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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Another Victory for Queen's Park Rangers! Reports of QPR 2 Bristol City 1

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QPR 2 Bristol City 1
Before a crowd of just over 14,000 QPR narrowly defeated Bristol City. But a win is a win! Updated League Table: QPR have 56 points with six games remaining - 7 points away from a playoff spot. (Every fan can look back and do the math. But ultimately that's futile]

QPR Official Site
- QPR maintained hopes of a late play-off charge with a thoroughly deserved 2-1 win over fellow promotion hopefuls Bristol City.
- In the 65th minute, Jordi Lòpez struck from 25 yards with a wonderful free-kick for his first Rangers goal but when Michael McIndoe smashed home a leveller 12 minutes later it looked like a draw was in the offing.
- But Rangers refused to be deterred in their quest for the points, and after Damien Delaney went on a lung-busting run down the left, his cross fell perfectly for Adel Taarabt to sweep home and send R's fans into raptures.
- From the side that beat Swansea City in midweek, only Fitz Hall failed to retain his starting spot. In came Delaney at left-back, with Matt Connolly reverting to centre half alongside Kaspars Gorkss. Peter Ramage completed the back four.
- In midfield, skipper Mikele Leigertwood joined Spaniard Lòpez in central midfield, Matteo Alberti took up residence on the right and livewire duo Hogan Ephraim and Taarabt, so impressive together against the Swans, positioned themselves in the centre behind Samuel Di Carmine and the left hand side respectively.
- With players returning from various knocks and strains, the R's bench looked strong. Wayne Routledge and Lee Cook returned from their injuries, with Heidar Helguson, Gavin Mahon joining Rowan Vine, scorer for the Reserves in the week, completing the substitute line-up.
- A tentative opening saw City striker Nicky Maynard and Taarabt trade long-range efforts, both of which failed to test either Radek Cerny or Adriano Basso and flew wide.
- The R's went close soon after when Taarabt stole the ball in midfield and moved in on the Robins' goal, before releasing Di Carmine who had cleverly peeled out to the left. The Italian took a touch, before attempting to bend a shot around Basso.
- The Brazilian however, was equal to it, and palmed the shot away with a smart diving save to his left.
- Di Carmine tested Basso seconds later, but when he turned and fired from just inside the area following Delaney's pass, his deflected snap-shot bounced comfortably into the Robins keeper's hands.
- Rangers were counter-attacking with some considered style, and when Taarabt fed Ephraim after a poor City free-kick, the former West Ham man carried the ball over the half way line and at the last second before being closed down, released Alberti.
- The wide-man took a touch before thumping a low drive at Basso's near post. The Robins custodian got down well to save and held onto the ball in the process.
- Meanwhile, City were looking assured of their attacking quality, but after fine build-up play, Maynard blasted over from 12 yards when well-placed.
- Minutes before half-time, City won a free-kick 20 yards out, but Rangers organised well, and Jamie McAllister could only steer his attempt wide.
- Rangers entered the second half with a change in the ranks, Alberti making way for Routledge.
- And it was the home side that began the half the brighter. Fantastic football down the left saw Taarabt win back possession after losing out to Bradley Orr, and finding Ephraim tucked inside the box.
- The attacking midfielder looked for an angle but, failing to find one, instead teed up Lòpez. The Spaniard took it first time and side-footed a fine effort that looked to be heading into the top right-hand corner. Frustratingly however, it continued to rise and flew inches wide.
- Rangers were piling on the pressure. Taarabt, after a City clearance fell at his feet, tricked his way onto his favoured left foot and blazed his long-range strike high over the Robins' crossbar.
- The only thing missing from the R's play was that little bit of fortune, and their luck took a turn for the worst on the hour mark. Connolly went down injured, and had to be replaced by Helguson.
- The change meant Leigertwood dropped into the back four, and the Iceland striker joining Di Carmine up front.
- The change nearly paid off. When Helguson won a free-kick 25 yards out, Lòpez stepped up to bend a shot over the wall and down to Basso's right. The City keeper saved comfortably.
- He could do nothing with the next one. When Di Carmine won a free-kick in exactly the same spot, Lòpez went one better and curled a beautiful effort into the top left-hand corner to blow the roof off a noisy Loftus Road.
- Rangers were firmly in their stride. Taarabt escaped down the left, beat Orr and crossed with the outside of his right boot for Helguson. Having no time to take a touch, he took the shot on first time and sent a wickedly curling shot narrowly wide of the target.
- In order to keep the momentum going, whilst also protect the lead from the inevitable Robins fight-back, Manager Paulo Sousa introduced Cook for Di Carmine.
- The home side were rampant; Lòpez wriggled his way inside the box and held the ball up expertly waiting for support. That duly arrived in the shape of Helguson, but his shot was superbly blocked by a lunging red shirt.
- As is often the way when one team fails to put away it's chances, the opposition found an equaliser. When Ivan Sproule dispossessed Cook, he sent over a teasing cross from the right that evaded everyone except McIndoe, who thumped home a well-struck volley to level the scores.
- Refusing to lie down and accept a draw. Rangers fought back superbly to score again and regain the lead. Delaney broke down the left, and after a driving run fired over a tantalising cross that Taarabt did not need a second invitation to attack and he tapped home from close range for his first Rangers goal.
- Back came the Robins, but they found themselves up against a determined Hoops defence led superbly by Gorkss.
- And the R's even had chances to extend their lead. A Routledge volley was acrobatically saved by Basso. But neither side could add to the goals, and Rangers held on for another valuable three points.

QPR: Cerny, Delaney, Leigertwood, Gorkss, Ramage, Connolly (Helguson 61), Lòpez, Alberti (Routledge 46), Di Carmine (Cook 73), Ephraim, Taarabt. Subs: Mahon, Vine.
Scorers: Lòpez (65), Taarabt (82) Bookings: Taarabt (15)
Bristol City: Basso, Orr, McAllister, Fontaine, McCombe, Maynard, McIndoe, Skuse, Adebola, Sproule (Styvar 86), Johnson (Elliot 87). Subs: Henderson, Wilson, John.
Scorers: McIndoe (77) Bookings: Adebola (45), Basso (90) Referee: Mr G K Hegley Attendance: 14,059 QPR

Bristol City Official Site - QPR 2-1 Bristol City
Adam Baker reports from Loftus Road
- City's play-off push was dealt a major blow as they were beaten 2-1 by Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
- All the goals came in the second half, with Jordi Lopez opening the scoring on 65 minutes through a stunning 25-yard free kick.
- Michael McIndoe looked to have bagged a point at least for City with a brilliant volleyed equaliser on 72 minutes.
- However, the hosts won it nine minutes from time when Taarabt converted from just six yards out - maintaining a 32-year long run without a league win at Loftus Road for City.- City's intentions were clear from the off when Nicky Maynard lashed a shot just over top inside 17 seconds.
- QPR quickly responded with a long range shot of their own moments later, Lopez lashing his 25-yard attempt inches wide of Adriano Basso's left-hand post.
-Two penalty appeals were waved away around the ten-minute mark. First, Jamie McCombe appealed that Lee Johnson's corner had been handled in the box as he prepared to head goalwards. At the other end Taarbat was cautioned for a disgraceful dive, as Liam Fontaine cleverly withdrew his challenge to make the QPR man look foolish.
Nicky Maynard went down in the box on 17 minutes after colliding with Kaspars Gorkss, but again referee Grant Hegley kept his whistle away from his lips.
The hosts wasted the first clear-cut opening of the match on 22 minutes as Tarrabt's pass put Samuel Di Carmine clear down the left. The striker cut in but couldn't find a way past Basso, who saved well with his legs.
Just before the half-hour mark City saw a good chance of their own come and go. Michael McIndoe's cross from the left picked out Ivan Sproule unmarked but the Northern Ireland winger scooped the ball over the top just when he seemed destined to score.
In quick succession Basso saved well from Matteo Alberti's angled shot, then Maynard volleyed over after neat build-up play by Adebola.
Clearly with the earlier Taarabt booking in his mind, Adebola was cautioned for simulation in first-half stoppage time as he went down in the box under a sliding challenge from Gorkss.
Adebola brushed off that caution to fire narrowly wide straight after the restart.
Lopez went close still for the home side on 53 minutes, coolly guiding a shot from the edge of the box inches wide of Basso's left upright.
A 25-yard free kick from Lopez forced Basso into an easy diving save on 63 minutes, but it proved just a warm-up effort for the Spaniard. Just 90 seconds later, after McCombe had been adjudged to have fouled Di Carmine, Lopez found the top corner from an identical position.
Substitute Heidar Helguson could have killed the game off moments later but his radar was off-target as he shot wide from 20 yards after good play from Taarabt.
Just when City looked to dead and buried, Sproule ran beyond his marker Matthew Connolly and watched on as his pinpoint cross was brilliantly volleyed in by McIndoe.
City were level for just nine minutes though, as Damien Devaney burst forward down the left and crossed to leave Taarabt with a simple six-yard finish.
Peter Styvar and Marvin Elliott - back after an 11-game lay off - were both introduced with time ticking away, but City couldn't find a late reply.
In the end Basso was forced into a stunning save to keep the score at 2-1, the Brazilian denying Wayne Routledge's driven volley. Bristol City

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