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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Plymouth 1 QPR 1 - Further Reports and Comments

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Sky/Carla Hilton - Sturrock admits draw tactics
Pilgrims boss pleased with point
- Plymouth boss Paul Sturrock admits his tactics were to chase a draw when making late changes against QPR.
- Sturrock introduced a three-pronged attack late in the game at Home Park after the Pilgrims appeared to be struggling to claw back from an early goal deficit.
- Heidar Helguson had given the visitors a surprise early lead on just 16 minutes which looked to be a winner until the final few minutes.
- Then second-half substitute Steve MacLean did exactly what was expected when joining the match late on with his rocket shot on 83 minutes clinching a point for the home side.
Sturrock said: "I believe you have to go for it at 1-0 down.
"At that late stage it does not matter whether you lose by one or two if the chance is that you may get a goal back and that's precisely what we did.
"The only real disappointment for me is only taking one point from the last two games.
"That's the real exasperating thing for me because easily we could have come away with six."
Helguson's goal was QPR's first on the road in 793 minutes and looked to have put the visitors on-course for just their second league win on the road this term.
Boss Paulo Sousa admitted: "I was much happier with the team because they are starting to show consistency.
"I want them to play as well away as they do at home and for the first half they did that.
"With consistency comes confidence and I thought we looked more confident today.
"Helguson took his goal well and he will grow in confidence with that goal.
"That is the main thing for me - the players and the team grow in confidence and show consistency because in this league you have to be consistent." Sky

Plymouth Official Site Sturrock Comments - TEMPO AND CHARACTER
ARGYLE showed fantastic character to salvage a 1-1 draw with QPR at Home Park after a frustrating afternoon of missed chances and poor decisions.
Substitute Steve MacLean scored with seven minutes remaining to cancel out Heidar Helguson's first-half strike and to justify manager Paul Sturrock's decision to introduce the Scot in place of crowd favourite Paul Gallagher.
It was a precious equaliser but, after dominating against Birmingham and QPR in the last two games, a return of just one point is naturally frustrating for Luggy.
He said: "It was a professional call [bringing off Gallagher]. I felt it was appropriate and in the end, the proof is in the pudding.
"Over the last two games, Gall had been through a lot of mileage and I felt we needed fresh legs. I am delighted that the bench has played its part today and it shows that the squad is blossoming.
"The real disappointment for me is that we've only taken one point from the last two games. That's the most exasperating thing because we could have easily come away with six.
"That is two games where he have played at a high tempo and it is definitely starting to work.
"To get back into the game showed a bit of character. It is not for a lack of effort that this team will lose football games.
"There are better teams than us in this league but, if we go about our job like we have in the last two games, we will start winning football games.
"I'm hoping they will take that as a win and take confidence into the next game. Rory [Fallon], a key figure, is suspended for the next game, so we will have to change things slightly.
"He [MacLean] did really, really well. Steve and I have obviously had words this season, and I did fell he had lost a bit of confidence in front of goal.
"Since he has come back into the fray, I can't fault his application and attitude, and it was nice today to get the icing on the cake as far as the equaliser was concerned."
The goal obviously meant something MacLean and his goal celebration suggested a lot of pent up frustration had been released.
When asked what he thought of MacLean's celebration was saying, Luggy replied: "Great - I really enjoyed it."
Argyle had chances to win the game in the last seven minutes as Luggy retained the positive formation that had brought him an equaliser.
Craig Noone and Nicolas Marin were the rampaging wingers as the Greens sought all three points.
"We had a go," said Luggy. "We still stayed with four forwards and pushed on. The full-backs pushed on and Clarky was excellent in the second half.
"You are just as well losing 2-0 as you are losing 1-0. The cavaliers were on at the end, so we were a bit open but we wanted to try and get a winner.
"If we had lost one at the end, we would be kicking ourselves but I'd rather have a go if we are going to pick up points at home.
"We finished with the two cavaliers down the wings and it definitely seemed to work, and I was relatively pleased.
"Noone was a livewire when he came on again. He definitely set the tone and they eventually had to take their full-back [Peter Ramage] off because he was getting in the right areas.
"I'm going to give him a run out in the reserves on Tuesday, just to get an hour in him and we will see what he is looking like.
"He hasn't played many games and also, I wouldn't imagine his pre-season would have been up to the standards of the Championship. I am not being derogatory when I say that but I don't think his tank is completely full.
"Do I put him in and he dies a death or do I use him as a player who comes on and turns games for us?
"He came on against Southampton and turned the game for us. He came on again today and he won the game for us at Coventry.
"I am not going to put him in a situation at the moment that could damage his confidence."
Simon Walton and Krisztián Timár were other men singled out for praise by Luggy, as they continued to justify their return to the starting line-up.
"Walton had an excellent game again today," said Luggy. "He is starting to do what I am looking for and starting to do the right things.
"Timár was very solid as well. People that have come in have grabbed their chance."
The downside of the day was Chris Barker's positional error, which allowed Helguson to open the scoring, and Argyle's current inability to take their chances.
"Barks has come in and put his hand up," said Luggy. "He was too deep and the spin has beaten him.
"We had several chances before that and should have taken the lead. We have got to take those chances and that is the problem at the minute. We were free-scoring but lately it has been a worry.
"It looked as if it was going to be one of those days again and, had it transpired we didn't get a result, it would have certainly eroded the confidence of the team.
"Getting that equaliser and with the work-rate they showed, I am delighted for them and very pleased that we are over the 30-point mark.
"There is an exasperation and a few of them are snatching at things now, whereas before they weren't."
At times it must have seemed Lady Luck was also against the Greens, especially when referee Kevin Friend decided the ball had not crossed the line from an early chance involving Timár.
Soon after, he awarded Argyle a free-kick for a handball when most people in the ground could clearly see the culprit was inside the penalty area.
Luggy said: "I thought there were a couple of penalties in there today and a couple of clearances off the line we were claiming, and all the chances we created.
"The boys are all saying it was in the box. I'm not too sure the other one was over the line.
"I began to think Lady Luck had turned our bottom on us again but she came good in the end. Plymouth

News of The World - Steve MacLean sees off Argyle boo-boys
STEVE MacLEAN walked on the pitch to a crescendo of boos - but he stuffed his own supporters’ chants back down their throats when he bagged Plymouth a vital equaliser.
Argyle fans were furious when boss Paul Sturrock replaced home favourite Paul Gallagher with MacLean in the 77th minute.
The Pilgrims were a goal down and staring at their fourth defeat in a row.
But the gutsy forward rode the storm of abuse along with Sturrock, who was taunted with chants of ‘you don’t know what you’re doing’.
And 10 minutes after he entered amid the jeers and whistles, the fans were chanting MacLean’s name.
He pounced on Rory Fallon’s knock-down to hammer the ball past Radek Cerny and pile more away misery on QPR.
Heidar Helguson had given Rangers the lead scoring their first away goal in 768 minutes of play.
It looked set to be an early Christmas present for the travelling Rangers fans — until MacLean popped up seven minutes from time.
Sturrock said: “Bringing Steve on was a professional call. I felt that it was appropriate and he came up with a great finish.
“Paul is popular with the fans, but I felt that we needed some fresh legs.
“We’d had so many chances we could have won the match. But I am glad Steve scored.”
The goal was the highlight of a dramatic second-half fightback by the home side.
The Pilgrims were fired up from the start and desperate to bring the curtain down on the worst run of Sturrock’s managerial career.
The tough-talking Scot had accused his players of lacking mental strength and consistency and said many of his new boys had under-achieved.
But with less than three minutes gone the home fans thought Argyle were ahead.
Krisztian Timar unleashed a powerful left-foot shot after the ball fell to him from a corner.
His shot squeezed under Rangers keeper Radek Cerny and it looked to have crossed the line despite a last-ditch Damien Delaney clearance.
But ref Kevin Friend waved away the Plymouth players’ angry appeals.
Then Helguson hit Plymouth with a hammer blow — justifying many of Sturrock’s pre-match criticisms.
The Icelander was found lurking in the area by a low cross from Martin Rowlands.
His first shot hit the inside of the post, but he buried the rebound.
And it looked grim for Plymouth when Rowlands struck a 25-yard drive past the outstretched fingers of keeper Romain Larrieu before the ref ruled the effort offside.
And Friend was at the heart of more controversy when he made another dubious decision in the 24th minute.
Jamie Mackie was spearheading an Argyle break down the right flank when he drilled in a cross.
The ball was clearly handled by Rangers’ centre-half Kaspars Gorkss in the area — only for Friend to wave away Argyle’s penalty appeals.
Sturrock said: “I didn’t think that Timar’s shot went over the line, the ref got that right. But all the lads felt that we deserved a penalty.”
Plymouth stepped up the pressure after the break and Sturrock threw four strikers into the attack.
He said: “It was a risk, but sometimes you might as well lose by two or three goals and fortunately the gamble paid off.”
MacLean’s arrival as a sub caused the biggest reaction on the terraces but defender Craig Noone had just as much impact when he came on.
The former roofer, snapped up over the summer from Blue Square North side Southport, lifted the home side with his enthusiasm and urgency.
He had a shot of his own cleared off the line and was a constant threat.
Sturrock added: “I am not sure when he will start a game — but I love his energy.”
News of The World

MAIL - Plymouth 1 QPR 1: Supersub Steve MacLean conjours great escape
Steven MacLean came off the bench to rescue a point for Plymouth as their Coca-Cola Championship clash with QPR finished as a draw.

- Paulo Sousa's side had gone 793 minutes without scoring away from Loftus Road but Heidar Helguson ended the unwanted record in the 16th minute at Home Park with a cool finish from close range to give Rangers the lead.
MacLean ensured Argyle, who had dominated the match, took a deserved share of the points when he smashed the ball home in the 83rd minute.
The home side had begun positively and Krisztian Timar struck the post with a snap-shot in the second minute after he got on to the end of Luke Summerfield's corner.
Argyle continued to press and moments later, Rangers goalkeeper Radek Cerny was forced to tip Simon Walton's 18-yard strike around the post.
Walton then had a great chance to open the scoring in the seventh minute when he evaded his marker in the box but could only head the ball over the crossbar from six yards out following Jim Paterson's cross.
The visitors broke the deadlock against the run of play nine minutes later with their first real chance of the game.
Martin Rowlands found space on the right and he slid an intelligent ball through to Helguson and the Iceland international produced a clinical finish to dispatch the ball past goalkeeper Romain Larrieu and into the bottom-right corner of the net.
Larrieu saved well from Patrick Agyemang's long-range shot in the 26th minute and Timar did well to block Rowlands' shot from the rebound.
But Cerny was the busier of the two goalkeepers and was again called into action moments before the half-time break when he parried Jamie Mackie's speculative goal-bound strike to safety.

The match followed a similar pattern immediately after the interval as Mackie, Walton and Damien Delaney all attempted ambitious shots from distance.
Paterson created a shooting opportunity in the 63rd minute but Cerny was able to make a routine save from his effort from the edge of the penalty area before Rory Fallon headed wide five minutes later.
Paul Sturrock's side continued to press for an equaliser and midfielder Mackie was presented with a great chance in the 76th minute.
Substitute Craig Noone saw his shot from the edge of the box blocked by QPR defender Peter Ramage and the ball fell to Mackie but he lifted his shot from inside the penalty area over the crossbar.
MacLean came off the bench for the ineffective Paul Gallagher in the 77th minute and six minutes later Argyle were on level terms.
Fallon headed across the penalty area to tee up MacLean and he made no mistake from inside the six-yard box to rifle the ball past Cerny and into the top-right corner.
Both sides seemed content with a point after MacLean's equaliser and the game petered out in the final few minutes of the match. Mail

- See also: Earlier Plymouth-QPR Reports and Sousa's comments

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