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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ten-Man QPR End Birmingham's Undefeated Away Record

- QPR defeated Birmingham 1-0 to end Birmingham's undefeated away record this season. 0-0 at Half-time. Di Carmine on his home debut scored in the second half. Just before half-time, Leighterwood had been sent off for a foul. QPR then had several minutes of injury time in which Phillips scored but was disallowed (a fine ref!) before the ref blew the final whistle. The crowd on a terrible-weather night was just over 13,500. - QPR stay outside the top six, on goal difference: QPR are 7th with 22 points from 14 games. - Updated Table

Match Reports:

- Sporting Life Match Report

- Birmingham Minute-by-Minute

QPR Official Site - Match Report
QPR produced a breathtaking diplay that is destined for the archives after more than earning a 1-0 win over top of the table Birmingham City.
Samuel Di Carmine was the hero of the night after his bullet strike on 54 minutes raised the roof off Loftus Road and inspired a performance worthy of caretaker Manager Gareth Ainsworth.
Even when Mikele Leigertwood was controversially sent off, the R's battled hard and were well worthy of the victory.
Caretaker Manager Ainsworth made wholesale changes for the visit of the Blues to W12.
Damiano Tomassi came in to make his full QPR debut, while there were recalls for Dexter Blackstock and Emmanuel Ledesma. As a result, Gavin Mahon, Daniel Parejo and Akos Buzsaky all dropped to the bench.
Elsewhere, Patrick Agyemang missed out owing to the pelvic strain that has kept him sidelined in recent weeks. The good news regarding his fitness though arrived earlier in the day, with the pacy striker successfully coming through a behind-closed-doors fixture at Harlington, which could yet see him feature in the R's squad for the trip to Portman Road on Saturday.
Birmingham needed a reshuffle from the team first selected by Manager Alex McLeish. Garry O'Connor injured himself in the warm-up meaning James McFadden stepped up from the bench.
Elsewhere, there were starts for Medhi Nafti, Franck Queudrue and Cameron Jerome, whilst recent loan-signing and Rangers old boy Nigel Quashie took up residence on the bench.
At the match started with Radek Cerny picking up where he left off against Reading. The Czech keeper was at his very best from the off, pulling off a fantastic fingertips save to deny Cameron Jerome who had broken the offside trap.
Almost immediately he was called upon again when Kevin Phillips wriggled free inside the box and thumped a shot which Cerny dived fully to his right to strongly palm away.
Back came Rangers but Lee Cook could only screw his shot well wide after the Birmingham defence had half-cleared a Martin Rowlands free-kick.
A lull in the tempo finally brought a second Rangers chance. Mikele Leigertwood's long pass forward from right back was nodded into the path of Ledesma by Blackstock, but the Argentine could only drill a shot well wide of the target.
With chances at a premium, Rowlands nearly caught Birmingham keeper Maik Taylor unawares with an inswinging free-kick that needed tipping over from the giant Blues Number 1.
Rangers had upped the ante and Cook swung in a beautiful cross from the left, that the sliding Blackstock managed to guide agonizingly wide of the post.
With shades of the recent game at St Andrews still fresh in the minds, disaster struck in added time at the end of the first half. After a miscontrol from Leigertwood, the right back lunged in to block Lee Carsley and caught the Irishman with the sole of his boot. Referee Stuart Attwell instantly pulled the red card from his pocket to the disbelief of the R's faithful.
Caretaker boss Ainsworth responded to the dismissal by sending on Mahon for Cook.
The injustice of the red card inspired rangers and on 54 minutes they took the lead. And how! Tommasi's strong ran and interchange with Blackstock allowed the ball to find Di Carmine who strode forward and rifled an unstoppable shot beyond Taylor and into the top left corner.
Such was the quality of the goal that Ainsworth decided he'd celebrate too and dived head first to the ground Klinnsman-esque!
Birmingham responded and sub Mahon was the hero as he hacked off the line following a goal-mouth scramble.
Loftus Road was rocking as the R's fans encouraged the ten men on, generating a carnival-like atmosphere in the stands.
Ledesma almost joined the party minutes later when he won and subsequently took a free-kick that needed a full stretch Taylor to keep out.
Birmingham boss McLeish responded to the R's going ahead with a double substitution. On came Marcus Bent and Quincy Awusu-Abeyie.
Rangers were putting in a real shift to contain their top of the League opponents, with Fitz Hall and Damion Stewart impenetrable stalwarts at the back and Tommasi oozing class in the middle of the park.
Even as the snow began to fall at Loftus Road, the R's were more than a handful and, after withstanding a barrage of Blues pressure, manfully held on to claim an historic victory.
QPR: Cerny, Stewart, Hall, Leigertwood, Blackstock (Buzsaky 69), Rowlands, Connolly, Cook (Mahon 46), Tomassi, Ledesma, Di Carmine (Ephraim 74). Subs: Cole, Parejo.
Scorers: Di Carmine (54) Bookings: Ledesma (90), Cerny (90) Red Cards: Leigertwood (45)
Birmingham City: Maik Taylor, Martin Taylor, Ridgewell, McFadden, Phillips, Jerome (Bent 64), Nafti (Owusu-Abeyie 64), Agustien, Quedrue, Parnaby (Wilson 12), Carsley.
Subs: Doyle, Quashie. Scorers: Bookings: Wilson (39), Queudrue (81) Red Cards:
Referee: Mr S B Attwell
Attendance: QPR

Birmingham Official Site
- "London proved not to be a happy hunting ground for Blues as ten-man QPR received capital gain courtesy of a Samuel Di Carmine strike and put an end to the impressive unbeaten away record built up by Alex McLeish's side.
- James McFadden in action against QPR at Loftus Road.The visitors started well at Loftus Road and although they lost their way a little in wet conditions towards the end of the first half, the sending off of Mikele Leigertwood for a challenge on Lee Carsley must have given Blues renewed hope at the break.
- But a moment of magic from Di Carmine - a rifled shot into the top corner from 25 yards on 54 minutes - was enough to pick up all three points, despite frantic efforts from the visitors at the death to try and salvage a point.
- The disappointment was further heightened by not only injury to Garry O'Connor in the pre-match warm-up but also by the carrying off on a stretcher of Stuart Parnaby early on in the game.
- Blues started in lively fashion and on five minutes Cameron Jerome came close to opening the scoring. Nafti carved open the QPR defence with a neat pace and the striker, after charging through the middle, tried a low curled round Radek Cerny turned away low down to his left.
- Phillips then stung Cerny's fingertips with an angled drive as the visitors attacked with menace but in the tenth minute Blues were left facing adversity when, with just ten minutes on the clock, Parnaby went down injured out on the right touchline and was forced off on a stretcher.
- The travelling faithful looked on concerned as the defender was carried past them and the door was open for 19-year-old Wilson to make his Blues debut.
- Mehdi Nafti in action against QPR at Loftus Road.Seconds before he entered the fray Nafti forced a corner with a scything shot before, at the other end, QPR created their first meaningful opportunity in the form of a 20-yard half volley that Lee Cook sent wide with Maik Taylor untroubled.
- On 25 minutes QPR appealed for a penalty when Emmanuel Ledesma attempted to head a cross back across goal from the back post and the ball hit Queudrue. Ledesma led the clamour for a spot-kick but referee Stuart Attwell adjudged that the ball hadn't hit the Frenchman's hand.
-McFadden forced a Blues corner with a surging run down the right on the half-hour mark but QPR broke and led an attack of their own, one which resulted in a Samuel Di Carmine shot being blocked by Lee Carsley 16 yards out.
-As the rain poured down on Loftus Road once again QPR pressed and debutant Wilson went in the book on 40 for a foul on Cook six yards from the right touchline. Martin Rowlands lifted the resulting free-kick goalwards and Taylor was forced to tip behind as the ball headed for the top corner.
- On 42 Dexter Blackstock flung himself along the turf and got a touch on a teasing low Cook cross but could only direct the ball two yards wide before Rowlands broke into the area from the right and forced a low save from the feet of Taylor at his near post.
- Blues ended the first half in shaky fashion performance-wise but there was still drama to unfold with just less than a minute to go to the break when the Hoops' Mikele Leigertwood saw red for a late challenge on Lee Carsley after the Birmingham captain had moved the ball on.
- QPR must have been fearing the worst in the second half, what with only having ten men due to the sending off but often teams are difficult to play against with a man less and particularly when someone like Di Carmine pops up with a thunderbolt of a drive from 25 yards like he did with his right boot on 54 to give the hosts the lead. McFadden had been guilty of giving away possession by trying to do much deep in QPR's half and after Tomassi had broken clear the ball fell to Di Carmine, who did the rest.
- Blues responded almost immediately with Phillips turning and shooting from close range only for QPR sub Gavin Mahon - a Birmingham City fan - to clear off the line.
- On the hour-mark Ledesma curled a left-footed free-kick into the arms of Taylor from distance and within minutes McLeish made a double substitution to freshen things up, bringing on Quincy for Nafti and Marcus Bent in place of Jerome.
- With 66 minutes played a looping Wilson cross was headed out by a QPR defender right onto the left boot of Queudrue who let fly with a speculative 20-yarder that fizzed high over the goal and into the Blues fans.
- Cameron Jerome in action against QPR at Loftus Road.With sub Bent putting pressure on his kick on 71 Cerny scuffed his clearance and presented Phillips with a chance, from a central position, some 45 yards from goal. On a wet surface it would have taken a sublime finish even by Phillips' high standards to hit the target and unfortunately his placed effort was too high and into the crowd.
- The rain turned to snowflakes as the clock ticked towards full-time and Blues were left with just 15 minutes to get back into proceedings, something they very nearly did when Phillips' neat ball in behind the QPR defence found the marauding Wilson, who squared it across the face of goal - sadly however no visiting striker was on hand to knock into the back of the net and the Hoops escaped unharmed.
- Queudrue picked up a booking for a foul on 82 as the night got worse for Blues but to their credit the visitors did set about attacking QPR in a bid to pick up a point, with the livewire Quincy a constant thorn in the home team's side.
- Phillips thought he'd earned that point deep into injury time from close range after getting on the end of a low Quincy cross, but although the ball ended up in the back of the net the assistant referee flagged for off-side in what was to be the final piece of significant action in the game. Birmingham Official Site

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