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Tuesday, November 03, 2009

QPR 1 Crystal Palace 1 - Reports and Comments

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QPR 1 Crystal Palace 1


Jim Magilton was adamant his side deserved all three points, as a pulsating London derby against Crystal Palace ended in honours even at Loftus Road.

Rangers took the lead through a first half Akos Buzsaky spot-kick, only for the Eagles to draw level courtesy of a Darren Ambrose penalty just after the hour.

The R's dominated for much of the remaining half an hour, but Palace custodian Julian Speroni was in inspired form, notably denying Rowan Vine and Akos Buzsaky with stunning saves, as the Hoops threw everything at their opponents.

"We created plenty of chances," Magilton told www.qpr.co.uk.

"You always worry when you're only one nil up and not taking the many chances that come your way, and tonight their goalkeeper has kept them in it.

"It's another step in the right direction for us though - another point on the board.

"There were plenty of positives on the night, but maybe we need to be a bit more ruthless and determined at times. I can't really fault them though."

Magilton added: "It was a physical battle and I thought we stood up to it.

"Palace are a very hardworking side - just like any of Neil Warnock's outfits. But we worked tirelessly and were the better side on the night and deserved more than we got.

"We've had a string of games where we've made and taken plenty of chances. Tonight we made loads again, but didn't take them.

"But that doesn't worry me. I'll be worried when we're not creating at all!"

Magilton wasn't altogether convinced that referee Mr Russell was right to award Palace a second half spot-kick, with Freddie Sears appearing to be in an offside position when he was put through on goal.

"I'd like to see the replay again, because in real time it looked as though Sears was well offside.

"Again, we could have defended it better, but I thought it was a soft decision to point to the spot."

QPR Official Site - Rangers and Crystal Palace shared the spoils in an enthralling London derby.

Akos Buzsaky's goal midway through the first half looked to be the deciding factor, as he notched from the penalty spot after Adel Taarabt was originally brought down in the area.

But the Eagles weren't to be denied, as Darren Ambrose buried a penalty of his own soon after the hour mark.

The draw saw Rangers climb up to sixth place and into the play-off zone, as Jim Magilton's charges continue to put the pressure on the Coca-Cola Championship's front-runners.

R's gaffer Magilton made two changes from the side that was defeated at home by Leicester City on Friday evening, as no less than five former Palace players lined up for the hosts.

Fitz Hall, Mikele Leigertwood, Wayne Routledge, Ben Watson and Gary Borrowdale were all handed starts for Rangers.

Watson returned after completing a two-match suspension to replace Peter Ramage, whilst Hall started in place of the injured Damion Stewart (foot).

Therefore, with Radek Cerny again in goal for Rangers, Leigertwood, Hall, Kaspars Gorkss and Borrowdale started in defence.

Buzsaky and Taarabt occupied the wide berths in midfield, supported by Watson and Alejandro Faurlin.

Routledge and Jay Simpson led the R's attack.

Looking to continue their impressive record in London derbies - having not been beaten in one since December 2007 - Rangers went on the attack from the first whistle.

Just a few minutes had passed when after a long ball was played up to Routledge from defence; the R's wing wizard controlled superbly before unleashing a fierce low drive on target, but the outstanding Julian Speroni got down well to gather the strike.

Routledge's effort, in truth, was the only real chance to note in the opening 15 minutes, even though Leigertwood was unlucky not to find the target with a drilled attempt from 25-yards out.

But the R's always looked the greater force in attack, and that was proven when after some delicious build-up play, they were awarded a penalty.

Passes were exchanged in the Eagles half between Simpson, Routledge and Taarabt, before the latter was brought down when trying to beat his man inside the area.

Hungarian international Buzsaky stepped up to take the spot-kick and made no mistake from 12-yards out, sending Speroni the wrong way to put the R's into the lead.

Soon after, the visitors broke at pace from a Rangers corner, and when Darren Ambrose centered after good work down the right, Stern John somehow hit the outside of Cerny's left-hand post when it seemed easier to find the target.

That missed opportunity seemed to spring Palace into life, and again they almost found the net when Ambrose's corner from the left created a goalmouth scramble in the R's box, but Cerny rose well to claim the loose ball.

Rangers finished the half the stronger of the two sides and they missed a golden opportunity to double their advantage seconds before the break.

After the referee allowed Taarabt to play on after Simpson was felled on halfway, the Tottenham loanee played an exquisite ball to Routledge.

Through on goal with only the goalkeeper to beat, Routledge seemed certain to score, but he could only fire narrowly wide of Speroni's left-hand post.

Simpson could have also netted just short of the interval, but his attempt from close-range was tipped wide by Speroni after a clever pass from Watson.

Encouraged by how they had finished the first half, Rangers came out after the break intent on adding to their numerical advantage.

And after the R's won a free-kick around 25 yards from goal, Faurlin only marginally fired over with a lovely curling effort.

Moments later, Faurlin was again in on the act and went even closer to adding a second goal for Rangers.

After passes went back and forth between Routledge and Taarabt, the latter squared for Faurlin, but Speroni did well to tip the Argentine's blasted attempt wide for a corner.

The R's were now comfortably in control. After a fine passing move between Simpson, Buzsaky and Taarabt, the Moroccan international was only prevented from finding the net when his dinked effort over Speroni was cleared off the line by an Eagles defender.

Play then switched to the other end and - against the run of play - Palace equalised after they were awarded a penalty.

Hall fouled Freddie Sears - who had looked marginally offside when receiving the ball - inside the area, and Ambrose tucked the ball away past Cerny to draw the Eagles level.

Rangers weren't too discouraged by the setback, however, as they went in search of regaining the lead.

First, Taarabt curled an effort wide from fully 30-yards out, before the Spurs loanee again fired just over after good build-up play involving Routledge.

This was now real end-to-end stuff, and Cerny did well to hold on to an Ambrose header after a cross from Neil Danns down the left.

Moments later, the R's won a free-kick on the edge of the box, but Speroni expertly tipped away Buzsaky's fizzing free-kick.

Late on, Rangers thought they had won it when substitute Rowan Vine's drive seemed to be heading for the top right-hand corner of the net. But Speroni was again on hand to tip the ball wide for a corner, as honours ended even.

QPR: Cerny, Hall, Leigertwood, Routledge, Buzsaky (Ephraim 78), Gorkss, Watson, Faurlin, Simpson (Vine 74), Borrowdale, Taarabt (Agyemang 74).

Subs not used: Heaton, Ramage, Alberti, Ainsworth.

Goals: Buzsaky (pen 18)

Bookings: Routledge (32)

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Hill, Derry, Fonte, Ambrose, Danns (Hills 84), John (Lee 67), Butterfield, Ertl, Davis, N'Diaye (Sears 46).

Subs not used: Clyne, Carle, Moses, Scannell.

Goals: Ambrose (pen 62)

Bookings: Davis (78)

Referee: Mr M P Russell

Attendance: 14, 377 QPR

Crystal Palace Official Site

Darren Ambrose's 9th goal of the season earned Crystal Palace a point in a pulsating London derby at Loftus Road.

The Palace midfielder converted from the spot on 67 minutes to cancel out Akos Buszaky's 18th minute spot kick that had given the home side the half time lead.

But undoubtedly the hero of the evening was Julian Speroni who pulled off a series of first class saves to keep his side in the game and he quite rightly received a standing ovation from the travelling Palace supporters at full time.

Going in to fixture Palace were set up with the clear intention of disrupting the home side's plan of playing through the midfield by flooding the middle with a five-man midfield with Stern John, in his first start since August, playing a lone striker's role,

There was also fresh call ups for Alassane N'Diaye and Clint Hill, who returned after serving his one match suspension.

And the Palace tactics were effective right from the off, with the home side unable to really gather any momentum as Palace happily swallowed the ball up in midfield and patiently waited for an opening.

Apart from an early QPR threat when Wayne Routledge latched on to a long ball up the field and used his pace to get beyond Jose Fonte and drilled a shot into Julian Speroni's chest, there was very little for the home crowd to get excited about.

That was until the 18th minute when a seemingly harmless run down the left flank by Adel Taarabt was monitored closely by Danny Butterfield who then inxeplicably attempted a lunging challenge inside the box.

The QPR winger went over and the referee didn't hesitate in pointing to the spot. Buzsaky then stepped up and calmly slotted the ball to Speroni's left.

The goal sparked Palace in to life with some late pressure that almost resulted in the perfect response. Shortly after the half hour mark a ball wide by Neil Danns was picked up by Darren Ambrose, who then managed to work himself some space for a cross into the six yard box. John measured his run perfectly, stealing a yard on his marker to meet it just oustide the six yard box with a flick of his right foot, but the ball cannoned off the bar.

QPR though should have taken an extended lead into the break late on in the half with two guilt edged chances.

First Routledge sprung the offside trap to get himself into a one-on-one position with Speroni only to side foot the ball past the post, before Taarabt was played in to the 18 yard box with plenty of space for a shot that Speroni saved well.

From there Palace broke quickly with John who carried the ball to the right side of the box and played a low cross that just ran behind Ambrose and the midfielder couldn't get a proper connection.

For the second half Palace set themselves up differently with Freddie Sears brought on to partner John upfront, with N'Diaye the man to make way.

Sears' introduction meant Palace were set up in a 4-4-2 formation in a clear bid to find an equaliser. But that had the effect of opening the game up, much to the benefit of the spectators - may be not for the Palace boss.

On 49 the tactic almost provided the much sought after equaliser when a ball into the QPR box was not cleared and Ambrose was able to flick the ball on to Danns at the far post. But, with plenty of time and space the midfielder blasted wastefully over the bar.

QPR responded through Alejandro Faurlin on 53 minutes when he drew a fine save from Speroni 25 yards out with a curling right footed effort.

At this stage the game had really opened up with both sides attacking at pace. Just short of the hour mark John was denied a penalty when he was felled in the penalty box and while he was appealing the home side went right up the other end Kaspar Gorkks who forced a goal line clearance from Hill.

But in the end Palace's pressure and resilience paid off when Sears managed to get in behind Fitz Hall. The Palace striker was then brought down as he checked on to his left foot. The appeals went up and Mr Russell duly obliged with a signal to the penalty spot.

Ambrose stepped up and, for his 9th goal in all competitions, sent Cerny the wrong way to restore parity.

And Palace continued their push, this time for the lead and they came close when Danns was found at the back post by a Butterfield cross. The midfielder didn't know how much time he had and rushed his header into to Cerny's hands.

On 72 substitute Alan Lee, on for John after 67 minutes, then forced Cerny into another save when another cross was played to the back post, but his header downwards lacked the power and it was saved.

But QPR were never out of the game and were always a threat going forward. On 79 minutes Mr Russell caused some stadium-wide confusion when he pulled up a foul, signalled by the linesman, on the edge of the box and booked a surprised Davis.

Gorkss stood up to take it and curled it to the top corner only for Speroni to pull off another brilliant save. From the corner Watson pulled away from his marker and headed just past the post

Speroni then pulled of another first class saved on 88 minutes. The Rs managed to play it out to substitute Rowan Vine on the edge of the box and his well executed volley looked destined for the back of the net, until the outstretched hand of the Palace keeper tipped it over.

Palace fans then dared to dream of a late, late winner when they broke with Ambrose through the middle. He then played the ball wide for Lee Hills on the left flank, but the substitute slipped as he received the ball and then rushed his strike over the bar. Crystal Palace

London Informer/Yann Tear - Rangers stumble in hunt to regain winning habit QPR 1-1 Crystal Palace

RANGERS are back in the top six but missed a big opportunity to re-establish their momentum in the promotion race after allowing Palace to snatch a draw.

A calmly converted Akos Buzsaky penalty after 19 minutes looked like it might provided the launchpad Jim Magilton's men needed to ensure there would be no lasting damage from last Friday's first home defeat of the season.

Instead, the south Londoners claimed a point with a penalty of their own on 62 minutes.

A magnificent save from Palace keeper Julian Speroni denied Rowan Vine a goal near the end when a full-blooded left foot volley looked destined for the net.

But that near-miss was just one of several the home side had to live with and they could have done with injecting a sense of urgency earlier in pursuit of a second goal.

It was a mixed night for Wayne Routledge, who taunted by the Eagles fans who used to laud him when he was one of their own.

He seemed intent on putting one over his old club, and he was heavily involved in the opening goal of the evening.

The winger-turned-striker won possession in midfield and played in an inviting ball for Adel Taarabt to attack the area and sucker Palace defender Danny Butterfield into a foul.

But Routledge, one of five ex Palace players in the Rangers ranks, could have inflicted even greater pain on his old side just before the interval when he raced on to Taarabt's pass, but curled the ball wide with only Speroni in front of him.

Palace went close to drawing level after half an hour when Stern John crashed a Darren Ambrose cross onto the near post and Rangers were in a mess from a corner soon after when Palace had several half chances to level during an almighty scramble.

But Rangers still looked likely to make the most of their catchup fixture – the product of an unlikely September postponement after an unseasonal downpour.

Alejandro Faurlin flitted in out of the game but almost provided Rangers with the two-goal cushion they craved when he aimed a precise shot to Speroni's right after Taarabt had spread panic in the Palace defence before laying the ball back to the edge of the area.

Then it was Taarabt's turn to spurn a golden chance to establish daylight when, set free by Buzsaky inside the area, his chip past the advancing Speroni was cleared off the line by Clint Hill.

Barely a minute later and Palace exacted full punishment when half-time sub Freddie Sears drew a clumsy challenge from Fitz Hall as the striker tried to wriggle past and Darren Ambrose did the honours from the second spot-kick of the night.

Sub Alan Lee had a header stopped on the line by Radek Cerny after Rangers gave the ball away on the edge of their own area in one rare moment of danger for the home side.

At least the Czech stopper will be happy that it proved to be a night when there was no repeat of his catastrophic goal-kick against Leicester which proved so costly last week. London Informer

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