites for the Coca-Cola Championship but they looked ordinary for long periods against a Derby side who extended their unbeaten run to five games.

There wasn't a lot to choose between the teams in the first half but Derby stepped it up after the break and after a couple of scares when QPR saw shots deflected on to the post, Miles Addison smashed a long-range shot against the crossbar.

Home goalkeeper Radek Cerny - who produced a couple of good saves in the first-half - had no chance when Albrechtsen drove in Nacer Barazite's corner on 78 minutes.

And another flag-kick led to the Rams' second as Villa rose highest to power a header down and earn Derby an impressive - and deserved - three points.

Nathan Ellington made his return to the starting line-up as the Rams made one change for their trip to face West London's richest club.

The Duke was back in place of Tito Villa, who dropped to the bench, with boss Paul Jewell keeping to the same 16 on duty for the 1-1 draw with Cardiff City last week.

QPR named former Derby goalkeeper Lee Camp among their replacements and ex Pride Park loanee Dexter Blackstock in from the start as they looked to build on an as-yet perfect home record.

Bright September sunshine greeted the players and there was an early chance to the Rams as Martin Albrechtsen rose to meet a Nacer Barazite corner, though he couldn't get enough power on his effort to trouble Radek Cerny.

Derby's start had reflected the weather and they came within an inch of taking the lead on eight minutes when a low Paul Connolly cross caused chaos in the home defence and took two deflections before bobbling just wide of the far post.

The home side should have gone in front on 22 through Blackstock, who somehow failed to turn in an inviting low ball from Daniel Parejo as he met the delivery from close-range.

And they had a fortunate escape a few minutes later when Cerny inexplicably dropped a long ball in to the box - no doubt troubled byb the sun - but as it rolled out towards the touchline, no Derby player was close enough to take advantage.

Cerny was in action again shortly before the half-hour to palm out a Stephen Pearson shot after a well-crafted move, and the ball was cleared for a corner with Rob Hulse set to pounce.

Parejo was first into the notebook for a 36th-minute foul on Jordan Stewart out on the left that gave Derby another chance to put the home defence under pressure, but Barazite's cross was too near Cerny to make an impact.

QPR's first real shot in anger arrived five minutes before the interval through Emanuel Ledesma, who lined up an audacious volley from distance that never threatened to dip under Roy Carroll's crossbar.

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The first threats of the second half centred on Derby's goal with Ledesma involved both times.

First, he saw a shot deflected against the post, and from the resulting corner - QPR's first of the game - he cracked a half-volley narrowly over the bar.

Leacock saw yellow for a foul on home skipper Martin Rowlands that again gave Ledesma the chance to threaten with a dangerous in-swinging free-kick that was met by a powerful Miles Addison clearing header.

And that was the cue for Rangers to make the afternoon's first change as they took off Akos Buzsaky and replaced him with Lee Cook, a firm favourite among the home fans.

Derby's best chance so far came just after the hour and it fell for Hulse, who read Ellington's clever flick-on and made ground into the area, but he took a split-second too long before getting his shot away and Damion Stewart was back to block.

QPR raced forward and Cook supplied Blackstock on the edge of the six-yard box, only for the front-man's shot to take a deflection and strike the post.

A spell of Derby pressure on 68 saw Barazite fire over the bar after his corner wasn't cleared but both sides were struggling to carve out any serious clear-cut opportunities.

And out of nothing an Addison drive from all of 30 yards smacked against the crossbar, leaving the teenager wishing for a bit of extra dip with Cerny beaten.

The Rams' first change followed with 15 minutes remaining as Villa took over in attack from Ellington.

And the opening goal arrived with 11 minutes remaining for Derby - in pretty much identical style to their goal last week against Cardiff.

Barazite's right-wing corner was allowed to bounce inside the QPR box and, with frightening coincidence, fell to Martin Albrechtsen who took a touch before smashing it past Cerny.

It was the Dane's second goal in as many weeks having only previously registered four in his career in England.

And the game was wrapped up with 90 seconds remaining thanks to another right-wing corner.

This time Steve Davies, on for Barazite, delivered superbly and Villa got up well to head down and into the bottom corner for his first goal of the season.

Derby fully deserved their victory, of that there is no doubt whatsoever.

QPR: Cerny, Delaney, D Stewart, Mahon (Leigertwood 70), Hall, Parejo, Blackstock, Buszaky (Cook 55), Rowlands (C), M Connolly, Ledesma (Agyemang 76).

Substitutes: Camp (GK), Ramage.

Derby: Carroll, P Connolly (C), Green, J Stewart, Ellington (Villa 75), Hulse, Leacock, Addison, Barazite (Davies 84), Pearson, Albrechtsen.

Substitutes: Bywater (GK), Kazmierczak, Nyatanga.

Attendance: 14,311. Derby

QPR Official Site - QPR vs Derby County

QPR suffered from a League Cup hangover after Martin Albrechtson's volley and Emmanuel Villa's header gave Derby County all three points at Loftus Road.

After the dramatic night at Villa Park in midweek, Rangers players gave a frustrating performance in front of a boisterous home support.

Dexter Blackstock could've opened the scoring midway through the first half but Paul Connolly, the Derby Captain, executed a superb recovery tackle to keep his side in it.

As Rangers pressed on, they were caught out as the Danish international met Miles Addison's well taken corner to hand Derby the win, before Villa headed beyond Radek Cerny in the R's net to make it two.

For the visit of the Rams, Manager Iain Dowie made one change to the starting 11 that triumphed over Aston Villa in midweek. Patrick Agyemang made way for Blackstock, taking up a place on the bench instead.

He was joined by Lee Cook, who had missed the trip to Villa Park. Akos Buzsaky made his first home start of the season, much to the delight of the Loftus Road crowd.

Derby handed starts to several of their new summer signings, with strikers Rob Hulse and on-loan Nathan Ellington partnering up in attack, with Arsenal prospect and fellow loan-man Nacer Barazite lining up in midfield.

It was the visitors who threatened first as an early Barazite corner was headed goalwards by Albrechtson but the Dane could not muster the power required to trouble Radek Cerny.

Back came Rangers moments later, as Emmanuel Ledesma received a perfect long pass from Martin Rowlands and cut inside Jordan Stewart, only to see his shot from the edge of the box miss the target.

Absolutely brilliant football gave Rangers another chance seconds later, as first Daniel Parejo nut-megged Paul Green with a pass to Rowlands who turned and fed Blackstock. The big man turned and crossed for the onrushing Rowlands. The midfield marvel couldn't direct his effort however and the danger passed.

Paul Connelly then almost got lucky with a cross as he whistled in a ball that evaded everyone and just missed the post on its way out.

After 22 minutes Rangers should've scored. Smooth build up play involving Rowlands and Ledesma led to the Argentine clipping a perfect through ball over the Rams defence for Parejo who unselfishly squared for the charging Blackstock. Out of nowhere however, came Paul Connolly who somehow managed to hook a leg in front of the ball and stop the R's striker from sending it across the line.

Minutes later, it was Cerny's turn to keep the scores level as Stewart fed Stephen Pearson down the left hand side of the R's box. The Scot's right footed shot however was well gathered by a smothering Cerny.

Derby had a chance of their own to open the day's scoring eleven minutes before half time. Gavin Mahon was disposed by Green who fed Hulse. As the striker bore down on goal he was denied by a fantastic sliding tackle from Fitz Hall.

With the half drawing to a close, Ledesma tried the spectacular with a long range volley after the ball sat up invitingly for him 25 yards out. Carroll was never worried however, as the ball flew well over.

That proved the final act of a frustrating half for the Rangers faithful.

The second half opened with Rangers in a more determined mood. Parejo and Ledesma exchanged passes on the edge of the box before the latter curled a shot that struck a Derby body, clipped the post, and went out for a corner.

From the resultant set piece, Ledesma blazed a volley narrowly over the Rams bar. Minutes later the same player made a mess of an attempted chip, after he saw Carroll had wandered off his line.

Hall came to the rescue once again as Derby hit back, superbly blocking Hulse as the striker looked to score.

To inject some impetus into his side, Dowie introduced fans favourite Cook after 55 minutes.

It was, however, Derby's Green who tried his luck next as he sent a 25 yard shot toward Cerny but the Czech keeper saved comfortably.

Derby threatened again moments later as Ellington flicked on a long ball for his strike partner to chase. It looked like Hulse was a certainty to score but Damion Stewart, inspired by Hall next to him, slid in expertly to rob the Rams hit-man at the dying second.

Rangers, buoyed by this moment of brilliance countered, as Damien Delaney found Rowlands who escaped his man and crossed a superb ball for Blackstock. Our leading scorer in the League managed to get a foot to it but to the disbelief of the fans, the ball smacked off the post and away from danger.

Derby were just edging it this half and went close again. A corner from the right resulted in a period of pin-balling as the ball bounced around in the R's box. Eventually it fell to Dutchman Barazite who controlled and rifled a shot that only just flew over the home side's bar.

Derby had their best chance so far minutes later as Addison opened up from 25 yards with a shot that clipped the bar.

To try and match their opponents, Dowie replaced Ledesma with Agyemang and sent Rowlands out to the right in a 4-4-2 formation, with the sole aim to try and wrestle the initiative back Rangers way.

The change did not have the required effect however as seconds later, Derby took the lead. The Rams won a corner that was taken by Addison who found Albrechtson. The Dane made no mistake, firing home with a crisp half-volley.

Minutes later it was two as another corner was not dealt with and Villa rose to head past a stranded Cerny.

QPR: Cerny, Delaney, Stewart, Mahon (Leigertwood 70), Hall, Parejo, Blackstock, Buzsaky (Cook 55), Rowlands, Connolly, Ledesma (Agyemang 77).

Subs: Camp, Ramage.


Bookings: Ledesma (36)

Red Cards:

Derby County: Carroll, Connolly, Green, Stewart, Ellington (Villa 76), Hulse, Leacock, Addison, Barazite (Davies 83), Pearson, Albrechtsen.

Subs: Bywater, Kazmierczak, Nyatanga.

Scorers: Albrechtson (79), Villa (88)

Bookings: Leacock (54)

Red Cards:

Referee: Mr A Taylor

Attendance: 14,311 QPR

Sporting Life - First Part Report
Coca-Cola Championship promotion hopefuls QPR struggled to rediscover the form which saw them claim the cup scalp of Aston Villa in midweek as Derby edged a disappointing first half at Loftus Road.
Iain Dowie's side stunned Villa with a 1-0 win in the Carling Cup on Wednesday night, but Derby had the best of a goalless opening 45 minutes today in the London sunshine.
Stephen Pearson came closest for Paul Jewell's side, forcing Radek Cerny into a fine save, while Rams goalkeeper Roy Carroll was only tested once when he denied Dexter Blackstock from close range.

QPR boss Iain Dowie made a change to the side that won at Villa Park, with leading scorer Blackstock replacing Patrick Agyemang.

Jewell also opted for a change in the Derby forward line, with Nathan Ellington preferred to Emanuel Villa.

Derby started competitively and almost went in front after 11 minutes in when on-loan Arsenal midfielder Nacer Barazite put in a dangerous cross which was deflected wide for a corner.

The home side struggled to get into their stride and it was the Rams who were sharper in the tackle and winning the battle in midfield.

But QPR did manage to get in behind the visitors' defence after 15 minutes and only a brave save from Carroll prevented Blackstock from opening the scoring.

Pearson then had Derby's best chance to open the scoring just before the half-hour mark but Cerny produced an agile stop to turn the Scotland midfielder's drive past the post.

And five minutes later it took a last-ditch challenge from Damion Stewart to prevent Rob Hulse from bearing down on goal. Sporting Life

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