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Sunday, February 22, 2009

QPR's Depressing Home Loss to Ipswich - Reports and Comments...Brief Di Carmine Interview

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Sunday Mirror/Mike Allen - Match Report
-If this is how Ipswich answer calls for manager Jim Magilton to be sacked, they'll have to make it a weekly occurrence. In - form QPR were thumped at Loftus Road to make a mockery of the demands for the manager's head in a week when his team has collected six points.
After falling behind after just three minutes, the Tractor Boys recovered and then gave a finishing masterclass through Pablo Counago and sub Jon Walters, to add to the victory over Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.
They are now just two points off the play-off places - no wonder chairman Marcus Evans has given Magilton a heartfelt vote of confidence.
Qpr had lost just one of their previous 13 League games under their young Portuguese boss Paulo Sousa and took just three minutes to go ahead.
Wayne Routledge, an England prospect a few years ago before an ill-considered move to Spurs halted his development, beat Ipswich left-back Ben Thatcher all ends up before crossing temptingly into the six-yard boss where Samuel Di Carmine netted at the near post.
Qpr were full of quick passes and flicks - especially Routledge, but it all started to unravel when Kaspars Gorkss gave away a needless corner.
That was headed just over his own bar by Mikele Leigertwood and Rangers never looked comfortable as they struggled to clear the resulting set-piece, before Jon Stead eventually turned in a weak deflected shot from David Norris.
Qpr were suddenly looking frail at the back and they had a lucky escape 10 minutes before the break when Gavin Mahon attempted an over ambitious header back to goalkeeper Lee Camp.
It was intercepted by Counago, who with his back to goal, laid the ball back to Stead who somehow managed to fire wide of the unguarded net.
Magilton might ponder that on such misses are the fates of managers decided after a week in which he has been subjected to calls for his sacking.
But needn't have fretted because when Counago won the ball of the hapless Gavin Mahon, he brushed off another couple of challenges and after finding space fired past Camp.
And that was topped by Walter who, nine minutes after coming on, took a brilliant 50- yard Alan Quinn pass in his stride and with his second touch rapped it home. Mirror

- Paulo Sousa refused to blame certain individuals, as the R's went down to a 3-1 defeat against Ipswich Town.
- Rangers led early on thanks to Samuel Di Carmine's third minute strike, only for Jim Magilton's men to hit back with goals from Jon Stead, Pablo Counago and Jon Walters.
- Sousa, who saw his stand-in skipper Gavin Mahon booed during the second half, told www.qpr.co.uk: "I've always said that we win together and lose together and each and every player takes responsibility when we win and when we lose. Today is no different to that.
- "I understand the fans' frustrations, but as a Manager, when you lose, you all lose. Some players didn't play to their best ability tonight, but the way to help is to support.
- "It's a normal reaction, because they (the fans) want to see us win every match. Their frustration is our frustration."
- Sousa added: "Of course I am disappointed. We created the first goal, but then we allowed them opportunities to score and we conceded a lot of possession.
- "We made a lot of mistakes in the first and second moments and they took advantage."
- He continued: "Other than the result, I feel that the positives today were that the fans, who were very close to us. Since I arrived in this country, that has been the best our fans have been and I'm grateful because we needed that.
- "From the beginning they are important to us. We started well, but then we came under a lot of pressure and began to make mistakes and conceded through their counter-attacks. Those mistakes put pressure on ourselves.
- "At the start of the second half we changed that and I felt that we reacted very well and were coming back into it. We created chances - far more than them - but the goals didn't come." QPR

The Sunday Times/Wayne Veysey - February 22, 2009 John Walters seals Ipswich victory
QPR 1 Ipswich 3

THOSE disaffected Ipswich supporters who called for the dismissal of Jim Magilton during a pre-game demonstration in midweek should be feeling a little less agitated.
A narrow home victory over Nottingham Forest on Wednesday was followed by this more convincing display, which has the double-edged effect of easing the pressure on Magilton and lifting the Tractor Boys to within two points of the playoff places.
The Northern Irishman, who was given the dreaded vote of confidence by his chairman in midweek, has surely bought himself a few weeks grace, possibly until the end of the season.
Oustanding second half goals from John Walters and Pablo Counago, his 50th for the club, helped the visitors achieve the rare feat of winning after going a goal behind. This was the first time they had done so in 23 months.
Magilton, who celebrated the goals with O’Neill-esque enthusiasm, brushed off speculation about his positon. “I’m focused on the job,” he said.
It was a frustrating evening for his counterpart Paulo Sousa, the QPR manager. Sousa’s side could not come to grips with an unfamiliar 4-5-1 formation and his team selection was criticised by association, through the booing from home fans of midfielder Gavon Mahon.
Yet it had all begun so promisingly for Rangers. They took first blood in the third minute when lone and on-loan front-man Paulo Di Carmine made a tricky half-volley chance on the near post look far easier than it was with a polished finish after some neat footwork from Wayne Routledge.
Ipswich’s reply was forthright and immediate. Taking advantage of an unconvincing Rangers rearguard and the home side’s lack of familiarity with a three-man central midfield system that appeared to be running in tracle, Magilton’s side controlled the play and got their reward with a 14th minute equaliser.
Rangers appeared to have cleared a corner but when the ball came back into the penalty area, a critical deflection enabled John Stead to nip in front of Rangers keeper Lee Camp and move into double figures for the season.
That was the undercoat. The gloss came after the break from Counago, whose trickery and curling shot put Ipswich ahead, and then the coup de grace, a fabulous finish from Walters that sealed all three points. Star man: Pablo Cougano (Ipswich)
Yellow cards: Ipswich: Thatcher Referee: S Attwell Attendance:13,904
QPR: Camp, Delaney (Blackstock 67min), Mahon, Hall, Leigertwood, Routledge, Gorkss, Connolly, Cook, Miller (Balanta 73min), Di Carmine (Helguson 6, 55min)
IPSWICH: Wright, D Wright, McAuley, Bruce, Thatcher, Miller, Norris, Civelli (Walters 61min), Quinn, Stead (Lisbbie 69min), Counago (Gavan 82min) Sunday Times

Sousa on the boos as Tractor Boys have a field day

- QPR’S play-off bid imploded last night as they shipped three goals — and the fans turned on boss Paulo Sousa.
Rangers, nine games unbeaten before kick-off, went ahead — but they fell apart as Jon Stead, Pablo Counago and Jon Walters hit back for the rampant Tractor Boys.
Angry Hoops fans, expecting Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone’s millions to ensure promotion, chanted at Sousa: “You don’t know what you’re doing.”
They also booed out-of-form captain Gavin Mahon after some nightmare blunders.
England manager Fabio Capello, surprisingly watching from the stands, joined many Rangers fans in leaving before the final whistle.
The result eased the pressure on Ipswich boss Jim Magilton, who has fallen out with his side’s supporters despite losing only one game in nine.
Rangers had taken the lead after just 141 seconds.
Wayne Routledge whipped in a cross from the right for Samuel Di Carmine, dashing to the front post, to sweep in a sweet six-yard half-volley.
Ipswich woke up and bagged the leveller on 14 minutes.
Striker Stead beat dopey defender Fitz Hall to a right-wing cross, prodding the ball into the bottom corner.
That was Stead’s 10th goal of the season since joining on loan from Sheffield United.
Sousa’s side looked shaky every time the Tractors Boys aimed high balls towards Stead — and Hall’s stand-up row with team-mate Damien Delaney hardly eased the home nerves.
Rangers’ fans were getting twitchy and Mahon added to the nerves with a suicidal back-header after 37 minutes.
Counago intercepted and Stead side-footed just wide from 20 yards with keeper Lee Camp out of position.
Rangers midfielder Mikele Leigertwood claimed a penalty at the start of the second half when he felt he was impeded by David Norris as he shaped to shoot.
But referee Stuart Attwell — having one of his quieter games — waved away the appeal.
Mahon was having a shocker and was robbed by Counago just after the hour — with the Spanish striker superbly skipping free to curl a fine goal into the top left corner.
Sub Walters cracked the third for Ipswich with a magnificent 71st-minute effort, controlling Alan Quinn’s long pass and drilling home an 18-yarder.
Rangers fans were furious when, late on, Sousa took off their best player, Liam Miller. News of the World

- Jim Magilton is once again flavour of the month with the Ipswich fans who were calling for his head last week following their 3-1 win over QPR.
- Pablo Counago and Jon Walters reignited Town's Coca-Cola Championship promotion hopes with superb second-half strikes.
- The two sides, with billionaire owners and lofty ambitions but currently treading water just outside the top six, were locked at 1-1 at the interval.
- But Counago pounced on a mistake by Gavin Mahon to fire the visitors into the lead and substitute Walters killed Rangers off in style to leave Magilton's men two points off the play-off pace.
- The Town boss said: "It's not about me, it's about preparing these lads, being professional and they have shone like beacons this week.
- "There is a tremendous spirit in my camp regardless of what you hear outside of it - they are a great bunch of lads and they showed their honesty and determination."
- When asked if the recent criticism surprised him, Magilton replied: "It's part of the modern game."
- While the Irishman walked off to the strains of 'there's only one Jim Magilton', opposite number Paulo Sousa incurred the wrath of a section of the home faithful.
The fans reacted angrily to Sousa's decision to substitute their best player, Liam Miller, and barracked their hapless skipper Mahon.
"It's normal, I can understand it," said Sousa. "It was not a good game for Gavin.
"When you are afraid to make a mistake, you make a mistake. But when you lose you lose together, and when you win you win together.
"It wasn't a good game for him but we can count on him in the future."
England boss Fabio Capello, fresh from watching Chelsea's win at Aston Villa, made it back to west London in time to enjoy the hospitality of QPR chairman Flavio Briatore.
And the two Italians were treated to a goal by one of their countrymen after just two minutes, Samuel Di Carmine tucking away Wayne Routledge's cross.
But Ipswich dragged themselves level in the 14th minute, Jon Stead diverting in David Norris' wayward shot.
- The visitors went ahead on the hour following a mistake by Mahon, who dawdled on the ball and allowed Counago to rob him, stride into the penalty area and curl a fine finish past Lee Camp.
And 10 minutes later substitute Walters took a stunning cross-field pass from Alan Quinn, bringing the ball down with his first touch and lashing it past Camp with his second.
"My aim is still to create a good base looking to the future," added Sousa, whose side remain five points off the play-offs.
- "I hope next season to be looking for the Premier League. But when you are very close to the play-offs you need to think about them.
- "There are five or six teams very close and each one can be up there." Sporting Life

-Jim Magilton was delighted to see his strikers get on the scoresheet as Town turned on the style in front of the TV cameras at QPR.
-Goals from Jon Stead, Pablo Counago and Jon Walters gave Blues a 3-1 win after Samuel Di Carmine had put Rangers ahead on three minutes.
"I'm thrilled for all the players, it was an excellent performance with moments of real quality," said the Town boss.
"I'm really pleased the forwards got on the scoresheet. They have worked very hard in recent games without getting the rewards but today they did. Pablo's goal in particular was outstanding and gave us a foothold in the game.
"There was a tremendous work ethic amongst the whole team and they have shone like beacons this week when people were writing us off.
"They were outstanding to a man. There's a real team spirit amongst them and I'm proud of every one of them." Ipswich

- Despite grafting hard and playing some fine free-flowing football, QPR went down fighting 3-1 to an impressive Ipswich Town side.
Even when Jon Stead cancelled out Samuel Di Carmine's third minute opener, Rangers looked the most likely to earn the points, but Pablo Counago scored on the hour to put the visitors ahead.
With the R's pushing for an equaliser, Jon Walters added a third to steal the points away from the men in Hoops, who only looked like adding to their solitary goal through Mikele Leigertwood's long-range strike and a Dexter Blackstock header late on.
Rangers' Manager Paulo Sousa decided it was time for a change and tinkered with his defence and forward lines.
In came Fitz Hall at the expense of Damion Stewart - who dropped to the bench - to partner Kaspars Gorkss at the back. Matt Connolly and Damien Delaney filled in at right and left back respectively. Lee Camp retained his place between the sticks, covering for the struggling Radek Cerny.
Di Carmine cut a lone figure up front, supported by Lee Cook and Wayne Routledge, whilst Leigertwood, Liam Miller and stand-in Captain Gavin Mahon completed the line-up.
Ipswich handed a start to recent capture Luciano Civelli on the left hand side, whilst Stead, the man who put Rangers to the sword at Portman Road earlier in the season, began on the right.
Fans' favourite Counago began up front on his own, with David Norris keeping Owen Garvan and Walters on the bench.
Rangers raced out of the blocks and took the lead inside three minutes.
When Delaney's free-kick was only partially cleared to Routledge on the right, the diminutive wide-man beat Ben Thatcher with ease and picked out Di Carmine who buried his shot past a hapless Richard Wright from close range.
With that blistering start, the R's looked comfortable, but that man Stead put paid to any hopes of extending the lead ten minutes later.
When Norris tried a shot from the edge of the box, the former Huddersfield man nipped in to lift the ball past the exposed Camp and bring the sides level.
Counago nearly doubled the visitors lead when a whipped in corner found him unmarked inside the six-yard box, but - with Camp motionless - the Spaniard headed over.
Rangers hit back, but Leigertwood couldn't manage to connect with a decent amount of power to worry Wright.
That, however, was as close as Rangers were to come, for Town took hold of the match by the scruff of the neck. And they could, and perhaps should, have been ahead in the 36th minute.
Mahon, trying to clear the danger, headed back towards Camp unaware of a loitering Counago who, when he couldn't find a way past the R's keeper, teed up Stead who fired wide of an open net.
The second half opened in the same manner the first had ended, with Stephen Quinn trying his luck from 25 yards after robbing Miller. Camp though, happily saw the ball bounce wide.
Rangers, however, refused to lie down, and put together some neat attacking play that needed crucial interceptions from the Town defenders. In a bid to up the intensity, Sousa replaced goal-scorer Di Carmine with Heidar Helguson.
It did not work out exactly as planned however, as Ipswich took the lead just past the hour. The newly-introduced Walters was barely on the pitch before Counago picked up the ball, burst past Hall and Connolly and rifled a left-foot shot beyond Camp.
To try and find a way back into the match, Sousa switched to 3-5-2, introducing R's top-scorer Blackstock for Delaney.
Unfortunately on 70 minutes, Walters made sure of the points for the visitors. Quinn's magnificent cross-field pass found the winger racing past Gorkss, and after controlling with his chest, he guided the ball home past the onrushing Camp.
In a final throw of the dice, Sousa sent on Angelo Balanta for the hard-working Miller.
But for a Blackstock header flying into the grateful arms of Wright, Rangers could not find the goals to stage a late comeback, and Town held on to claim the points.
QPR: Camp, Delaney (Blackstock 67), Mahon, Hall, Leigertwood, Routledge, Gorkss, Connolly, Cook, Miller (Balanta 73), Di Carmine (Helguson 55). Subs: Stewart, Alberti. Goals: Di Carmine (3)
Ipswich Town: R. Wright, D. Wright, McAuley, Bruce, Miller, Counago (Garvan 82), Norris, Civelli (Walters 60), Stead (Lisbie 69), Quinn, Thatcher.
Subs: Supple, Balkestein. Goals: Stead (14), Counago (61), Walters (70) Attendance: 13,914 QPR

own closed the gap on the Play-Offs to two points with a dominant display at Loftus Road, lit up by brilliant second-half goals from Pablo Counago and Jon Walters.

Counago put Blues ahead on the hour with a terrific individual goal and Walters put Jim Magilton's side in total control with an equally good finish midway through the half.

Rangers had taken a third minute lead through Samuel Di Carmine, who converted Wayne Routledge's cross but Blues were on level terms on 13 minutes, Jon Stead diverting the ball home for his 10th goal of the season.
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Gareth McAuley passed a fitness test on his damaged calf, with Town making one change from the team that beat Nottingham Forest in midweek, hamstring victim Danny Haynes making way for David Norris.

England boss Fabio Capello joined his fellow Italian Flavio Briatore in the directors' box as the game got underway in front of the Sky cameras and Town could have been ahead before Rangers' early goal, Stead failing to control Tommy Miller's hooked pass when clear.

It was the home side who struck though on three minutes, Routledge getting away from Ben Thatcher too easily and his cross was met by Di Carmine at the near post, leaving Richard Wright with no chance.

Kaspars Gorkss headed well wide from another Routledge cross before Town levelled on 13 minutes, Stead forcing the ball in after McAuley had won a header and Norris put the ball in the box via Counago.

Norris tested Camp with a low shot then Counago went close to putting Blues ahead with a header from Alan Quinn's corner that went over the bar.

Thatcher sent the ball out of the ground from 30 yards after more Town pressure, Civelli's cross almost finding Counago at the far post.

Blues should have gone ahead nine minutes before the break, Gavin Mahon's header was latched on to by Counago who showed great awareness to set up Stead but the striker fired wide from the edge of the box with Camp beaten.

Quinn fired across goal inside the first minute of the second-half, Rangers responding with Routledge's cross hacked clear by Alex Bruce.

Town continued to look the better side and Counago played in the overlapping David Wright and almost got on the end of the cross, Civelli denied when he latched on to the loose ball.

Rangers made a first change on 54 minutes, Heidar Helguson on for Di Carmine, Blues then following with Jon Walters replacing Civelli on the hour.

Seconds later Blues were ahead and in sensational style, Counago wriggling away from three defenders and then curling a beauty past Camp.

The Spaniard almost added a second, his header deflecting off Gorkss for a corner. Rangers making a second change with Dexter Blackstock on for Damien Delaney.

Rangers had a penalty appeal turned down when Routledge's cross hit Norris' arm but with no intent, Kevin Lisbie introduced for Stead on 68 minutes.

Town's second goal was equalled by the third, a sublime pass by Quinn and an equally brilliant control and finish by Walters putting Blues in control.

Liam Miller was replaced by Angelo Balanta for the last 15 minutes, the home fans clearly not happy with the decision, Mahon the obvious target of their frustration.

Wright held firm from Mikele Leigertwood's long range effort, Thatcher then doing well to shield Routledge away from danger.

Owen Garvan was given the last 10 minutes, Counago making way. Thatcher then picking up the first and only booking of the game.

Rangers claimed a penalty when Routledge went down under a challenge from McAuley but the Town skipper had timed it to perfection, Bruce then standing strong - as he had done all game - to head clear from Routledge's cross as Blackstock threatened.

The win ends Town's miserable run in front of the Sky cameras this season, ends Rangers' 10 match unbeaten run and extends Town's run to just one defeat in nine games, with seven victories now on the road and the Play-Offs within reach. Ipswich Official Site

1 Wolverhampton 33 21 63
2 Birmingham 33 11 60
3 Reading 32 30 59
4 Bristol City 34 7 53
5 Preston 34 3 53
6 Sheff Utd 33 14 52
7 Burnley 34 1 52
8 Cardiff 29 15 51
9 Swansea 33 13 51
10 Ipswich 34 11 50
11 QPR 32 2 47
12 Sheff Wed 34 -9 45
13 Coventry 33 -2 44
14 Crystal Palace 31 5 43
15 Derby 32 -3 41
16 Doncaster 33 -11 40
17 Blackpool 34 -14 38
18 Watford 32 -7 36
19 Barnsley 32 -11 36
20 Plymouth 34 -13 36
21 Nottm Forest 34 -14 34
22 Norwich 34 -9 33
23 Southampton 33 -19 31
24 Charlton 33 -21 26

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