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Monday, September 15, 2008

QPR's Win Over Southampton: Compilation of Match Reports and Managerial Comments

Wolves 5 13
Birmingham 5 13
Preston 5 11
QPR 5 10

Guardian/Jeremy Alexander - Blackstock's double helps Rangers keep up with the paceGuardian report
Queens Park Rangers gave Flavio Briatore his second fourth place of the day in a sunlit early evening here yesterday. The victory was ultimately resounding against a spirited 10-man Southampton and it completed a satisfying sporting double for Rangers' senior joint-owner, who is also principal of the Renault formula one team. Several hours earlier he had seen Fernando Alonso finish fourth at Monza. Rangers lifted themselves out of the pack to the same spot in the Championship.
It was not as easy as the scoreline suggests. Saints, who were to play one short for an hour, equalised soon after the interval and were not two behind until Dexter Blackstock scored his second against his former club with 13 minutes to go.
Southampton were unfortunate, too, in the dismissal of their teenage central defender Oliver Lancashire, who got a slight touch of the ball in his clattering, covering tackle on the overlapping Damien Delaney. Particle collisions have been in the news for the last few days. This one was neither malicious nor strictly foul. As Jan Poortvliet, the manager, said: "He never had intention to kill someone."
Iain Dowie, Rangers' manager, agreed: "Very harsh, especially on the lad's debut. As it happened," he added, "they got better, we got worse."
Dowie was understandably keen to praise Blackstock, especially as his other striker, the volatile Argentinian Emmanuel Ledesma, was suspended after contributing four goals. "I told Dexter in pre-season he's got to train as he plays and he's done that. He's intensive every day." Five goals are the self-evident reward.
Southampton helped him here. Saturday's results had dropped them into the bottom three but Poortvliet, as befits a man who won 25 Holland caps, including six in the 1978 World Cup, has promised total football. Anyone can do that against Derby, where they gained their only points so far. Here they were caught cold.
In the first minute Matthew Connolly's long throw saw Paul Wotton nod up and on beyond his own keeper, Kelvin Davis, for Blackstock, running beyond, to lash in. The goal was timed at 37 seconds.
Poortvliet was true to his word. He had been so keen to answer Rupert Lowe's call in the spring that he paid Helmond a £60,000 severance fee. His reputation in management has been forged on developing youngsters and working with clubs under financial restrictions. He may have gone to the right place. He was a carpenter before starting his playing career with PSV Eindhoven. Lowe, back at the boardroom helm, may also have it in mind that he can put up shelves to balance the books.
Saints came back strongly, the more so after Lancashire's dismissal, which forced Wotton back into central defence but did not dissuade him from forays in attack. Rangers almost started the second half as the first when Hogan Ephraim's cross nearly induced a fluked own-goal. Then in a marvellous break the ball ran through Morgan Schneiderlin, Adam Lallana and Simon Gillett for Lallana to shoot sweetly home. Eight minutes later, though, the game was as good as up as Martin Rowlands chipped a free-kick round the wall and Damion Stewart poked in. He could well have been flagged for offside.
Southampton, perhaps enjoying the reflected glory of Theo Walcott's hat-trick for England, continued to attack, "with uninhibited freedom and great rotation", as Dowie remarked. But glorious sleight of foot by Lee Cook set Patrick Agyemang away for a shot that came back from Davis's block for Blackstock to bury. And in injury-time they reversed roles with Blackstock providing for Agyemang.
Briatore has great ambitions for Rangers but is taking no chances. He has changed the mascot, banishing Jude the black cat for a tiger called Spark, which may be extrapolated from the club's name. Black cats are not viewed favourably everywhere. "Step by step we have been putting money into facilities to create a unique brand and concept, in essence a boutique stadium. It is an exclusive side of football that will rely on service, style, the ability to look after people and an insistence on playing the game the right way. It is all part of our plan."
Yesterday it all looked pretty chic, with Daniel Parejo in charge of midfield design and Cook shimmering on the left. Harrods' owner, Mohamed al Fayed, might offer them a concession at Fulham. And there is still Damiano Tommasi, newly signed as a free agent, to come. Guardian

The Times/Nick Szczepanik - Dexter Blackstock double flatters QPR
The hype surrounding Saturday’s meeting of Manchester City and Chelsea, the richest clubs in the Barclays Premier League, must have been galling to Queens Park Rangers, whose directors’ estimated collective wealth puts them second only to City in English football’s rich list. But if they want to get into the same league table as well, they will have to perform more convincingly than they did yesterday, even though the score suggests that they moved up to fourth place in the Coca-Cola Championship table with ease.
A goal up against ten men, Rangers allowed a feisty Southampton team to draw level before a double substitution turned the game back in their favour. “It was a great performance in terms of our attacking threat, but, out of possession, we were poor,” Iain Dowie, the Rangers manager, said.
Dexter Blackstock gave QPR the lead against his former club, after only 37 seconds, when Southampton failed to clear a long throw and it got worse for the visiting team when Oliver Lancashire was sent off on debut for a reckless tackle on Damien Delaney.
But Southampton stuck to their task, helped by a masterclass in shot-stopping by Kelvin Davis, the goalkeeper, who repelled Delaney’s effort from 20 yards out, a diving header by Blackstock and a close-range flick from the same player. Southampton got their reward seven minutes after the break, when Adam Lallana rolled the ball past Radek Cerny.
But, after 59 minutes, Dowie sent on Martin Rowlands and Patrick Agyemang and, two minutes later, Rowlands bent in a free kick for Damion Stewart, who was a yard offside when the ball was struck, to score. Southampton’s resistance ended 15 minutes later, when Blackstock scored after Davis had blocked Agyemang’s shot. Agyemang then went past tiring defenders to crack home a fourth in the final seconds.
“I’m proud of the boys,” Jan Poortvliet, the Southampton head coach, said. “They never gave up, but the second goal killed us mentally. It was offside and the boys didn’t deserve it.”
Queens Park Rangers (4-2-3-1): R Cerny – P Ramage, M Connolly, D Stewart, D Delaney – M Leigertwood, G Mahon – H Ephraim (sub: P Agyemang, 59min), M Parejo (sub: M Rowlands 59), L Cook – D Blackstock. Substitutes not used: L Camp, K Gorkss, A Balanta. Booked: Leigertwood, Delaney.
Southampton (4-5-1): K Davis – L James, O Lancashire, J Cork, A Surman – A Lallana, M Schneiderlin (sub: T Pekhart, 69), P Wotton, S Gillett, L Holmes (sub: N Dyer 22) – D McGoldrick. Substitutes not used: B Bialkowski, C Perry, S John. Booked: Schneiderlin, Dyer. Sent off: Lancashire.
Referee: K Friend. Attendance: 13,770. The Times

Independent/Conrad Leach - Queen's Park Rangers 4 Southampton 1: Blackstock strikes twice to punish struggling Saints
Dexter Blackstock takes advantage of slack Southampton defending to volley home QPR's opening goal in the first minute at Loftus Road
Southampton's manager played for the Netherlands in the 1978 World Cup final and their red-and-white shirts may remind observers of former European champions PSV Eindhoven, but going Dutch is not proving a happy arrangement right now for the Hampshire club.
Conceding a goal with less than a minute gone and seeing a man sent off before half-time gave Saints a challenge they rose to for 40 minutes, but fatigue inevitably played a part on the hottest day of the month and QPR eventually profited, this win taking Iain Dowie's men to fourth.
However, even before debutant Oliver Lancashire was sent off, there was little respite for the visitors as Dexter Blackstock scored after 37 seconds against the team that gave him his professional bow. That's gratitude for you.
Yet Lancashire, 19, saw his day worsen. With 31 minutes gone, Damien Delaney, QPR's quick left-back, was running into clear space two yards inside the touchline when Lancashire charged in. The speed and ferocity with which he approached meant he had to make a perfect tackle. He miscalculated by a fraction and scythed down Delaney, leading to an instant red card, although Dowie did not feel he deserved it, stating his debut as a mitigating factor. Television replays suggested he touched the ball.
If there were still some questioning whether he should have been cautioned instead, the more enduring mystery was why the hosts took so long to build on their first-minute goal. It was not until 13 minutes from the end, when Blackstock had his second and QPR's third that they were able to put a series of missed first-half chances behind them.
Even so, it was only that tap-in, after Patrick Agyemang's penetrating run, that gave QPR a legitimate victory, for Southampton were justified in complaining about the Londoners' second goal of the afternoon. With the match level after Adam Lallana's run and finish, QPR had a free-kick 25 yards out. Martin Rowlands curled in a dangerous ball which Damion Stewart glanced past Kelvin Davis. However, unseen by the officials, he was two yards offside. Jan Poorvliet, the visitors' manager, admitted: "That goal killed us."
Lallana's goal, after a 40-yard run and a one-two with Simon Gillett, had been deserved, if only for the way the visitors regrouped after the red card and refused to buckle. Davis in particular was outstanding, producing three saves in the last seven minutes of the first half, the best being a punch over the bar after Blackstock's header from six yards. But the fourth goal was inevitable with Southampton tiring fast. Their defenders were falling over as Agyemang scored from 20yards.
Goals: Blackstock (1) 1-0; Lallana (53) 1-1; Stewart (63) 2-1; Blackstock (77) 3-1; Agyemang (90) 4-1.
Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-1-1): Cerny; Ramage, Connolly, Stewart, Delaney; Ephraim (Agyemang, 60), Leigertwood, Mahon, Cook; Parejo (Rowlands, 60); Blackstock. Substitutes not used: Camp (gk) Gorkss, Balanta.
Southampton (4-4-2): Davis; James, Lancashire, Cork, Surman; Lallana, Wotton, Gillett, Holmes (Dyer, 23); Schneiderlin (Pekhart, 70), McGoldrick. Substitutes not used: Bialkowski (gk), Perry, John.
Referee: K Friend (Leicestershire).
Booked: QPR Leigertwood, Delaney; Southampton Schneiderlin, Dyer.
Sent off: Lancashire (30).
Attendance: 13,770.
Man of the Match: Agyemang.

Telegraph - Dexter Blackstock double for QPR puts Southampton on back foot
Queens Park Rangers were given a scare by Southampton’s youngsters, but their experience and superior firepower ultimately told as they struck four times to move up to fourth.
The hosts dominated the first half. They led through Dexter Blackstock’s strike after only 37 seconds and then, after young debutant Oliver Lancashire was shown a straight red card, they battered Southampton and should have scored more before the break.
Southampton’s 10 men fought back commendably to equalise through Adam Lallana, but the introduction of the muscular Patrick Agyemang swung it QPR’s way.
Damion Stewart restored the lead, turning in a free-kick, although he looked offside; Blackstock scored his second against his former club, following up after Agyemang’s shot was saved by the excellent Kelvin Davis, and Agyemang scored with a low shot in injury time.
Blackstock was behind Agyemang in the pecking order last season, but has started this season superbly, scoring five goals. He must have caught some of Sky’s viewers napping with his first.
Matthew Connolly’s long throw was headed back inadvertently by Paul Wotton, and it sat up nicely for Blackstock to thump it in to the roof of the net.
On first viewing Lancashire, 19, was unlucky to be dismissed on the half-hour as he slid in to uproot Damien Delaney, but referee Kevin Friend decided that the speed of the tackle made it dangerous.
Davis then had to make three saves to keep Southampton in the game, tipping over Delaney’s shot, clawing away Blackstock’s header and then flicking an effort from the same player on to the post.
Southampton came out fighting, however, and equalised after 52 minutes. Morgan Schneiderlin received the ball from Davis and found Lallana, who hared up the field, did a neat one-two with Simon Gillett and scored in the corner.
Davis had the assistant referee to curse with QPR’s dubious second, Stewart converting substitute Martin Rowlands’ free-kick. Agyemang then capped a powerful run with a shot that was saved by Davis, only for Blackstock to tuck in the rebound. The scoring was complete when Agyemang deservedly got his first goal of the season with a low shot.
Dowie said he had been impressed by his former club. “Southampton played with freedom, so it was pleasing how much their keeper had to do – he made four or five world-class saves,” he said.
“We were good going forward but I thought we were poor when we were out of possession. I felt if we put two up front they might struggle, though, and it’s pleasing when substitutes work.
“I told Dexter in pre-season that he had to train as hard as he plays. Since I had a word he’s been bang-on.”
Southampton manager Jan Poortvliet agreed with Dowie that Lancashire’s dismissal was harsh, and said: “I’m frustrated, disappointed, but proud of my 10 men – they never gave up. The second goal killed us – big offside....
Young guns
Alan Hansen was famously wrong about the Manchester United side of 1995-96 when he said they would never win anything with kids, and Southampton’s new manager, Jan Poortvliet, is hoping he will be proved incorrect again.
The Dutchman’s expertise is in developing promising youngsters. He is in the right place – the average age of his squad is 22. It was men against boys in the first half as QPR dominated, but whatever Poortvliet did at half-time, it worked.
The move that led to the equaliser was swift and slick, but the hosts made their extra man tell. Poortvliet needs time, but his side are in the bottom three and clubs aren’t known for their patience." Telegraph

Southern Daily Echo/Adam Leitch - Kind words lost on Kelvin
Kelvin Davis said the personal plaudits he received meant nothing after Saints lost 4-1 to QPR.
The Saints keeper continued his terrific start to the season with another inspired performance at Loftus Road, producing a string of top drawer saves to keep the score down.
Davis is already focussing on Wednesday’s game against Ipswich at St Mary’s with the Tractor Boys boss Jim Magilton having watched on from the stands.
Davis wants to continue his good form but hopes next time it will yield three points.
He said: “Winning is everything and putting in a good personal performance means nothing if we don’t get the result. That’s the business we’re in.
“We came here expecting to win. The fact that I’ve made good saves and we’ve lost means they end up being irrelevant." Southern Daily Echo

Southern Daily Echo - Decisions poor - not play
Jan Poortvliet felt his side were undone by crucial decisions rather than poor play in their 4-1 defeat at QPR.
The Saints head coach threw Ollie Lancashire in for his debut but saw him last just half an hour before a debatable sending off while his side, who also lost Lee Holmes to injury, conceded a crucial goal that was clearly offside.
Pressure is now mounting on Saints ahead of a St Mary’s double header against Ipswich and Barnsley where they really need to add to the three points they have picked up from five Championship games this season.
He said: “I don’t think this had anything to do with the football but it had to do with decisions, with moments.
“When you play an hour with ten men an easy game is not possible.
“I think honestly we can give more and even more when we don’t have the ball.
“You see what happened with Lee – when they go for the ball they go for the ball and the body and we only go for the ball and we have to learn that.”
He continued: “I think we started not well. When you concede a goal after one minute it’s not good enough.
“It was a pity but we picked up the game and looked better and better.
“We were in the game before the red card - even though we hadn’t had many chances it was coming." Southern Daily Echo

Mail/Ian Gibb - Blackstock is too strong for the Saints youth club as Rangers surge up the table
Dexter Blackstock's double helped to bury brave 10-man Southampton and send Queens Park Rangers up to fourth place in the Championship table.
But for 75 minutes a Saints team whose outfield starters had an average age of just 21 gave Rangers all the trouble they could handle and threatened to embarrass the home side.
Saints, forced by injuries and a succession of sold players to field such a young side, were hit extremely hard by Blackstock's opener inside 44 seconds and then the harsh sending off of 19-year-old central defender Oliver Lancashire after 29 minutes of his debut for a mis-timed challenge on Damien Delaney.
Dutchman Jan Poortvliet's team still played the better football to equalise through Adam Lallana before Rangers regained the lead with a Damion Stewart goal that looked offside.
However, if Iain Dowie's teams are anything, they are super-fit and they demolished Saints in the last quarter of an hour thanks to Blackstock's second - against his old club - and then an injury-time fourth from substitute Patrick Agyemang.
Dowie said: 'Southampton played with great freedom and few inhibitions and popped the ball about, but their keeper had to make four or five world-class saves.
'It was a great performance in attacking threat, but out of possession I thought we were poor. The sending off? No, not for me. There would be a load of red cards every week if they were given for what was only a mis-timed challenge, particularly as it was on his debut.'
Dowie raved about Blackstock, comparing him to Andy Johnson, the frontman who he made into an England player at Crystal Palace.
Dowie added: 'Andy has great skill, so has Dexter, especially if he keeps playing as hard as he trains.'
QPR couldn't believe their start as Matthew Connelly's long throw was back-headed by Saints' defender Paul Wotton and it bounced kindly for Blackstock to lash into the roof of the net. Then came the sending off, but Saints kept playing their football and were fully rewarded with an outstanding equaliser on 53 minutes.
The ball flowed from Morgan Schneiderlin to Lallana who played a neat one-two with Simon Gillett and stroked the ball into the right corner of the net.
Though Kelvin Davis had to pull off some amazing saves, particularly from Blackstock and Hogan Ephraim, they were right in the game until Stewart got behind their defence to tap in a Martin Rowlands' free-kick.
Saints were done for on 76 minutes when sub Agyemang was blocked by the brave Davis only for Blackstock to follow up and pound the ball in. Then, in the first minute of injury time, Agyemang shrugged off Jack Cork before firing in.
Saints are now in trouble in the bottom three but Poortvliet said: 'It's very frustrating and a big disappointment but I'm proud of the boys because they never gave up. The second goal killed us mentally and in a moral way because it was offside. We didn't deserve it.
'I don't think Oliver should have been sent off as the guy wasn't going anywhere. I will have a chat with him on the coach.'
Poortvliet's problem, however, is that he is having to field a team of raw kids. Too many 4-1 beltings, if by result rather than performance, will hurt them mentally and surely leave them vulnerable to the threat of relegation.. Mail

Iain Dowie saw his men thump Saints - than admitted they had been fortunate.
Dexter Blackstock struck twice, his first goal coming after just 37 seconds, with Damion Stewart and substitute Patrick Agyemang the other scorers.
That moved QPR up to fourth and condemned their visitors - who levelled through Adam Lallana despite being down to 10 men - to a fourth defeat in five league games.
But Rangers boss Dowie knew the scoreline did not tell the whole story.
Referee Kevin Friend's sending-off of Southampton's Oliver Lancashire on his debut was crucial and Saints head coach Jan Portvliet was also convinced QPR's second goal should not have stood.
The Dutchman fumed: "We're all human but at this level mistakes cost points. He never had any intention to kill anyone. I'll ask the referee if he will change it to a yellow.
"Their player was heading towards the corner. It wasn't as though he was in front of the goalkeeper.
"The second goal killed us - and it was a big offside goal. We didn't deserve that."
Dowie, who turned out for both sides as a player, did not argue.
He admitted: "It was a good result but not a good team performance. And it was never a sending off. If that happens you will get people off every week.
"It was the boy's debut after all. It looked a bit malicious and was poorly-timed but it affected us more because they got better and we got worse."
Poortvliet had sent out one of the most inexperienced starting line - ups in Southampton's history - and it quickly looked like being a major blunder.
Skipper Paul Wotton was the only outfield player aged over 22 but helped Blackstock to his quickfire opener.
Wotton headed Matthew Connolly's long throw across his own box and former Saints marksman Blackstock gave goalkeeper Kelvin Davis no chance from six yards.
There was more trouble for the away side when Lee Holmes stayed down after a crunching tackle and had to be replaced by Nathan Dyer in the 23rd minute.
Saints eventually settled but were left reeling when Lancashire was dismissed on the half hour.
The defender was guilty of chopping down Damien Delaney to stop a sweeping move but the Hoops defender was not badly hurt and had not been heading for goal.
Saints continued to play good passing football and the 10 men found an equaliser in the 53rd minute through Lallana, who stroked the ball calmly past Radek Cerny following a smart one-two with Simon Gillett.
Saints fans behind the goal, who were convinced their side had been harshly treated all day, celebrated wildly.
The home support were not happy and Hogan Ephraim and Daniel Parejo were replaced on the hour by Martin Rowlands and Patrick Agyemang.
It proved to be a masterstroke as Rowlands turned provider within seconds with a free-kick round the back of the Saints defence that was prodded past Davis by Stewart, who appeared to have been offside.
Saints had to throw in the towel with 13 minutes remaining when Lee Cook put Agyemang in and although Davis blocked the substitute's shot, Blackstock was on hand to ram home the rebound.
Davis denied Agyemang again as young Saints legs wilted, and Delaney had a goal ruled out.
Agyemang completed the rout in stoppage time by accepting Blackstock's pass and drilling past Davis.
Anorak Blackstock's goal was his second in five games against Saints since leaving the club for QPR two years ago
Qpr Wednesday: Norwich (a) Champ Saturday: Coventry (a) Champ Sat Sep 24: Villa (a) C Cup
Southampton Wednesday: Ipswich (a) Champ Saturday: Barnsley (h) Champ Tue Sep 23: Rotherham (a) C Cup
Qpr: Cerny 6, Delaney 8, Stewart 8, Ramage 7, Connolly 7, Ephraim 6 (Agyemang, 59, 7), Mahon 7, Leigertwood 7, Cook 7, Parejo 5 (Rowlands, 59, 7), Blackstock 8.
Southampton: Davis 9, James 7, Lancashire 5, Cork 7, Surman 6, Wotton 6, Gillett 7, Schneiderlin 6 (Pekhart 70, 5), Lallana 7, Holmes 5 (Dyer 23, 6), McGoldrick 6.
Referee: Kevin Friend ATTENDANCE: 13, 770 Mirror

- See also: earlier reports and comments: QPR 4 Southampton 1

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