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Saturday, August 08, 2009

QPR (Just) Draw at Home to Blackpool - Reports and Comments

- For cutting-edge, continually-updated, football-only news about QPR: Visit the QPR Report Messageboard (and quasi blog)! Feel free to just read. But your posts are welcome! All views genuinely welcomed!

- Peter Ramage grabbed a late equalizer for QPR to draw 1-1 at home to Blackpool before a crowd of just over 14,000 (changed to 14,500!)

SKY SPORT - Ramage earns late QPR draw
Ramage nets equaliser with four minutes to go after Burgess hits opener

- QPR came from behind to draw against Blackpool at Loftus Road to spare new boss Jim Magilton's blushes.
- But they left it late, with Peter Ramage equalising with just four minutes to go after Ben Burgess had given the Seasiders a first-period lead.
- The leadership of Formula One gurus Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone, as well as the input of multi-billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, makes Rangers the Championship's richest club and promotion to the Premier League is the target this season.
- However, despite dominating the opening 45 minutes with Heidar Helguson hitting the bar, Rangers found themselves behind at the interval.
- Burgess struck the well-worked opener on 37 minutes but Rangers then returned to the ascendancy after the break, with Angelo Balanta striking the post two minutes into the second period.
- Magilton introduced Rowan Vine, Akos Buzsaky and Patrick Agyemang off the bench but the leveller came from an unlikely source as former Newcastle defender Ramage drilled in his first goal in senior football - after more than 100 appearances - four minutes from time.
- Gavin McMahon then hit the upright as Magilton's side almost stole victory 90 seconds from the end.
- Magilton is the fourth permanent boss at QPR in less than two years, and Rangers' seventh boss in five seasons, and he will be eager to start well this season.
- Martin Rowlands had a shot blocked following a corner in the opening minute, Helguson then headed over and then he and Adel Taarabt each shot straight at Seasiders goalkeeper Paul Rachubka.
- Helguson had a further opportunity before Taarabt, who is on loan from Tottenham, had a close-range effort turned wide by Rachubka.
- Hit bar
Iceland international Helguson hit the bar from six yards, while Wayne Routledge was then denied by Rachubka from 25 yards.
- The visitors' first effort on goal came 10 minutes before the break when Burgess shot wide and Gary Taylor-Fletcher then had an effort saved by Radek Cerny.
- The breakthrough then came when Taylor-Fletcher teed up Burgess to fire a first-time shot from 12 yards beyond Cerny for an unexpected lead.
- Balanta hit the upright with a close-range left-footed shot in his last act as Magilton changed his mis-firing strike force. Balanta and Helguson made way, with Buzsaky and Vine coming on.
- Rangers then lost their playmaker Rowlands, who appeared to limp off, with Agyemang coming on in his place.
- Keith Southern and Jason Euell shot off target as Blackpool's scoring chances remained few and far between.
- Kaspars Gorkss headed wide from six yards and Vine dragged an effort wide as Rangers' profligacy continued.
- Vine struck the post before Ramage's low effort from the right evaded everyone, including Rachubka, for the equaliser.
- McMahon then almost secured the win, but saw his header hit the post" Skysports

- Jim Magilton expressed mixed feelings after the R's drew with Blackpool, though admitted he was more than pleased with his side's application.

After creating a wealth of chances in the first-half only to go a goal down, the story was much the same in the second period before Peter Ramage's 86th minute leveller meant the R's took a deserved share of the spoils.

The game, however, was overshadowed by the injury of Martin Rowlands, and the R's Manager admits he is unsure to the extent of his Captain's injury.

"It's too early to say (what the extent of the injury is), we think he's turned his ankle and he'll obviously be scanned.

"For the first 35 minutes I thought we were excellent, created some chances and the keeper made some very good saves."

Indeed in the opening period Rangers were a cut above their opponents, but as Magilton explains, it was something that the R's backline could have dealt with better.

"We shot ourselves in the foot with the goal; it was poor football from our perspective but the back four played very well after that.

"The one thing you can expect from an Ian Holloway side is that they're determined, and in the end it was a good point for us - to get something from it was important and it's nice to be up and running."

Rangers now travel to Exeter in the First Round of the Carling Cup on Tuesday and for the R's gaffer, if his side can match their hard work with some better finishing, there is more to come from his side.

"We had so many chances," he added. "I think when Rowan Vine saw his chance go past the post, you think 'it's not going to be our day' but our attitude and application was first class.

"We kept going and going and if we continue to play like that then we'll win more than we'll lose. We just have to take our opportunities when they come along, but I can't praise them enough.

"It was sticky conditions. I would have liked us to have passed the ball a bit better at times but I can't fault our effort." QPR

QPR Official Site - QPR 1, BLACKPOOL 1
Posted on: Sat 08 Aug 2009
Peter Ramage was at the rescue for Rangers, as they came back from a goal down to draw with Blackpool.

Rangers nearly found themselves at the end of a defeat, after a Ben Burgess goal - against the run of play - looked to be enough to overcome the hosts.

Though Ramage's cross-come-shot deceived Paul Rachubka in the Tangerines goal late on, to save what would have been a surprising and unjust defeat for the R's.

Elsewhere, Martin Rowlands picked up what looked like a serious injury, though the details of that are still to be confirmed.

R's boss Jim Magilton made three changes in total from the side that overcame Southampton in last Saturday's final pre-season before the big kick-off.

In goal, Radek Cerny returned after a bout of swine flu, whilst Adel Taarabt - who scored a sublime solo effort in that win over the Saints - started in attack.

Elsewhere, Heidar Helguson joined the Spurs loanee up front, as the R's looked for an opening day victory against former Manager Ian Holloway's Blackpool.

As the players emerged on to the Loftus Road turf amidst a firework extravaganza and of course a minute's applause for the late Sir Bobby Robson, it was Rangers who started brighter - creating the game's first opportunity.

Not even two minutes had passed on the clock, in fact, before the R's went within inches of taking the lead and Rowlands won the corner, Wayne Routledge sent over a dangerous cross from the right.

The set piece was such that it caused confusion in the Tangerines ranks, and when the ball fell to Skipper Rowlands, only a deflection sent the ball just wide of Paul Rachubka's right-hand post.

Soon after, Rangers were on the attack again - and were similarly denied a second time by goalkeeper Rachubka.

Angelo Balanta found Taarabt relatively near the area, and when the Moroccan tricked his way past two men, he played a neat one-two with Helguson.

Seemingly through on goal, Taarabt looked in the clear, only for Rachubka to come racing out of his goal to slide the ball out to safety.

Moments later, after a misplaced pass found Balanta, good work down the left enabled him to cross for Helguson. On the half volley, the Icelandic forward sent in a thunderous drive, though that was to go just over Rachubka's goal.

In all honesty, Rangers were now firmly in control, not least when Taarabt had the R's best chance to date. When Routledge beat his man down the left, he played Taarabt through on goal.

And though, in fairness, the angle was accurate, nonetheless he forced a fine save from Rachubka, who was anything but untested in the Blackpool goal.

Soon after, Rangers came as close as you possibly can without scoring, hitting the woodwork in the process.

After Routledge again flew past his man with ease, he sent in a cross to Helguson. Connecting well, the ball appeared to be heading for the net.

It was almost like time stood still as Rachubka looked on helplessly, but thankfully for the Tangerines goalkeeper, the ball bit the upright and went safely out of play.

At the other end, it was who Blackpool created their fist chance of the game. When a high ball was played to Burgess, he chested down with elegance between twisting and turning to shoot. Though thankfully, for the R's, that effort crept just wide of Cerny's left-hand post.

Soon after, the visitors were on the attack again, but this time they took the lead with what can only be described as a goal against the run of play.

Charlie Adam played a delightful ball up top to Gary Taylor-Fletcher, who held the ball superbly for Burgess. The Tangerines striker made no mistake thereafter, and drilled home a first-time effort past Cerny.

Just before half-time, the R's had a chance to level matters when a Routledge corner fell to Balanta on the edge of the area, but his snatch-shot hit the side-netting, as Rangers undeservedly went in at the break a goal down.

Though after the break, Rangers didn't rest on their laurels, going in search of that allusive goal early on.

After Rowlands' free-kick was delightfully played high into the box, Fitz Hall rose highest to nod for goal.

At first, it looked as though goalkeeper Rachubka had misjudged the trajectory of the ball, but he managed to scramble to ball away - but not to safety, as Balanta hit the rebound, only to see that effort hit the post and go agonisingly out of play.

Bar the goal, this was a one-sided spectacle, not least when Ramage and Routledge combined well down the right, with the latter crossing for Gavin Mahon - but he could only head straight at the goalkeeper.

With time a fair amount of time still left to play, Rangers were desperate to grab a goal that would get them back in the game and because of that, Rowan Vine and Akos Buzsaky were sent on at the expense of Helguson and Balanta.

And soon after, the R's were to make their third and final change of the afternoon with Patrick Agyemang replacing Rowlands - but this time, unfortunately, it was enforced.

Rowlands came off the worse in a 50/50 challenge with an opposition player and was left punching the ground. He went off with what seemed a serious knee injury, though the extent of that is unclear.

Undeterred the R's still kept on looking for that goal, and after winning a free-kick, Buzsaky stepped up from 30-yards to take it.

Though it was wide, just like so many other of the wealth of chances that Rangers had missed - and the R's weren't finished there, with Mahon heading wide from a Ramage cross, before Vine's snap-shot from a Routledge cross went high and wide of Rachubka's goal.

The goal was coming; there can be no doubt about that. It should have done, in fact, when Vine shot wide from close range after a great cross from Agyemang.

Soon after, it did, and Rangers at last were deservedly level in the 86th minute. When Ramage received the ball out wide, he looked up and crossed into the box.

Though a cross it wasn't exactly, with the ball looping over the head of Rachubka and into the net. It wasn't the prettiest, but the R's and of course Ramage didn't care, drawing themselves level in the process.

Rangers tried time and again still after that to get a winner, but somehow they couldn't find their way past the Tangerines for a second time, as both sides took a share of the spoils.

QPR: Cerny, Ramage, Mahon, Hall, Routledge, Helguson (Vine 56), Gorkss, Rowlands (Agyemang 60), Balanta (Buzsaky 56), Borrowdale, Taarabt.

Subs not used: Putnins, Stewart, Connolly, Ephraim.

Bookings: Helguson (31), Buzsaky (62).

Goals: Ramage (86).

Blackpool: Rachubka, Crainey, Southern, Evatt, Burgess, Vaughan (Clarke 74), Taylor-Fletcher (Ormerod 68), Baptiste, Euell, Edwards, Adam.

Subs not used: Gilks, Eardley, Martin, Nardiello, Demontagnac.

Goals: Burgess (38).

Referee: Mr A P D'Urso.

Att: 14,519. QPR

Blackpool Official Site - Match Report
- One of my favourite films this decade has been undoubtedly Wedding Crashers, which features a pair of cheeky chappies who sneak into high profile weddings to take advantage of the love in the air, well on Saturday substitute the actors Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn with Ben Burgess and Ian Holloway, okay the QPR v Blackpool fixture isn't a wedding, but, Loftus Road certainly had a party feel about it, razzamatazz and fireworks were in abundance as were Formula Ones big Cheeses and a plethora of models and wannabe wags. So with that in mind you knew it was scripted for Pool to "crash" the party, which is exactly what they did returning home with a well deserved point, and even

Ian Holloway sporting a freshly shaven head was given a timely boost when Welsh international midfielder David Vaughan declared himself fit having not suffered any reaction in training on Friday to the knee injury he sustained against Everton on Tuesday night, Vaughan was joined by skipper for the day Jason Euell and Charlie Adam who made his first League appearance as a permanent Pool player.

After both sets of supporters paid tribute to Bobby Robson the Seasiders in all Tangerine got things underway but it was the hosts who dominated the opening twenty minutes or so.

Wayne Routledge was the R's best player first half and the former Tottenham man forced Stephen Crainey to earn every penny on a sweaty opening afternoon, Crainey was in the action after just two minutes clearing behind for a corner. Routledge showed his danger by swinging in a great corner, that big Ben Burgess headed clear, however, the clearance fell straight to Martin Rowlands who saw his snap shot deflected behind for a corner by Alex Baptiste. Baptiste was then on hand to head clear the resulting corner.

Minutes later Pool were grateful to a combination of Keith Southern and Paul Rachubka, the pair combined to tackle and block at the feet of Adel Taarabt as the Frenchman found himself through on goal seconds later Alex Baptiste was forced to head behind for corner as QPR came out of the traps flying.

In every morning paper on Saturday, Paul Rachubka was named as the Seasiders one to watch for the season and on 17 minutes, the American stopper justified those rave reviews to race off his line to bravely block the feet of Adel Taarabt, Taarabt the on loan Frenchman who was once dubbed the new Zidane was sent through on goal by an exquisite through ball from the impressive Wayne Routledge.

The woodwork was next to frustrate the multi millionaires of West London when Heidarr Helguson saw his finish from Routledge's cross rebound off the upright with Rachubka scrambling across goal.

Having weathered the storm and Ian Holloway's constant calls to keep the ball, the Seasiders forced their first corner of the afternoon, but Charlie Adam's out swinger eluded everyone and QPR cleared the danger.

The Seasiders first real chance on goal came on 36 minutes when Stephen Crainey threaded a great ball into Ben Burgess, Burgess expertly brought the ball down on his chest before firing just wide on the turn.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher will have been disappointed to fire straight at the keeper, the versatile wide man intercepted a loose pass in midfield and before racing forward and firing straight at the keeper.

Less than a minute later, Pool silenced the home supporters, Charlie Adam found Gary Taylor-Fletcher who in turn played a great ball into BEN BURGESS and the big striker made no mistake to fire home his goal since scoring at Watford on 1st November.

The press room talk at the interval was about the freak scores that occur on opening day, Colchester being five up at the break at Norwich along with Gillingham's 5-0 battering of Swindon, few expected The Seasiders to retain their advantage second half.

The second half saw Pool retain possession of the ball considerably better and after just ten minutes of second period Jim Magilton threw on Rowan Vine and Akos Buzsaky in place of Angelo Balanta and Heidar Helguson.

Both sides tried their look from distance, Keith Southern tried his luck for Pool and Buzasky for the hosts.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher made way for Brett Ormerod on 68 minutes whilst Billy Clarke replaced the shattered David Vaughan on 73 minutes .

It is testament to how the Seasiders snuffed out their opponents second half that the Rangers full back Peter Ramage was named man of the match by the sponsors, Ramage later sparred the R's blushes when he smashed a cross cum shot beyond Paul Rachubka with four minutes remaining.

The goal and the five minutes of stoppage time gave the hosts some much needed drive, but despite throwing everything at the Pool, the multi million pound outfit couldn't find a through and Ian Holloway and his Tangerine Army returned home with a well deserved point.

Pool: Rachubka, Baptiste, Evatt, Edwards, Crainey, Southern, Adam, Taylor-Fletcher (Ormerod 67), Vaughan (Clarke 73), Euell, Burgess Subs Not Used: Gilks, Eardley, Martin, Nardiello, Demontagnac.

QPR: Cerny, Ramage, Mahon, Hall, Routledge, Helguson (Buzasky 55), Gorkss, Rowlands (Agyemang 60), Balanta (Vine 55), Borrowdale, Taarabt Subs Not USed: Putnins, Stewart, Connolly, Ephraim - Blackpool

Ealing Gazette/Yann Tear - Ramage saves point for Jim

A FLUKE from Peter Ramage saved the day for Rangers and ensured Jim Magilton's big day was not totally wrecked on day one of the season.

The new boss will have been as relieved as the increasingly frustrated Rangers fans to see the full-back's cross from the right sail into the far corner of the net to rescue a point four minutes from time.

It had begun to look as if Ian Holloway would prove it is not just the ghost of players past you have to worry about.

A master of dogged organisation, the former Rangers boss did his best to make it an agonising first outing for his counterpart in the home dugout.

But the agony was mostly self-inflicted as Magilton's men wasted a glut of chances throughout – none clearer than the Rowan Vine volley from eight yards which slid agonisingly wide five minutes from time.

Rangers fell behind to a sucker punch seven minutes before the break.

Ex Brentford striker Ben Burgess took advantage of a ball laid neatly back into his path by Gary Taylor-Fletcher and angled a shot inside Radek Cerny's left hand post.

Although the goal was totally against the run of play, Burgess had sounded a warning a couple of minutes earlier with a turn and shot just wide from a similar position inside the area.

Rangers were wasteful throughout, although the new boss will at least be pleased that the chances kept coming.

In the first half, Angelo Balanta took up the invitation to run into the inside left channel before picking out Heidar Helguson with a floated cross, which the Icelander volleyed just over.

Two exchanges between Wayne Routledge and the returning Adel Taarabt - warmly greeted by the fans when his name was announced – promised better things to come.

First Routledge took a return pass from the withdrawn striker, but was smothered by defensive cover. The second time, Blackpool keeper Paul Rachubka was the man who needed to be alert, blocking at his near post as Taarabt bore down on the six yard box.

Routledge was in unstoppable form. His pull back from the byline should have been dispatched by Helguson, who planted a shot against the bar from six yards, then the winger let fly from outside the box and nearly beat the Pool keeper's right hand.

The frustration for Rangers continued at the start of the second half when Balanta crashed a shot against an upright from close range as he followed up a Martin Rowlands header that was palmed towards the far post by Rachubka.

But it signalled the moment Jim Magilton decided to change things with a double substitution – Vine and Akos Buzsaky coming on for Helguson and Balanta.

The day had looked destined to end badly when Martin Rowlands limped off on the hour.

Having endured more than his fair share of injuries, his tearing discarding of the captain's armband in disgust at his ill-fortune was entirely understandable.

But at least his team-mates ensured a happy ending of sorts.

Also of note was the nice moment before kick-off when Rangers fans accompanied a minute's applause for the late Sir Bobby Robson by chanting his name. A former player for local rivals Fulham he may have been, but he was man who transcended mere club allegiances.

Rs line up: Cerny; Ramage, Hall, Gorkss, Borrowdale; Routledge, Rowlands (Agyemang 60), Mahon, Balanta (Buzsaky 56); Taarabt; Helguson (Vine 56). Subs not used: Putnins, Stewart, Connolly, Ephraim. Attendance: 14,013. Ealing Gazette

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