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Saturday, February 20, 2010

QPR Halt Relegation Plunge, Beat Doncaster

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- Ex-Chairman Bill Power (BP) Update

- The Big Unanswered Question: How Much of a Change Really Took Place? What Percentage of QPR is Now Owned By the Mittals?

Local Guardian/Graham Moody -Warnock silent on QPR
- Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock has refused to talk about speculation linking him with the manager's job at Queens Park Rangers....- The former Sheffield United boss would not be drawn on the link though. - “I don't even want to mention it,” he said. “No comment and you can make a story about that. “I won't be talking about that tonight, I'm talking about my players, I thought they were super against Coventry today. “I'm looking forward to the cup game.” Local Guardian
- WArnock Silent on Speculation Skysports

Telegraph/ By Julian Bennetts - QPR 2 Doncaster 1
- Queens Park Rangers started life without Flavio Briatore in style as they moved four points clear of the relegation zone in what is likely to be Mick Harford's final game in caretaker charge.
- The controversial Italian resigned from his role as Chairman of QPR Holdings Ltd on Friday, leaving a legacy of ten managerial changes and 47 signings in just 29 months in charge.
- He has been replaced by Ishan Saksena, who Telegraph Sport understands has stepped up the search for a permanent manager to replace Harford, who has won just one of his seven games in charge.
- The favourite is Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock, although QPR would have to wait until after Palace's FA Cup fifth round replay with Aston Villa on Wednesday to make an offer.
- Alan Curbishley has also been considered for the job in the past, but it is understood that he has been ruled out on this occasion.
- Gianni Paladini has reverted back to his role as Chairman of QPR FC, which is in turn owned by the Holdings company, but it is Saksena who will make the final decision on the new manager.
- Briatore has also sold the majority of his shares to the Mittal family, who are represented by Amit Bhatia, vice-chairman of QPR Holdings Ltd, but they are expected to be far less hands-on than the previous regime.
- Briatore interfered with selection and transfer policy, but the new men in charge recognise that the new manager must be given complete control.
- That is likely to mean the end of Harford's temporary reign at the club - a scenario he is well prepared for.
- "The football club need to appoint a new manager. If it's me then great, if not then they should bring someone in to take this great club forward," said Harford.
- "My remit is simply to look after the team. I've been given no assurances and I don't know if I'll be in charge against Middlesbrough next Saturday."
- Yet if this was Harford's final game in charge it was a fine way to bow out as 18-year-old striker Antonio German took the game by storm, scoring his first professional goal from close range in the first-half after Neil Sullivan had parried Jay Simpson's shot.
- QPR's achilles heel is their defence, and James Hayter made it 20 games without a clean sheet for the hosts as he converted Billy Sharp's low cross. But QPR were the better side - "we were awful," admitted Doncaster's manager, Sean O'Driscoll, afterwards - and Simpson won the game with 14 minutes left as he chested down Akos Buzsaky's through-ball and volleyed past an over-exposed Sullivan." Telegraph

SPORTING LIFE - By Andy Sims, Press Association Sport - Harford in The Dark
- QPR's first victory of 2010 is unlikely to be enough to keep Mick Harford in the manager's job at Loftus Road.
- Harford, who was put in charge until the end of the season after Paul Hart walked out in January, broke his win duck at the seventh attempt with a 2-1 success against Doncaster.
- But despite the resignation of chairman Flavio Briatore last night, Rangers are believed to be on the look-out for a new permanent boss - their seventh in less than two-and-a-half years since the controversial Italian arrived at the club.

Briatore's replacement Ishan Saksena spoke to the players in the dressing room at Loftus Road before the game and will have the final say on who the new manager will be.

Crystal Palace's Neil Warnock is rumoured to be top of the list but Rangers will have to wait until after their FA Cup replay at Aston Villa next week.

When asked if he expects to be in charge against Middlesbrough next weekend, Harford said: "I don't know."

He added: "The club needs to appoint a football manager. If it's me, great. If it's not me then they need to bring someone in, long-term, back him and give him the opportunity to take the club forward.

"My remit is just to look after the team. There was no timescale, just look after the team until they appoint a permanent manager.

"If the results had been better I would have been in a stronger position, make no bones about it.

"What I'm bothered about is this club. Whatever they decide has to be for the good of this football club."

Goals from Antonio German and Jay Simpson did at least ensure Rangers began life after Briatore in style.

Rangers had signed an incredible 47 players since Briatore took charge, so it was heartening to see local lad German given his full debut in attack.

And the 18-year-old grabbed his big chance with his first professional goal.

"I thought he was the best player on the pitch," added Harford.

"He's technically very good and if he continues to improve he's got a good future."

Rangers' familiar jitters kicked in after the break - they have not kept a clean sheet in 22 games - and Doncaster levelled through James Hayter's close-range strike.

But Arsenal loanee Simpson popped up to tuck away a fine winner.

"We were awful, we never got going," said Rovers boss Sean O'Driscoll.

"Our two centre-halves played like it was only their second game together - which it was.

"But you have to give some credit to QPR, and the young boy was excellent." Sporting Life

QPR 2 Doncaster 1 - QPR Official Site -HARFORD: 'WE DESERVED THE WIN' Posted on: Sat 20 Feb 2010
- Rangers boss Mick Harford was full of praise for his side after QPR recorded a 2-1 victory at home to Doncaster Rovers.
- Antonio German opened the scoring on 25 minutes, before Rovers equalised on 51 minutes. With time running out on the clock, in the 77th minute Jay Simpson thumped home when through on goal to give the R's a much-needed win at Loftus Road.

Manager Harford was elated with the victory, reserving special praise for German who scored on what was his first league start.

"I thought Antonio German was the best player on the pitch," explained the R's boss.

"He made his debut and deserved it because he's worked so hard on the training ground.

"If you give someone a chance the fans will back them, I thought he was fantastic today.

"I was so happy for him, he's got to continue to work hard ahead of what should be a good and long career I hope. But if he can put on performances like that he's got a bright future.

Harford added: "I've said it over the past few weeks that our performances have been more than acceptable.

"We just haven't had the breaks.

"I thought today that the players showed fantastic attitude along with the ability that they've got against what are a very good Doncaster team, who play their football in the right way.

"We stopped them playing and imposed ourselves, we deserved the win." QPR

QPR Official Site - QPR 2, DONCASTER 1
- Antonio German and Jay Simpson were both on the scoresheet as the R's secured a maximum return against Doncaster Rovers at Loftus Road.

The young striker opened the scoring in the 25th minute after he pounced on a loose ball when Jay Simpson's initial header was superbly saved by Neil Sullivan for Donny.

Rovers levelled the scores just six minutes after the interval. Billy Sharp's low cross found James Hayter, who fired the ball home six yards from goal.

Both sides had chances to win it, though it was Rangers who took the points in an exciting finale in W12, after Akos Buzsaky's exquisite through ball was powered home by Simpson.

Rangers boss Mick Harford made one change from last Saturday's 1-0 defeat at Coventry City.

German was handed his first league start for QPR, replacing Tamas Priskin who made way.

Carl Ikeme was once again in goal for Rangers.

Peter Ramage and Matt Hill occupied the full-back positions, with Damion Stewart and Kaspars Gorkss at the centre of defence.

Buzsaky, Alejandro Faurlin, Matt Connolly and Lee Cook made up the R's midfield quartet.

Simpson joined German up front.

On a cold but sundrenched afternoon in West London, the R's fashioned the first chance of the opening period.

After the ball found its way into the Doncaster box, Connolly received possession before his blasted shot at goal was blocked away for a corner

Moments later, Faurlin picked the ball up just past midway before passing to Buzsaky.

The Magical Magyar drove at the Rovers penalty area before unleashing a stinging effort that only just went over the crossbar.

Soon after, it was Donny who had their first chance of the match.

Following a short corner from Mark Wilson, the ball eventually found its way to Brian Stock, whose low shot came off the leg of a Rangers defender before going wide for a corner.

Although Rangers, by this stage, had created one or two more chances to score, there was little to separate the two sides.

Rovers were next on the attack and missed their best chance to date to find the net.

James O'Connor burst down the right before crossing to Sharp, and when an R's defender blocked the ball away only as far as Elliott Ward, he could only fire wide of the goal.

It was a missed chance that Donny would live to regret, and moments later, a lovely passing R's move saw them take the lead.

Passes were exchanged between Buzsaky, Faurlin and Cook before the left winger crossed for Simpson. The Arsenal loanee looked certain to nod home just six yards from goal, only for Sullivan to pull of a brilliant save.

It didn't matter though, as German was on hand to touch the ball over the line in his first league start.

Full of optimism from their first strike, the R's set about adding another when Cook took possession on the left before drilling a low effort at goal that went just wide of the right-hand post.

Rangers were now playing with confidence that was clear for all to see, with German's goal giving the hosts the extra belief to get the ball down and play football.

The R's almost gave themselves a chance of adding a second before the half-time whistle, only to be denied by a superb save from Neil Sullivan, who did well to get down low after Gorkss headed Cook's corner towards the goal.

As the second half commenced, it was QPR who had the first chance of any note.

Faurlin won possession inside the Doncaster half before sending in a low curling shot that went only inches wide of Sullivan's left-hand post.

Moments later, Rangers missed a guilt-edged opportunity to put themselves further in front.

Cook was the architect, sending in a delightful centre from a corner on the left, and German could only head over when unmarked around six yards from goal.

Boosted by the reprieve, Rovers punished the R's inability to add to their opening goal, levelling the scores through Hayter.

A long ball was played up to Sharp in the area, who turned and crossed for Hayter, and the frontman had the simplest of tasks from close range to tap home.

The R's responded to the setback soon after, and when Cook found space down the left, his cross rolled agonisingly across the six-yard box before eventually being cleared by the Rovers defence.

QPR were now the side most likely to score, and when Buzsaky's centre was cleared only as far a Connolly in the penalty area, he flicked the ball over a defender before seeing his effort blocked away for another corner.

Play then switched to the other end, with James Coppinger sending in a low shot 12 yards from goal that was collected by Ikeme for Rangers.

Soon after, Rangers stole the points in fine style.

Buzsaky made the chance, dinking a high ball up to an unmarked Simpson in the area, who controlled the ball with his first touch before smashing home into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

QPR: Ikeme, Ramage (Taarabt 77), Stewart, Buzsaky, Gorkss, Connolly (Borrowdale 85), Cook, Faurlin, Hill, Simpson, German (Vine 90).

Subs: Cerny, Quashie, Balanta, Oastler.
Goals: German (25), Simpson (77)
Doncaster Rovers: Sullivan, O'Connor, Sharp, Chambers, Stock (Mutch 85), Hayter, Wilson (Roberts 83), Oster, Hird, Coppinger (Shiels 83), Ward.
Subs: Smith, Guy, Spicer, Dumbuya.
Goals: Hayter (51)
Referee: Mr D Whitestone
Attendance: 10, 960 QPR

Doncaster Official Site

After a frosty night the pitch had thawed out for this afternoon's game at Queen's Park Rangers. The Rovers were unchanged from their win at Hillsborough on Tuesday, with Gareth Roberts returning from injury and taking the missing place on the bench. The Rovers defended the School end on Bloemfontein Road, where their fans were seated.
The home team set the game in motion and won a corner after 30seconds but this was cleared. The Rangers made the early running getting in shots from German from 25yards that went out for a throw-in and Buzsaky who fired over the bar from a similar distance. In the 8th minute, the Rovers won their first corner but this led to the home team going on to the attack and also forcing a corner. A quick break from this by Oster broke down as O'Connor joined the attack. Five minutes later, a corner for the Rovers gave Stock a shot from 15yards that was deflected for another, which was followed by a third, which came out of defence to Stock, who volleyed high and wide from 20yards. In the 21st minute, a sweeping movement by the Rovers from left to right for O'Connor to hit a low cross that came out to Coppinger but his left foot effort from 25yards went wide. Then, in the 25th minute, Faurlin got away down the left, a low cross to the middle was met with a diving header by Simpson, which hit Sullivan in the chest and GERMAN stabbed in. On the half hour, Cook fired wide of the far post from 25yards in what was a fairly even game, with Sharp being pulled up a few times for offside. The Rovers battled to stay in the game but the home team were sharper on the ball, with the Rovers looking a shadow of the team from mid-week. As the 45th minute came up Stock played Oster in on the right. He got to the byline before pulling the ball back for Stock to shoot over from 15yards. Down to the other end and a corner to the home team brought a close range header from Buzsaky that Sullivan blocked. A further corner to the home team was cleared before the referee blew for the break.

Half time - Queens Park Rangers 1 Doncaster Rovers 0

The Rovers got the second half underway but it was the home team that had first sight of goal when Buzsaky hit a left foot drive from 25yards that was just wide. Two minutes later and a corner to Rangers brought a header from 6yards by German that just cleared the bar. Then, on 51 minutes, the Rovers attacked down their right, with Sharp getting to the byline before hitting a low cross to the middle for the onrushing HAYTER to slam into the back of the net for an equalising goal. Ten minutes of even play ensued before the home team "scored" following a free kick but with four players ruled offside the home cheers were cut short. However, the Rangers followed this up with successive corners that brought no reward. Minutes later a good build-up by the Rovers ended with Coppinger getting in a shot from just inside the area that was easily saved. The Rovers were having a fair share of the game but from being on the attack they were caught short at the back in the 76th minute, the offside flag didn't go up and SIMPSON went on to shoot past Sullivan and give the Rangers the lead. Substitutions came from both sides as the Rovers tried hard for the equaliser as time ran out but the only effort of note came in the 84th minute when, following a corner to the Rovers, Stock volleyed wide from 20yards. In added time Simpson, for the home team, got a good strike at goal but put it wide. Time ran out and Queens Park Rangers finished as winners by the odd goal in three.

Teams - Queens Park Rangers - Carl Ikeme; Peter Ramage, Damion Stewart, Akos Buzsaky, Kaspars Gorkss, Matthew Connolly, Lee Cook, Alejandro Faurlin, Matthew Hill, Jay Simpson, Antonio German

Subs used - Adel Taarabt for Ramage 77mins; Gary Borrowdale for Connolly 85mins; Rowan Vine for Antonio German 90+2mins

Subs not used - Nigel Quashie, Angelo Balanta, Joe Oastler, Radek Cerny gk

Doncaster Rovers - Neil Sullivan; James O'Connor, Elliott Ward, Sam Hird, James Chambers; James Coppinger, Brian Stock, Mark Wilson, John Oster; James Hayter, Billy Sharp

Subs used - Gareth Roberts for Wilson 83mins; Dean Shiels for Coppinger 83mins; Jordon Mutch for Stock 85mins;
Subs not used - Lewis Guy, John Spicer, Mustapha Dumbuya, Ben Smith gk Doncaster

Newcastle 32 66 34 56 3-0 FT v Preston
Nottm Forest 33 61 24 48 1-0 FT v Middlesbrough
West Brom 31 60 30 62
Swansea 32 53 7 29 1-0 FT v Derby
Cardiff 31 49 18 56 0-2 FT v Barnsley
Leicester 31 48 7 38 1-1 FT v Plymouth
Blackpool 33 47 10 50 2-0 FT v Reading
Sheff Utd 32 45 1 44 P-P v Peterborough
Middlesbrough 33 44 6 43 0-1 FT v Nottm Forest
Coventry 33 43 -8 37 1-0 FT v Crystal Palace
Barnsley 32 42 -6 42 2-0 FT v Cardiff
Doncaster 31 40 0 38 1-2 FT v QPR
Watford 30 39 -2 43 2-2 FT v Sc*n*horpe
Derby 32 39 -7 38 0-1 FT v Swansea
Preston 32 39 -11 37 0-3 FT v Newcastle
Bristol City 31 38 -8 35
QPR 31 37 -6 43 2-1 FT v Doncaster
Sc*n*horpe 32 37 -19 39 2-2 FT v Watford
Ipswich 31 36 -8 36 1-0 FT v Sheff Wed
Reading 31 35 -14 35 0-2 FT v Blackpool
Sheff Wed 32 34 -14 36 0-1 FT v Ipswich
Crystal Palace * 31 33 -1 34 0-1 FT v Coventry
Plymouth 31 29 -14 29 1-1 FT v Leicester
Peterborough 32 24 -19 36 P-P v Sheff Utd

- QPR's Current Form: Last 17 Game - LDWLD - LLDDW - LDLLL - LL - W ------ - QPR's Final Points Totals for Past Decade -------- Points Needed to Avoid Relegation, season-by-Season ------ - QPR Attendance Stats for the past Few Years

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