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Saturday, October 04, 2008

One Point Out of Possible Twelve...QPR Lose to Birmingham - Reports and Comment

Birmingham 1 QPR 0 - Championship League Table First half, all was ok...Till a minute from half time, when Phillips scored. Second half, Birmingham were much better. Briatore was at the game!

Iain Dowie's Perspective on Today -- QPR Official Site - DOWIE'S GOT THE BLUES
Iain Dowie bemoaned the one piece of 'lacklustre defending' that led to Kevin Phillips scoring the only goal of the game at St Andrews.
The former West Bromwich Albion and Sunderland hit-man was in the right place at the right time to convert Garry O'Connor's cross on the stroke of half-time, as Rangers' poor form in the Championship continued.
"It's a bitter pill to swallow," Dowie told www.qpr.co.uk.
"The last thing we deserved after the first half showing was to get beaten.
"They got behind us once all game and Kevin Phillips does what Kevin Phillips does best. That sums up our luck at the moment.
"Other than that, it looked like a 0-0 all day.
"The timing of the goal couldn't have been any worse. It's a straight ball and we failed to deal with it and O'Connor got in behind.
"The cross took a slight deflection off Fitz (Hall) and Phillips did the rest."
Dowie, who saw his side only test Maik Taylor once throughout the 90 minutes when the excellent Lee Cook let fly from range, added: "It was a blow conceding then and thereafter we lacked the incisiveness you need in this division.
"The second half was far more even, but I felt we were by far the better side in the first period and they didn't threaten us at all up until Phillips popped up.
"Our final ball in the attacking third has been killing us lately and it did again today." QPR


"...QPR boss Iain Dowie denied he is under any pressure, despite the fact his side have picked up just one point from their last four games.
Dowie admitted he needs more of a cutting edge in attack to enable Rangers to get out of their current poor run.
He said: "We are not firing off enough cylinders but saying that it could be a very different picture with a couple of good results against Swansea and Nottingham Forest.
"The character is in the side. I have no problem. I'm disappointed with the points return in the last four games but that is what this league is all about.
"I was happy with the first half but not the second half.
"I am confident that I will get time to do the job at Rangers. I was reading the other day that we have recently had our best start for 11 years.
"I have seen enough character around the dressing room to get get us out of a difficult run of points.
"You lose games and there always people who want to be negative. I'm not negative. I will just do my job as best I can until I am told otherwise.
"I have a very good relationship with the owners. We have targets and winning performances against Swansea and Nottingham Forest and the whole picture changes."
Dowie had to admit that it was not a game for purists as neither side hit the high notes. Sporting Life

BBC - Birmingham 1-0 QPR
Kevin Phillips grabbed his fourth goal of the season as Birmingham eased to a win over a disappointing QPR.
The first half had lacked any serious goal threat until Phillips prodded in from close range just before the break.
QPR failed to muster any signs of being able to get an equaliser as the Blues defence comfortably held them at bay.
Birmingham were not at their best but the lack of ideas and urgency from QPR rarely troubled them as they secured a seventh win in 10 league games BBC

SKY SPORTS - Phillips fires Blues to summit
Birmingham back on top as QPR slip up again

Kevin Phillips fired Birmingham back to the summit of the Championship table with the only goal of the game against QPR.

The veteran striker bundled home from close range in first-half injury time after Garry O'Connor had been released down the left and cut the ball back across the six-yard box.

Liam Ridgewell had the ball in the net in the opening moments after a deep cross into the area, but was rightly booked for a blatant Diego Maradona impression as he punched the ball beyond Radek Cerny.

QPR, tipped to be among the promotion contenders due to their financial muscle, have now taken just one points from their last four matches after a bright start to the season and remain outside the play-off places.

The visitors failed to really get going and, despite having a wealth of possession, did not force Blues keeper Maik Taylor into any save of note.

The home side's resilience, which has dominated their displays so far this term, was enough to see them through and leave them one point ahead of Wolves prior to their trip to Swansea later on Saturday afternoon.

Sebastian Larsson returned for Birmingham after missing the midweek draw at Derby because of concerns over his hamstring, while Phillips and O'Connor led the forward line.

Iain Dowie opted for the same side that started the second half of Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Blackpool, Mikele Leigertwood and Patrick Agyemang taking their place in the XI from the off.

An ordinary opening half an hour followed Ridgewell's indiscretion with neither team creating anything in the way of goalscoring opportunities.

Lee Cook fired an effort straight at Taylor from the edge of the area with Birmingham struggling to string a series of passes together and the away side looking comfortable in possession without threatening.

Cerny was forced into his first save of the match after a frustrating 31 minutes - catching well from Kemy Agustien's header.

Gavin Mahon drilled wide after good work from Leigertwood before Phillips prodded home with virtually the last kick of the opening 45 minutes to set up a more promising second half.

And so it proved as Blues posed more attacking questions in the opening stages of the second half than they had in the entire first 45 minutes.

Left-back David Murphy blitzed a great effort narrowly over the bar in the 48th minute before Cerny had to dive low to his left to keep out Radhi Jaidi's downward header as Alex McLeish's side looked to double their lead.

Birmingham's determined play brought a previously dormant home crowd to life and even when QPR started to enjoy some moments of possession, they failed to do anything with it.

Yet a similar pattern to the first half soon followed as Birmingham lacked the crucial cutting edge needed to kill the game off, despite knocking the ball around with ease.

The visitors were starting to disappear from the encounter as the clash entered the final 10 minutes and were subsequently left to taste defeat for the fourth time this season - leaving them without a league win at St Andrews since 1984. Skysports

QPR Official Site
Birmingham City striker Kevin Phillips gave a master-class in forward play, as his goal saw off an out-of-sorts QPR.
Sporting the new red away kit for the very first time, the R's never really looked like scoring and fell behind to Phillips's strike on the stroke of half-time from Garry O'Connor's pass.
Despite Lee Cook trying his hardest to ignite a limp Rangers side, it was the home side that took the points on a bitingly cold afternoon in the Midlands
Manager Iain Dowie responded to a dip in form and reverted to 4-4-2, reinforcing his attacking line with Patrick Agyemang alongside Dexter Blackstock, whist moving Martin Rowlands out to the right and recalling Mikele Leigertwood to hold the midfield alongside Gavin Mahon.
The bench was awe-inspiring, with the attacking talents of Akos Buzsaky, Daniel Parejo and Emmanuel Ledesma all taking up residence in the dugout.
Birmingham Manager Alex McLeish handed a rare start to Scottish international striker O'Connor, towering defender Radhi Jaidi, and kept faith with on-loan midfielders Quincy Owusu-Abeyie and Kemy Agustien.
The game opened in bizarre fashion as not two minutes had elapsed when a Quincy cross was 'headed' in by Liam Ridgewell. The 'goal' was chalked off, however, as the defender had performed a carbon-copy of Diego Maradona's infamous Hand of God, although this time, the culprit received a yellow card.
Despite the early scare, Rangers were by no means second best.
Cook and Agyemang saw plenty of ball down the left channel, as the R's competed well with the home side.
Indeed it was Cook who registered the first effort on target in the 20th minute. Leigertwood found Damien Delaney down the left and the Irishman crossed for the onrushing Blackstock, who was beaten to the ball by Ridgewell.
The defender's clearance was controlled by Cook before the winger fired off a snap-shot straight into the grateful arms of Maik Taylor.
Rangers threatened again moments later as Delaney once again got forward and picked up Agyemang's neat lay-off. As he strode forward, he sent the ball out wide to Rowlands on the right, who cracked a shot off first time that skimmed narrowly over.
Back came the Blues, as Quincy crossed from the right this time and found Agustien, who out-jumped Ramage and sent a header straight at Radek Cerny in the Rangers goal.
Moments later it was Leigertwood who tried his luck from the edge of the box but his effort went well wide.
Rangers continued to pose a greater attacking threat, with Mahon fizzing a 25-yard drive wide in the 35th minute.
Both sides were finding the ball in effective areas but the final bit of quality needed for a breakthrough was nowhere to be seen, much to the frustration of the large turnout at St Andrews.
However, on the stroke of half-time, Birmingham took the lead. A long ball forward was picked up by O'Connor, who'd drifted out to the left. The Scot ran at Fitz Hall and slipped a pass across goal that was touched home by Phillips to send the home side in at the break one up.
Birmingham, buoyed by their late first half goal, went in search of another early in the second period as Lee Carsley's long, high ball was chested into the path of David Murphy by Phillips. The fullback, on his weaker right foot, crashed a drive marginally wide.
The Blues threatened again seconds later as Jaidi, who'd stayed up front after an earlier free-kick, powered a header that Cerny did very well to smother and hold.
After 65 minutes, Dowie played the first ace in his pack as Buzsaky replaced the hard-working Mahon.
Cerny was almost caught out however, as a City free-kick found Jaidi just inside the box. The giant Tunisian sent a looping header towards the goal and the Czech stopper had to tip it over to save his and QPR's blushes.
With ten minutes to go, Ledesma replaced Rowlands in a last ditch attempt to rescue a point but it was not to be as Birmingham held on.
Birmingham City: Taylor, Murphy, Ridgewell, Larsson, O'Connor, Phillips (Jerome 80), Agustien, Jaidi, Owusu-Abeyie (McFadden 75), Carsley (Nafti 50).
Subs: Doyle, Taylor, Jerome. Scorers: Phillips (45)
Bookings: Ridgewell (2)
QPR: Cerny, Delaney, Stewart, Mahon (Buzsaky 68), Hall, Leigertwood, Blackstock, Agyemang, Rowlands (Ledesma 80), Ramage (Connolly 87), Cook.
Subs: Camp, Parejo.. Bookings: Leigertwood (71) Referee: Mr A D'Urso
Attendance: 18,498 QPR

Blues returned to winning ways against QPR at St. Andrew's this afternoon thanks to first half strike from goalpoacher supreme Kevin Phillips.

Once again Super Kev was in the right place at the right time to force home a close range shot right on the stroke of half time and earn Blues a deserved1-0 win.

Blues were somewhat disappointing in the first half, but they emerged as a completely different outfit in the second period of the game and dominated throughout with some first class play in which they could have easily added to their goal tally.

Alex McLeish made no less than three changes to his starting line-up with Garry O'Connor and Kevin Phillips returning up front in place of James McFadden and Cameron Jerome and Sebastian Larsson coming in for Mehdi Nafti.

On a bitterly cold lunchtime kick off Blues began the game kicking towards the Railway End.

Within two minutes of the start Blues had a goal disallowed and at the same time saw defender Liam Ridgewell booked for a deliberate handball.

Quincy crossed the ball into the QPR box and Ridgewell jumped with the goalkeeper and bundled the ball into the net, but the assistant referee had spotted that he had used his hand and immediately flagged for the infringement.

Blues were fortunate not to fall behind on 20 minutes.

The ball was fired into the Blues box and as Liam Ridgewell went to head it away he was knocked to the ground where he lay prostrate and it fell nicely to Lee Cook.

But from just 15 yards out the QPR man could only send his well struck effort straight at Maik Taylor.

Just a minute later Martin Rowlands blasted the ball less than a foot over the Blues keeper's bar after he found himself free on the right hand side of the Blues box.

Blues' first effort on target finally arrived on the half hour mark courtesy of Kemy Agustien.

Quincy sent a ball in to far post, where Agustien rose above his marker and headed the ball backwards, but R's keeper Radek Cerny was able to save it comfortably above his head.

Alex McLeish's side were struggling to impose themselves on the game against a well organised opposition it was the visitors who were creating the better opportunities.

Next to try his luck was defender Gavin Mahon who hit a fearsome 20 yard effort, but thankfully it drifted away from the top corner of Taylor's goal at the last moment.

But right on the stroke of half time and somewhat against the run of play Blues finally broke the deadlock through Kevin Phillips.

David Murphy pinged a 40 yard ball from the half way line to the left of the QPR goal where Garry O'Connor expertly brought in under control.

He ran forward past his marker before cutting it back for Super Kev to stab it home from just four yards out.

Half time: Blues 1 QPR 0

Blues arrived back on the pitch several minutes before their opponents where they undertook a warm up in the centre of the pitch.

This extra session paid immediate dividends as Blues started the second half with a renewed vigour.

David Murphy saw a great curling shot whistle just wide of the station and then Radhi Jaidi's header was well saved low to his left by Cerny.

In between the two chances Lee Carsley was substituted after 50 minutes to be replaced by Mehdi Nafti.

Carsley had appeared to be struggling with a knock towards the end of the first half.

Whatever Alex McLeish had said in the confines of the dressing room had spurred his players on and they were looking like a completely different side to the one that had begun the game.

Every time Blues went forward they were looking confident and dangerous.

In an attempt to change his side's fortunes around Ian Dowie made his first substitution of the game on 68 minutes when Akos Buzsaky replaced Gavin Mahon.

On 76 minutes Mikele Leigertwood was fortunate to escape with just a yellow card after catching Agustien's head with his elbow as they both jumped for the ball.

From the resultant free kick by Nafti, Jaidi forced Cerny to tip the ball over the bar for a corner.

McLeish made his second substitution on 75 minutes when James McFadden was introduced to proceedings in place of Quincy

And then just five minutes later he made his final change when a tiring Kevin Phillips was taken on off and Cameron Jerome brought on.

Ian Dowie responded immediately by bringing on Emmanuel Ledesma for Martin Rowlands.

As the game went into its final ten minutes Blues were beginning to look slightly nervous as they sought to hold on to their advantage and Rangers were looking more of a threat without creating any clearcut openings.

Deep into the four minutes of injury time Blues almost made it 2-0 when they broke forward as the R's pressed on and James McFadden slid the ball into the path of Cameron Jerome.

But as Jerome looked odds on to get to the ball first Cerny came rushing out and got to it leaving the Blues front man injured in a heap on the floor.

Fortunately after several minutes Jerome returned to the action for the final 30 seconds of the game and Blues held on, to temporarily at least, go top of the Championship. Birmingham

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