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Friday, July 24, 2009

Oxford Hold QPR - Match Reports and Comments

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- Jim Magilton was grateful to his former Club Oxford United for providing a good test for his QPR team this evening as it enabled him "to learn about the players".
- The R's boss saw the U's - who he spent four years with in the early 1990s - twice come from behind to earn a spirited 2-2 draw after Gavin Mahon and Wayne Routledge had earlier netted for the visitors at the Kassam Stadium.
- "This was a good test," he told www.qpr.co.uk. "I was pleased with how we played in the first half. I thought our passing and movement were excellent at times.
- "That's what we've been working on in training and it was nice to see it come into our play.
- "But at times we lacked concentration, and obviously fitness plays a part in that.
- "I know the backroom staff at Oxford so I always knew they would test us, and that was good because it enabled me to learn about my players."
- Magilton brought recent loan signing Adel Taarabt on in the second half, and the Moroccan quickly made an impact, setting up Routledge for his goal with a neat through ball.
- "There's no doubt the lad can play," Magilton acknowledged.
- "He's an exceptional talent and he just needs to learn when he can play with it, and when he needs to give it."
- The R's face Wycombe Wanderers next Tuesday in their next pre-season friendly, a game in which Magilton intends to field another strong side.
- "It will be very similar to the side that played tonight," he revealed.
- "And when we go to Kettering on Wednesday I also plan to play a strong team because the lads need game time as we get ready for the opener against Blackpool
on 8th August." QPR

Witney Gazette/Jon Murray - Midson makes mark as U's hold QPR
- Jack Midson made a sensational start to his life at the Kassam Stadium by snatching an equaliser just two minutes after coming on as a sub as Oxford United held Championship outfit QPR to a 2-2 draw in their first home pre-season friendly last night.
- Midson, a summer signing from Histon, showed his predatory instincts by nipping in between Matthew Connolly and keeper Radek Cerny, and knocked the ball home.
- It brought the U's a draw they richly deserved in an entertaining encounter watched by more than 3,200.
- QPR boss Jim Magilton paid his old club the compliment of playing his strongest side, and it wasn't long before the R's showed their class.
- They took the lead in the eighth minute when Gavin Mahon slotted home.
- Both sides were playing some good football on an excellent surface, with Wayne Routledge involved in much of the early action.
- As Rangers put neat moves together and threatened to add to their score, it needed vital tackles from centre backs Rhys Day and then Mark Creighton to stop visiting forwards.
- Marcus Kelly, who had produced a lovely bit of skill on the left wing to dispossess Peter Ramage, showed his vision moments later with a gloriously weighted pass to sett Matt Green free for a run at goal. Green raced forwards but his shot was straight at Czech keeper Radek Cerny.
- James Constable was then unlucky not to score when his acrobatic volley at a corner deflected wide off a QPR defender.
- With Billy Turley laid low by flu, Ryan Clarke played the whole match, and the summer signing from Northwich showed his ability with a superb fingertip save from Routledge, after clever play by Patrick Agyemang.
- At the start of the second half, Kelly had the ball whipped off his feet as he shaped to shoot in front of goal, and as the U's began to look more threatening as they attacked the Oxford Mail Stand, as they so often do, Green won his penalty.
- Cutting in from the right, he made space for himself to fire in a left-footed shot, did so, and saw it hit the hand of Latvian defender Kaspars Gorkss.
- Cool as you like, Green then tucked away the spot kick to Cerny's right.
- However, on 63 minutes, the pacy Routledge beat United's offside trap, ran through and, despite Clarke's attempt to drive him wide, finished well.
- United were not to be denied, though, and after Midson had replaced Green, he demonstrated what an asset he could be this season to manager Chris Wilder.
- In the closing minutes QPR sub Alessandro Pelicori hit the inside of a post from an effort with his outstretched leg.
- And Clarke kept his concentration level high by holding on to a fierce last-minute drive from Adel Taarabt..." ). Witney Gazette

QPR Official Site - OXFORD UTD 2, QPR 2
- QPR fought out a thoroughly entertaining 2-2 draw with Oxford United at The Kassam Stadium this evening.
- The R's took the lead twice, through Gavin Mahon in the first half and Wayne Routledge after the break.
- The hosts refused to lie down, however, with Matt Green cancelling out the opener shortly after the half-time break and Jack Midson levelling again late on.
= It was a good work-out fitness-wise for the R's, with the second-half in particular played at quite a pace for a pre-season friendly.
- Jim Magilton will have been disappointed not to win the match, however, as his side dominated for large spells, although the U's certainly came more into the game after the interval.
- Magilton named a strong R's side for his return to Oxford United, a side he made 150 appearances for during a four-year stint in the early 1990's.
- The QPR boss brought Radek Cerny back after being rested in our 2-0 win at Forest Green, while Peter Ramage, Fitz Hall, Kaspars Gorkss and Matt Connolly made up the impressive backline.
- Martin Rowlands continued his recovery with his second start in three days alongside Mahon in the centre of midfield, with Angelo Balanta and Routledge operating down the left and right wings respectively.
- In attack, Magilton opted for the pairing of Patrick Agyemang and Rowan Vine, a duo who seem to have a telepathic understanding whenever they feature together.
- New signing Adel Taarabt had to make do with a place on the bench following his arrival on a season-long loan yesterday afternoon.
- With the big kick-off against Blackpool little more than two weeks away, Magilton approached the game with serious intent.
- Angelo Balanta started the game brightly down the left-hand side, continuing his good pre-season form, and he nearly unlocked the home defence after two minutes following a neat one-two with Rowan Vine on the edge of the box, but Vine's return pass was a little too heavy.
- Vine himself went close moments later, as Oxford were pinned back in their own half.
- QPR's short, quick passing game was very much in evidence once again as the R's looked to make the breakthrough, and they managed it on eight minutes with a fantastic move.
- Following a string of passes, Balanta collected the ball on the left before picking out Agyemang in the centre, and his knockdown fell perfectly for Mahon on the edge of the box, who volleyed home in spectacular style, giving Ryan Clarke no chance in the United goal.
- It was no less than Magilton's men deserved after setting a quick tempo from the start.
- Last-ditch tackles from Rhys Day and Mark Creighton twice denied Vine getting clear as Rangers turned the screw on their Blue Square Premier opponents.
- The opening 15 minutes was spent almost entirely in the U's half, as QPR built attack after attack, with Cerny a mere spectator in the visiting goal.
- Routledge, whose pace was causing the home defence plenty of concern, nearly got the better of the offside trap on 21 minutes, but linesman Mr Redmond ruled he had gone a fraction early. The 893 R's faithful inside The Kassam Stadium clearly felt otherwise.
- The superior quality of the R's was clearly evident, with Routledge, Balanta and Hall in particular standing out, while Connolly and Gorkss were as consistent as ever.
- Gorkss appeared to pick up a nasty knock to the face following an aerial challenge from U's striker James Constable after half an hour.
- But, having seen the head injury the Latvian played on with in our 3-2 win over Sheffield Wednesday at the tail end of last season, it was never going to be serious enough to make him leave the field.
- Moments later, the hosts got in behind the Rangers defence for the first time through Matt Green but, having created space down the left, his shot was tame and easily dealt with by Cerny.
- As the half wore on, Oxford came more into the game and were starting to enjoy a bit of possession but they struggled to penetrate a strong Rangers rearguard.
- At the other end, Balanta went close with an audacious curling effort from 30 yards, which resulted in a loud chorus of "You R's" from the QPR supporters, who seemed to be enjoying the performance.
- On 37 minutes, Oxford had their best chance so far when Adam Chapman's long throw into the box was flicked on by Creighton at the near post.
- Constable was the first to react with an ambitious scissor-kick and his powerful effort seemed to be heading for the top corner, but the ball flicked off the back of Gorkss and away for a corner.
- Routledge should have made it 2-0 on 41 minutes when Agyemang sent him clear with a neat pass following good work by Balanta.
- With time to pick his spot from 14 yards, Routledge hit a low drive towards the far corner, but Clarke was able to get a strong hand to it and tip the ball away for a corner.
- That was the last key action of the opening half and Magilton will surely have been pleased with the display by his men, although QPR would probably have felt they should have held a greater advantage having dominated much of the proceedings.
- At the break, Magilton made three changes, bringing on Gary Borrowdale, Matteo Alberti and Taarabt for Ramage, Rowlands and Agyemang respectively.
- Interestingly, Taarabt partnered Vine in attack while Alberti went into the centre of midfield alongside Mahon.
- Borrowdale took up the left-back position with Connolly switching to the right side of the backline.
- Taarabt had a great chance to open his account barely two minutes into the second half with virtually his first touch of the ball.
- Vine pulled the ball back to the edge of the box from the left for the on-rushing Moroccan international, but his low drive was easily gathered by Clarke.
- On 52 minutes the hosts were given a great chance to draw level when Constable's shot from the edge of the box following a quick counter-attack was harshly adjudged to have hit the arm of Gorkss in the area by referee Mr Farries.
- Matt Green assumed responsibility from 12 yards, and coolly slotted into the bottom left-hand corner, with Cerny going the wrong way.
- The goal certainly lifted the home support and, in truth, sparked the game into life.
- Taarabt quickly reminding us what he's capable of and it was he who created the opening for Routledge to restore QPR's lead on 62 minutes.
- Picking the ball up in the middle of the park, Taarabt waiting for things to develop around him before playing an inch-perfect through ball with the outside of his boot for Routledge to race onto.
- Having missed an early opportunity, Routledge made no such mistake on this occasion, rounding goalkeeper Clarke before slotting home from a tight angle.
- In an entertaining match, Oxford were soon down the other end, and Constable warmed the palms of Cerny with a fierce 20-yard drive.
- Magilton will have been pleased with the way Taarabt quickly got into the swing of things with his new team-mates, especially considering he hasn't even trained with them so far this pre-season.
- Two more changes were made by the R's with little over 20 minutes remaining, Damion Stewart replacing Hall and Alessandro Pellicori coming on for the hard-working Balanta.
- Meanwhile, Oxford pushed for a second equaliser and, in all honesty, they were gifted it on 69 minutes when Connolly attempted to chest the ball back to Cerny in the area.
- Lacking pace, substitute Jack Midson pounced to nick it beyond the R's keeper and into the back of the net.
- Looking to inject some extra passion into the R's display, Magilton threw on Gareth Ainsworth at the expense of Rowan Vine, a decision that was greeted with an almighty roar of "There's only one Gareth Ainsworth" by the travelling Blue and White Hoops.
- He took up his normal position on the right, with Routledge switching to the left flank.
- And it was his deep cross from the right which almost led to Rangers' third goal of the evening. Pellicori was the only one to react, racing to the back post before diving feet first to get a touch.
- With keeper Clarke beaten, the ball bounced agonisingly off the foot of the post before being cleared.
- Moments later, Pellicori again went close, this time heading inches wide following a whipped in ball from the left by the impressive Routledge.
- Clarke scrambled across his goal and was relieved to see it drop just the wrong side of his upright.
- In the closing stages, there was a really competitive edge to this game as both sides went in search of a winner.
- Ainsworth went close with a powerful drive in the final minute but the U's held firm and will have been delighted with this result, while Magilton will consider it another step on the road to preparation for the season opener against Blackpool on August 8th.
- Oxford United: Clarke, Chapman, Sandwith, Bulman, Creighton, Day, Murray (Potter, 78), Clist, Constable (Silver, 82), Green (Midson, 67), Kelly (Rhodes, 78).
Subs: Carruthers, Killock, Deering.
Goals: Green (pen, 52), Midson (69)
QPR: Cerny, Ramage (Borrowdale, 46), Connolly, Mahon, Hall (Stewart, 66), Gorkss, Routledge, Vine (Ainsworth, 73), Balanta (Pellicori, 66), Rowlands (Alberti, 46), Agyemang (Taarabt, 46). Subs: Marshall. Goals: Mahon (8), Routledge (62) Bookings:
Att: 3,246 (893) Referee: John Farries QPR

Oxford United Official Site United 2 QPR 2
- The U's gained a more than creditable draw with Championship side QPR tonight as goals from Matt Green and Jack Midson capped an impressive team performance and once again underlined the potential for what lies ahead.
- United started with Ryan Clarke in goal and a back four of Adam Chapman, Rhys Day, Mark Creighton and Kevin Sandwith. In midfield Adam Murray and Marcus Kelly added width outside Dannie Bulman and Simon Clist, while James Constable and Green led the line. On the bench 17 year old youth team keeper Nathan Silver acted as deputy for the ill Billy Turley.
-It took ten minutes for the breakthrough as Rangers capitalised on a long spell of possession to score with the first chance of the game. Gavin Mahon adds experience in midfield but got forward well to get on the end of a left wing through ball and finish neatly across Clarke into the far corner. Rangers, in their fifth pre-season game, looked sharp and composed on the ball and enjoyed the fine playing surface and excellent conditions to pass the ball around in a style in the mould of their new manager.
- It took two excellent challenges from Day and Creighton to keep them out but gradually United got to the pace of the game and started to show what they can do. Just after the half hour mark Green combined well with the lively Kelly and sprinted clear on the left, but chose to shoot into the arms of keeper with teammates busting a gut to get alongside him in the area. Constable then snatched at a chance and blazed well over when he had more time than he realised, while Green had claims for a penalty waved away on 36 minutes as he turned sharply around Kaspars Gorkss.
-Constable's volley on the turn, from a Chapman long throw flicked on by Creighton, was deflected over the bar by 'one size' Fitz Hall, and after that sluggish opening United had created several good chances despite the undoubted quality of the opposition. Their liveliest player was Wayne Routledge on the right wing but when he got through on 43 he found Clarke equal to his low shot, making an excellent save down to his right.
- With no changes at half time United continued to match their higher league opponents and on 54 they were level from the spot. The excellent Chapman first cleared the danger at one end then sprinted forward to receive a return ball from Adam Murray. He then sent a fine pass down the right channel for Green who took a touch and cut inside before firing in a left footed effort which struck Gorkss as he tried to block. Ref Farries was well placed and decided it struck an arm, allowing Green to thump his penalty into the corner of the net for the first of many goals the returning striker will bag for the U's.
- Credit to Rangers for coming back after that and nine minutes later the excellent Routledge capped a fine game with a well taken goal. Sub Taarabt flicked an exquisite pass through for him in acres of space and he rounded Clarke before finishing neatly from an acute angle to make it 2-1.
- However, United are a squad full of characters and on 69 minutes were level once again. Murray scrapped and battled on the right to find space for a floated cross. Matthew Connolly was caught between heading clear and chesting back to the keeper but took the wrong option instead by chesting it into the path of Midson who tapped it past the keeper and into the net to score his third goal of a very promising pre-season.
- Rangers nearly scored when sub Alessandro Pelicori struck the inside of Clarke's right hand post but their neat passing football often ran into the wall of Creighton and Day who look a formidable pairing at the back. With Bulman and Clist knitting things together in midfield and now with three strikers who look like scoring whatever the opposition or the combination there are serious grounds for optimism for the U's fans
- An enjoyable game between two sides with plenty to play for this season.
United Clarke, Chapman, Day, Creighton, Sandwith, Murray (Potter 78), Bulman, Clist, Kelly (Rhodes 78), Constable (Deering 80), Green (Midson 66) Subs Silver, Deering, Midson, Carruthers, Killock, Potter, Rhodes
Att:3,246 Away: 893 Oxford United

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