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Sunday, September 14, 2008

QPR Up to Fourth After Defeating Southampton: Reports & Comments

13,770 saw the televized-live 4-1 victory of QPR over Southampton at Loftus Road, which included two goals by ex-Southampton striker, Dexter Blackstock. QPR move up to fourth with 10 points from 5 games. League Table

QPR Official Site - Iain Dowie - DOWIE: DEX JUST DELIGHTFUL
Iain Dowie heaped praise on two-goal hero Dexter Blackstock, as Rangers climbed to fourth in the Championship table with a 4-1 victory against ten-man Southampton.
Blackstock was joined on the scoresheet by Damion Stewart and second half substitute Patrick Agyemang, as Rangers ran riot in the latter stages at Loftus Road.
"Dexter was great," Dowie told www.qpr.co.uk.
"I think he plays as he trains - at a great intensity.
"He ran in behind, won balls in the air and scored two great goals.
"I thought the second goal was a very good finish. It sat up awkwardly for him but he finished with aplomb."
Despite the handsome margin of victory, Dowie wasn't totally satisfied with the R's performance.
"It's not the best we've played, not by a long stretch, but we've won and that's a great sign," he said.
"Southampton deserve credit for that though. They played with great freedom and popped the ball about really well.
"What pleased me most is that Radek (Cerny) had very few saves to make, whilst we created a hatful of chances.
"(Kelvin) Davis made some excellent saves for them and but for him it could have been a far greater final scoreline."
Dowie added: "I don't think we were at our best defensively, but having said that, they didn't really get in behind us that often.
"I didn't think it was a red card and if anything, I think the decision stopped us in our tracks for a period.
"We played far less football in the period after the sending off and allowed them back in to the game.
"There was an anxiety, but we ground it out and got up to top speed late on."
Dowie concluded: "I'd imagine it was a great spectacle and credit to Saints, they more than played their part.
"Even at 3-1 they were throwing men forward and although we got a fourth and perhaps should have had a fifth or sixth, you've got to give credit to Jan and his team." QPR

QPR Official Site - Match Report
Dexter Blackstock was tormentor-in-chief as the ex-Southampton striker's brace, accompanied by goals from Damion Stewart and Patrick Agyemang, sent QPR to fourth in the Championship table, after a hard fought 4-1 victory over the South Coast side.

Blackstock opened the scoring with not even a minute on the clock, only for Adam Lallana to bring the scores level. Stewart then prodded the home side ahead once more, with Blackstock adding his side's third, and his second, with a cool finish with quarter of an hour left to play, before Patrick Agyemang scored his first goal of the season.

Ranger's only change was winger Hogan Ephraim replacing the suspended Emmanuel Ledesma. Dexter Blackstock again led the line up front, this time against his former employers.

The visitors included new loan signing Tomas Pekhart, who had made the trip to the south coast from Tottenham Hotspur, on the bench. Elsewhere, youngster Oliver Lancashire replaced the experienced Chris Perry, making his debut at the heart of the defence; alongside on loan Chelsea prospect Jack Cork.

There was a healthy atmosphere around Loftus Road as the game kicked off. And Rangers fans did not have to wait long to see the game's opening goal. No less then 35 seconds had elapsed when Gavin Mahon's long throw was flicked on by a Saint's defender into the path of Blackstock who made no mistake with a ferocious finish into the roof of the net from three yards.

Trying to get back into the game, Saints were enjoying the lion's share of possession, but it was Blackstock again who threatened when he beat the offside trap but could not muster enough power on his shot to worry Kelvin Davies in the away side's goal.

Blackstock was eager for a second and again went close, as Lee Cook scampered down the left and sent over a fine cross that the tall striker could not quite direct towards goal.

To make matters worse for the visitors, they were reduced to ten men just before the half hour mark, when the debuting Lancashire sliced down the marauding Damien Delaney to earn a straight red card on his first ever Saint's appearance.

Delaney wanted some revenge and went searching for it the right way. After a beautiful cross-field pass from Daniel Parejo found Cook in space, who laid the ball to the Irishman whose fizzing left-foot shot, from the edge of the area, was acrobatically tipped over by Davies.

Blackstock got back into the act and nearly doubled the lead as a wonderful curling cross from Cook was met by the striker's diving header, with only a superb plunging save from Davies denying a second Rangers goal.

Blackstock had the bit between his teeth as further quality play fed Delaney down the left who beat a defender before cutting the ball back to him. The ex-Saint swivelled, shot, and watched in disbelief as his effort was tipped by Davies onto the post and away. And with that, halftime arrived.

A quiet opening to the second half was brought to life with a Saints equaliser. A neat one-two fed Lallana bursting into the box and the midfielder placed his shot beyond Radek Cerny to bring Southampton back into the game.

Rangers went searching for the lead once again as Ephraim's shot was brilliantly turned around the post by Davies.

With that task in mind, manager Iain Dowie introduced Agyemang and fans favourite Martin Rowlands, reverting to 4-4-2 in the process.

And it was Rowlands who made the difference, as his curling free-kick was glanced home by Stewart, with the visitors fervently claiming offside. But the goal was given, and Rangers had the lead again.

Rowlands again launched the attack, as his long pass found Leigertwood, who in turn fed Agyemang. The Ghanaian sent over a looping cross that Blackstock knocked down for Leigertwood who could only blaze a shot over the Saints' bar.

Then the game was safe. Cook's mesmeric run led to the winger threading a lovely ball through to Agyemang who bore down on goal, only to see his shot parried by the in-form Davies. The rebound, however, fell kindly to Blackstock who clipped the ball confidently over the fallen keeper to give Rangers a two-goal lead.

The magnificent Davies denied Agyemang yet again, with another top quality stop, this time after the striker was teed up by Rowlands.

Rangers had slowed the tempo right down, using the benefit of the extra man to move the ball around, tiring their overworked opponents. A neat one-two with Cook released Rowlands in space within the Saints' area but once again, Davies got down low to his left to keep Rangers from extending their advantage.

The game seemed to be over as a contest, but just to add gloss to the performance, Agyemang opened his account. Playing interchanging passes with Leigertwood, the substitute breezed pass a hapless Saints defender before firing a low shot beyond the outstretching Davies.

It proved to be the final act of the game, and Rangers fans celebrated a result that moved the R's into the Play-Off places.

QPR: Cerny, Delaney, Stewart, Mahon, Leigertwood, Parejo (Rowlands 59), Blackstock, Ramage, Connolly, Cook, Ephraim (Agyemang 59). Subs: Camp, Gorkss, Balanta.
Scorers: Blackstock (1) (76), Stewart (62), Agyemang (90)
Bookings: Leigertwood (66), Delaney (67)
Southampton: Davis, Wotton, Surman, Holmes (Dyer 22), McGoldrick, Schneiderlin (Pekhart 68), Lallana, Gillett, James, Lancashire, Cork.
Subs: Bialkowski, Perry, John.
Scorers: Lallana (53)
Bookings: Schneiderlin (63), Dyer (65) Sendings off: Lancashire (29)
Referee: Kevin Friend Attendance: 13,770 QPR Official Site

Setanta/Ben Blackmore - Woeful decision costs Saints dear

A ridiculously poor offside decision proved the pivotal moment as QPR beat 10-man Southampton 4-1 to move fourth in The Championship.

Rangers had led through Dexter Blackstock’s opener and looked dominant even before Oliver Lancashire was sent off on the half hour.

However, Southampton dragged themselves level with the goal of the game from Adam Lallana, only for a shocking linesman’s decision to allow Damion Stewart to restore Rangers’ lead – before Blackstock and Patrick Agyemang made things safe.

You could have parked a bus between Southampton’s last man and the offside Stewart, yet somehow he strolled in unnoticed to head home the game-turning goal.

Rumour has it that QPR watched Stoke v Everton before they entered the Loftus Road pitch, and within 37 seconds they had done a superb impression of Tony Pulis’ Potters to take the lead.

Seizing an early throw, Damien Delaney sent in a hail mary, Southampton decided the best option would be to leave no defenders at the back post, and Blackstock pounced.

Blackstock and Lee Cook would prove the unmistakable thorns in the visitors’ side, and twice the hugely popular left winger sent in arcing crosses for his frontman, who tested the reflexes of Kelvin Davis with a stooping header.

Southampton had handed a debut to young defender Oliver Lancashire at the expense of Chris Perry, and the inexperience in the visiting defence was clear as Kelvin Davis came under siege.

The loss of Lee Holmes to suspected medial knee ligament damage did not help matters, although his replacement Nathan Dyer did threaten when cutting in from the right.

Any realistic chance of a comeback appeared to have ended on the half hour though when Lancashire recklessly lunged at Delaney, marking his debut with a straight red card.

Now with acres to attack down the left, Delaney found time to waltz down the left byline, before cutting back for Blackstock to poke the ball against the post.

It looked like the second half would be a precession for Rangers, and that feeling may well have filtered into the players’ minds as Southampton struck back in fine style.

In a sweeping move that started with the goalkeeper, Lallana received the ball on halfway via a clever back heel. From there, the talented attacker drove towards the QPR area, exchanged a one-two with Simon Gillett and then kept his cool to roll home with his left foot.

1-1 and honours very much even.

Cue a terrible terrible decision by the linesman. From a QPR free kick, Damion Stewart drifted a good three yards offside, but the flag stayed down as he headed home. Shocking.

From then on, Southampton were always going to have to leave gaps, and Blackstock added his second before Agyemang rattled home a fourth. Setanta

SKY SPORTS/James Dall Devilish Dexter downs Saints
Blackstock nets brace against 10-man Southampton

Dexter Blackstock came back to haunt his former club to net a brace against 10-man Southampton as Queens Park Rangers claimed a 4-1 success in Sunday's Championship encounter at Loftus Road.

The three points sees Iain Dowie's QPR rise to fourth in the table, while the Saints have now suffered defeat four times in their opening five fixtures of the new season.

The home side got off to a dream start with Blackstock, who left the South Coast for London in 2006, breaking the deadlock inside the first minute as the Southampton defence made a complete mess of Gavin Mahon's long throw to allow the England Under 21 striker to thump home from close range.

Jan Poortvliet's men steadied themselves after their early setback and, while Blackstock threatened on the break, QPR shot-stopper Radek Cerny had to be on his toes to save low from Adam Lallana's driving effort.

However, the Saints' task was toughened on 30 minutes when Oliver Lancashire, making his first senior appearance, was handed a straight red card by referee Kevin Friend for a wild two-footed lunge on Damien Delaney.

Left-back Delaney recovered from the challenge and continued to impress down the flank, and in the 37th minute he drifted inside to wrap his foot around the ball and draw a fine stop from goalkeeper Kelvin Davis.

Southampton midfielder Andrew Surman then handed Lallana a decent opportunity to restore parity but this effort lacked venom and Cerny was able to gather with ease.

Just prior to the interval keeper Davis was called into action twice in the space of three minutes, first palming away Blackstock's downward header before producing a fine fingertip save to clip the ex-Saints' effort onto the woodwork.

The R's picked up where they left off after the break with Mikele Leigertwood and Gavin Mahon combining well with the latter fizzing a long-range strike straight into the midriff of Davis.

But Southampton stunned the home supporters on 53 minutes as a swift counter-attack saw Lallana play a one-two with Simon Gillett before steadying himself to slot past Cerny.


QPR rallied for a response and, after Hogan Ephraim had been denied by the impressive Davis, Damion Stewart, despite having strayed into an offside position, knocked home from Martin Rowlands' free-kick to restore their advantage.

Substitute Patrick Agyemang demonstrated pace and power after he entered the fray on the hour mark, and it was his run and strike that allowed Blackstock to seal the three points as he netted the rebound on 77 minutes.

Agyemang got his name on the scoresheet and capped off a fine display from the home team in injury-time, powering low into the corner to leave Davis with not a prayer."
Sky Sports


Saints returned to action following the international break with a trip to Loftus Road to face ex-Saint Iain Dowie's Queens Park Rangers.

Head coach Jan Poortvliet was without defender Michael Svensson who is due to return home for a check-up with his knee surgeon early next week.

Jason Euell remained out of action with a shoulder injury, and Wayne Thomas also missed out due to a knee injury.

Academy graduate Oliver Lancashire was handed his first senior start at centre back, with new signing Tomas Pekhart taking a place on the bench for the first time.

Hosts Q.P.R had the suspended Argentine midfielder Emanuel Ledesma missing, whilst ex-Saint Fitz Hall and Rowan Vine were also ruled out through injury.

Dowie welcomed back Hogan Ephraim after injury, but Italian Damiano Tommasi was not deemed 'match-fit'. Former Saints Academy star Dexter Blackstock continued in the lone striker role.

Q.P.R: Cerny, Delaney, Stewart, Connolly, Ramage, Leigertwood, Mahon, Cook, Parejo, Ephraim, Blackstock. Subs: Camp, Agyemang, Gorkss, Rowlands, Balanta.

Saints: Davis, James, Lancashire, Cork, Surman, Wotton, Schneiderlin, Gillett, Lallana, Holmes, McGoldrick. Subs: Bialkowski, Perry, John, Pekhart, Dyer.

Saints got off the worst possible start, falling beind after just 37 seconds, as former Saint Dexter BLACKSTOCK spun off his marker and fired home from just in front of a diving Kelvin Davis.

Jan Poortvliet's side then had to contend with several more pacy runs, with Cook and Ephraim driving the ball forward well down the wings.

With the frantic opening continuing, Saints ventured forward and Lee Holmes nearly capitalised on a wayward clearance by Delaney on 7 minutes.

Dexter Blackstock then got free and ran onto a through ball from Parejo, but Davis came out well to collect the loose ball.

The former Academy striker was causing all kinds of problems, but had an 11th minute effort well blocked by Jack Cork, to the right of goal.

Saints first real shot came in the 17th minute, as Lallana ran though and tested Cerny from the edge of the area. The Czech 'keeper tipped the ball round the post, but there was never a lot of power in the shot.

Play then switched upfield, and Blackstock again manaed to poke a ball wide after good work by Lee Cook in the 18th minute.

Play was held up for treatment to Lee Holmes, after the Saints winger came off worst in a fifty-fifty challenge with Peter Ramage.

Dyer replaced Holmes in the 22nd minute, just in time to see McGoldrick put a speculative effort high over the bar.

Dyer was then involved in the action almost straight away, but his powerful 26th minute shot was well blocked by Connolly at point blank range.

Saints were reduced to 10 men on the half hour, as Oliver Lancashire's tackle on Damien Delaney was greeted with a straight red by the referee Kevin Friend.

Saints reshuffled, with Wotton falling back into defence alongside Jack Cork.

Delaney then had a 36th minute left-footed shot from just ouside the area tipped ove by Davis, as Saints were left reeling from the earlier dismissal.

Saints produced a glimmer of hope in the 38th minute, as Dyer cut the ball back to Surman down the right and he in turn delivered a hanging ball in for Lallana. The shot was on target, but Cerny never really looked troubled.

Davis then became the hero, as Blackstock got onto the end of Cook's cross with a diving header, that the Saints 'keeper somehow scrambled clear.

QPR then hit the post through Blackstock after Delaney cut the ball back sharply from the by-line and Davis was able to smother the ball before any of the men in Hoops could strike again. (42 minutes)

Three minutes were added for injury time as Saints kept up their search for an equaliser.

Half Time: QPR 1-0 Saints

Simon Gillett and David McGoldrick kicked things off with Saints shooting away from the travelling support.

QPR won an early corner after Lloyd James dealt with Ephraim cross from the left, and Saints cleared their lines after a scramble in the box ensued.

Saints levelled in the 53rd minute with a fantastic team goal, hitting QPR in the break. Kelvin Davis rolled the ball out after saving a Leigertwood shot, and Saints broke up field at speed.

LALLANA then stuck the ball sweetly into the bottom corner after a neat one-two with Gillett unlocked the home side's back line.

Ephraim then had a shot tipped over in the 56 minute, before Rowlands replaced Parejo and Agyemang came on for Ephraim on 59 minutes.

QPR restored their lead on 62 minutes, as Damion Stewart crept in a the far post to tuck home Rowlands free-kick, although the goal seemed to have more than a whiff of off-side about it!

Schneiderlin picked up a yellow card on 64 minutes, before the hosts tested Davis again with a second free kick from distance.

Delaney also picked up a booking for a high challenge on Lloyd James, but the Welsh Under-21 was soon back on his feet.

Jan Poortvliet sent on Tomas Pekhart for Schneiderlin with 20 minutes remaining and he immediately got away well down the right, winning a free-kick after his shirt was pulled.

Dexter BLACKSTOCK made it 3-1 after he poached Agyemang's blocked shot on 77 minutes. The former Winbledon man went on a long run but his shot was well blocked by Davis, although the rebound fell kindly for Blackstock who was following up behind.

Saints then tried to work an opening, but Gillett's cross field pass to Pekhart at the far post was put wide of the post by the Czech loanee.

Davis then saved well again from Agyemang and Dowie's men had the ball in the net on 83 minutes, but it was not given as the ref spotted an infringement.

Two minutes later, Gillet tried to squeeze a low ball through the QPR 'keeper's legs after good work by Gillet, but Cerny got down well to deal with the danger.

Saints contined to press and Dyer went close from the left hand side, with a shot that rose just over on 41 minutes, after picking up a loose ball from Leigertwood.

With a minute of normal time remaining, Davis saved from Rowlands with his legs, as four minutes were added on.

Patrick Agyemang made it 4-1 in the 91st minute, picking up Leigertwood's ball and cutting across the back line. Jack Cork almost got a foot to the ball but Agyemang was able to turn and shoot past Davis to put the game beyond Saints' reach.

Full Time: QPR 4-1 Saints Southampton Official Site

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