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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Blackpool 2 QPR 2 - Match Reports

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= Mick Harford took great pride from the performance of his players in their 2-2 draw with Blackpool at Bloomfield Road this afternoon.

An Adel Taarabt penalty and a sensational Matt Connolly volley saw the R's come back from behind twice to grab a share of the spoils.

"The performance of the players was excellent, particularly in the second half," Harford told www.qpr.co.uk

Taarabt capped a fine individual performance with a goal from the penalty spot just after the hour mark. The Moroccan scored with typical style, coolly chipping the ball into the net.

"Adel was outstanding," Harford added. "He is a very talented player. I didn't know what he was going to do with the penalty but credit to him for having the confidence to score it in the way that he did."

But it was Connolly who stole the plaudits with his first goal in QPR colours.

"It was a wonderful strike," Harford added. "I saw it - but I have to admit I didn't see that coming from him!"

Harford also reserved special praise for the R's fans who made the long trip north. "They are a brilliant set of supporters.

"When I saw where they were located in the stadium I was hoping it wouldn't rain! Their backing is so important ."

Hogan Ephraim came on at half-time and was hugely influential in QPR's improved second-half display.

"I know Hogan well from my time at Colchester, as well as my previous spell here, and I know what he is capable of. He gave us an extra edge, and I'm happy with what he did for us out there.

"Now we need to build on this and let our confidence grow." QPR

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QPR caretaker manager Mick Harford was relieved to salvage a point from his side's Coca-Cola Championship trip to Blackpool and has called for a period of stability at the club to get their play-off push back on track.

Harford has taken temporary charge of the Loftus Road club after Paul Hart departed as manager after just five games earlier this week, and the new man at the helm was given a moment to savour with the manner of his side's leveller.

A superb 30-yard shot from Matthew Connolly gave QPR a deserved share of the spoils as Blackpool were denied a first league victory over Rangers in 38 years.

Harford said: "This is a difficult place to come to. Blackpool started really well and controlled the game in the first half.

"But we had a chat at half-time and we started to create some excellent opportunities.

Harford added: "I think what this club needs after a difficult time is a period of stability.

"The board has asked me to take charge of the first team and I shall continue to do that."

Blackpool started the strongest and were ahead after nine minutes, Brett Ormerod pulling back a pinpoint cross which Scotland international Charlie Adam blasted into the roof of the net for his 10th goal of the season.

Two minutes later Ormerod could have made it two but he scooped Gary Taylor-Fletcher's cross wide with only the keeper to beat.

The Seasiders dominated the first half but their attacks frequently petered out on the edge of the penalty area and Rangers keeper Carl Ikeme did not have a shot to save for the rest of the half.

Rangers came alive after the break with Spurs loanee Adel Taarabt a constant danger to the home defence, and the visitors drew level in controversial circumstances 10 minutes after the restart.

Referee Trevor Kettle provoked fury among the home supporters when he deemed Seasiders defender Neal Eardley had handled a shot from Taarabt.

Midfielder Taarbat - QPR's outstanding performer - stepped up to nonchalantly dispatch the resulting spot-kick and cancel out Adam's opener.

Hogan Ephraim then fired wide for QPR but Blackpool regained the lead with 13 minutes remaining when Taylor-Fletcher rifled home Keith Southern's low right-wing cross.

Yet Rangers were not to be denied and were level in the 84th minute when Connolly hit a left-foot volley which flew into the top corner from 20 yards.

Blackpool manager Ian Holloway said: "We got a point but I felt we deserved three of them.

"However, to look at the game objectively, Rangers are a good side with a lot of talent. It just shows what a long way we have come. When I arrived here we were the bookies' favourite to go down.

"I thought the penalty was a bit harsh and I have had a bit of banter with the ref about it but after what happened at our last home game, when I got sent to the stand, I decided to control myself." Sporting Life

QPR Official Site - Match Report

Mick Harford saw his men come from behind twice to earn a creditable draw against Ian Holloway's Blackpool at Bloomfield Road this afternoon.

In his first match in charge following Paul Hart's decision to leave the Club on Thursday night, Harford's R's got off to the worst possible start when Charlie Adam fired the hosts in front after just nine minutes.

Rangers drew level just after the hour with an Adel Taarabt penalty after Hogan Ephraim's shot hit the hand of Neal Ardley in the area.

Pool restored the lead through Gary Taylor-Fletcher's clever flick on 76 minutes but Matt Connolly ensured QPR got a share of the spoils with a goal fit to grace any stadium in the world.

The R's defender smashed a sensational volley beyond home goalkeeper Paul Rachubka from 25 yards to finally open his QPR account.

Harford made no fewer than four changes to the side that lost mid-week against Sheffield United. Carl Ikeme, Connolly, Fitz Hall and Taarabt all came in, with Radek Cerny, Gary Borrowdale, Peter Ramage and Jay Simpson dropping to the bench.

Goalkeeper Ikeme was handed his R's debut following his arrival on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, allowing Cerny to take a break after playing with an ankle injury in recent weeks.

With Ikeme between the posts, Hall took up the right-back berth with Connolly at left-back. Damion Stewart and Kaspars Gorkss continued in the centre while Mikele Leigertwood partnered Alejandro Faurlin in the heart of the midfield.

Akos Buzsaky took up his now familiar position on the left wing with Wayne Routledge on the right side. Patrick Agyemang began in attack with Taarabt playing just off him.

After a tentative opening, the first real opportunity arrived on six minutes when Taarabt picked up possession on the edge of the Blackpool box but his drive was well blocked by Tangerines defender Alex Baptiste.

Moments later Barry Bannan shot from similar distance at the other end but his attempted curler was easily gathered by Ikeme.

But on nine minutes the R's keeper could do nothing to stop Charlie Adam giving the hosts the lead. After fine work by Brett Omerod down the left, he picked out Adam unmarked at the far post with a fantastic cross, and the latter slammed home from close range.

As the R's tried to get back on level terms, Taraarabt almost freed Agyemang but his pass was slightly over-hit and Blackpool keeper Paul Rachubka was able to cut out the danger.

On 15 minutes some fantastic passing football involving Buzsaky, Taarabt and Routledge cut the Tangerines defence open, but Routledge was adjudged to be offside as his effort drifted inches wide of the far post from a tight angle.

Blackpool were certainly up for this match and on 23 minutes Keith Southern fired a 20-yard drive inches wide of Ikeme's goal, which had the R's stopper diving at full length to his left.

The R's were almost level on 34 minutes when Taarabt picked up the ball on the left following a strong tackle by Stewart on Gary Taylor-Fletcher.

The Moroccan weaved his magic on Neal Eardley with a series of step-overs before shooting at goal but his effort took a deflection and went out for a throw-in on the far side. Such was the quality, Taarabt's skills received warm applause from the home fans.

Seconds later he was at it again, as he left three players in his wake before sliding a through-ball for Agyemang, who pulled it back but Routledge was unable to get on the end of it as the ball drifted across the six-yard box.

At the other end, Taylor-Fletcher was inches away from connecting with Eardley's inviting cross but, fortunately for the R's, the Pool striker was unable to get that decisive touch late in the first half.

Harford made one change at the break, bringing Hogan Ephraim on for Buzsaky.

And just four minutes into the second half Taarabt went as close as you possibly can go without scoring. After typical trickery, he worked spme space on the edge of area before his low shot hit the inside of the post, rolled across the goal-line and hit the OTHER post before being hacked to safety!

On 54 minutes, the R's did draw level courtesy of a Taarabt penalty - which was typically stylish! The spot-kick was won when Routledge played the ball back for Ephraim to shoot from distance, and his effort was adjudged to have hit the hand of Ardley by referee Mr Kettle.

With Buzsaky no longer on the pitch, Taarabt took responsibility from 12 yards - and casually dinked the ball in as Rachubka dived to his right.

The 459 R's fans who had made the long trip north were ecstatic and in full voice, urging Harford's men on.

It certainly made for an exciting match as both sides refused to settle for the draw, instead pushing for all three points.

Ephraim seemed to be at the centre of everything the R's did in the final third, and in the 66th minute he shot just wide following a great cross-field ball by Routledge.

But it was Blackpool who grabbed their second of the game on 76 minutes when Southern's drive from outside the area was flicked beyond the helpless Ikeme by Taylor-Fletcher from four yards after more good work initially in the move by Ormerod.

Harford made two substitutions in quick succession as he looked to get Rangers back into this game with Peter Ramage and Antonio German replacing Hall and Faurlin respectively.

Taarabt was moved into the centre of the park, with German joining Agyemang in attack.

And it was an absolutely sensational strike by Connolly seconds later which drew gasps from the Bloomfield Road crowd as the R's were level once again.

With German tussling for possession 18 yards out, the ball came out towards Connolly, who didn't let the ball bounce as he teed himself up for a stunning volley from 25 yards which looped over Rachubka.

Once again, Blackpool fans were a real credit as they acknowledged the unbelievable effort from the QPR left back with applause.

With just six minutes remaining, both sides continued to battle for all three points, but in the end, had to settle for the draw.

Harford will take great pride from this performance as his men came from behind twice against a spirited and determined Blackpool side.

Blackpool: Rachubka, Crainey, Southern, Eardley, Evatt, Ormerod, Vaughan (Euell, 89), Taylor-Fletcher (Nardiello, 89), Baptiste, Adam, Bannan (Burgess, 62)
Subs: Martin, Euell, Gilks, Nardiello, Edwards, Butler.

Bookings: Adam (39)
Goals: Adam (9), Taylor-Fletcher (76)

QPR: Ikeme, Stewart, Hall (Ramage, 77), Leigertwood, Routledge, Buzsaky (Ephraim, 46), Agyemang, Gorkss, Connolly, Faurlin (German 80), Taarabt.

Subs: Cerny, Balanta, Simpson, Borrowdale.

Bookings: Routledge (90)

Goals: Taarabt (pen, 64), Connolly (84)

Referee: Mr T Kettle

Attendance: 7,600 (Away: 459) QPR

Blackpool Official Site

A stunning 84th minute strike from Matthew Connolly meant that Blackpool were forced to settle for a 2-2 draw against Queens Park Rangers at Bloomfield Road.

Goals from Charlie Adam and Gary Taylor-Fletcher either side of an Adel Taraabt penalty looked to have sealed all three points for the Seasiders - but Connolly's effort with six minutes remaining rescued a point for the visitors.

Ian Holloway made three changes to the starting line-up for the game against the R's as Ian Evatt, Stephen Crainey and Barry Bannan all returned at the expenses of Andy Butler, Joe Martin and Ben Burgess.

It was Barry Bannan who was the first player to try for goal after six minutes but his effort landed straight in the arms of QPR goalkeeper Carl Ikeme. It was a positive start from the Seasiders, with Brett Ormerod coming within inches of heading Blackpool into the lead a minute later.

The early dominance finally told however after nine minutes when CHARLIE ADAM ghosted in unmarked at the back post to finish off a great ball by Brett Ormerod (9).


The Seasiders were now rampant and pushed forward for a second in quick succession, Gary Taylor-Fletcher's ball teeing up Brett Ormerod who fired narrowly wide.

The tempo of the game dropped somewhat for the next 15 minutes or so as chances were few and far between. The visitors started to threaten a little but were thwarted on a number of occasions by the linesman's flag.

QPR's best chance fell to Adel Taraabt on the half-hour mark, twisting and turning like a slalom skier, he unleashed a ferocious drive straight across goal. The football from Mick Harford's side was good in spells but lacked any end product.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher came so close to nodding Pool a second prior to half-time but he just couldn't reach Neal Eardley's dipping cross.


The visitors opted for a change to start the second-half and introduced Hogan Ephraim for Akos Buzsaky.

At heart in mouth moment shortly followed the change for QPR as that man again Adel Taraabt performed a couple of step-overs before seeing his strike hit both posts and come back out. Charlie Adam then blasted a strike just past the post at the other end.

QPR were then given an opportunity to level matters when Hogan Ephraim's strike was adjudged to have struck the hand of Neal Eardley in the area. Adel Taraabt stepped up and cheekily chipped the ball into the top right corner (55).


Ian Holloway's response to the equaliser was to throw Ben Burgess on in place of Barry Bannan on the hour. The change meant that Brett Ormerod would now operate on the right of an attacking three and Gary Taylor-Fletcher the left.

Some great defending from Alex Baptiste prevented Patrick Agyemang from putting the visitors ahead three minutes later, the defender just managed to knock the ball away and over the crossbar.

The game was now becoming stretched as both sides pressed for a winner - and it was the Seasiders who looked to have got it. A clearing defensive header from Kaspars Gorkss fell to Keith Southern on the edge of the area and the midfielder's effort got the deftest of touches from GARY TAYLOR-FLETCHER to restore Blackpool's lead (78).


The goal looked odds-on to be the winner for the Seasiders but six minutes later a dipping effort from the edge of the area by Matthew Connolly brought QPR back on level terms.


Ian Holloway once again opted to change things after the second equaliser and threw on Jason Euell and Daniel Nardiello in the places of David Vaughan and Gary Taylor-Fletcher.

A late surge couldn't find a winner though as the Seasiders were forced to settle for a point.


Attendance: 7,600 (459 away) Blackpool

Blackpool Gazette - Blackpool held by QPR By Steve Canavan

BLACKPOOL and QPR shared the points in an entertaining game at Bloomfield Road.
Ian Holloway will be disappointed not to get one over on his former employees but in truth the visitors – who lost their manager Paul Hart on the eve of the contest – deserved a point.

It means Pool still haven't won at home since beating Scunthorpe
at the start of November and Holloway will be keen to get back to winning ways when Sheffield Wednesday visit on Tuesday night.

Charlie Adam struck early for the Seasiders, but Adel Tarrabt hit back from the penalty spot at the start of the second half.

Gary Taylor-Fletcher thought he'd won it but five minutes from the end Matthew Connolly leveled with a terrific strike from distance.

Adam had struck his 10th goal of the season after just nine minutes.

Brett Ormerod deserved huge credit for his part in the goal, teasing Rangers full back Fitz Hall before delivering a pinpoint cross which Adam volleyed into the roof of the net from close range.

It was the Scot's second goal in successive games and will only serve to increase his value as continues to be watched by other clubs during the January transfer window.

Keith Southern came close to extending the lead with a left footer from 20 yards while the impressive Ormerod slashed a half-volley wide and Barry Bannan had a decent effort saved.

QPR looked dodgy at the back but impressed going forward and frontman Adel Tarrabt caused several problems, not least when he beat Neal Eardley with a delightful piece of skill inside the area but fired his shot wide from a tight angle.

Paul Rachubka made four fine saves, though on each occasion Rangers were ruled to be offside.

It was dangerman Tarrabt who got QPR back on level terms on 54 minutes. He converted from the penalty spot after Neal Eardley had been adjudged to have blocked substitute Hogan Emphraim's shot with his arm.

Maybe a slightly harsh decision but Tarrabt deserved his goal – as well as playing well throughout he had hit both posts with a shot moments earlier.

Always willing to push men forward, Rangers were the better side for a long while afterwards.

But the Seasiders got their noses back in front in the 76th minute when Keith Southern shot from 20 yards and it was helped into the net by Gary Taylor-Fletcher, his seventh goal of the season.

But with five minutes remaining QPR hit back once again, with a quite brilliant strike from Matthew Connolly.

The midfielder sent a wonderful looping volley dipping over Paul Rachubka and into the top corner from the edge of the area.

It proved enough to earn QPR a draw that on the balance of play they probably deserved.

Earlier Stephen Crainey had passed a fitness test and took his place in the starting line up.

Ian Evatt was preferred to Andy Butler – a bit of a shock given how well the new centre back had done on his debut at Ipswich.

Butler was on the bench alongside another centre half in Rob Edwards. Evatt meanwhile was delighted to face former club Rangers.

Holloway's third and final change for the contest saw Barry Bannan make his first start since the trip to Ipswich on December 12. He replaced Ben Burgess, who dropped to the bench, presumably with Tuesday's clash against Sheffield Wednesday in mind.

Mick Harford took charge of QPR after Paul Hart's controversial sacking on Thursday night – the ninth manager to lose his job since colourful chairman Flavio Briatore took over in 2007.

Former Seasider Kaspars Gorkss started in the heart of the Rangers defence Blackpool Gazette

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