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Saturday, March 06, 2010

QPR Defeat West Bromwich Albion (WBA): Reports and Comments

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R's gaffer Neil Warnock was brimming from ear to ear after seeing his side run out worthy 3-1 winners against West Bromwich Albion at Loftus Road.

Goals from Jay Simpson, Matt Connolly and Akos Buzsaky sealed the victory, on a day when the feel-good factor in W12 shone through and through in a first-rate team performance.

"It was an exciting start for everyone," Warnock told www.qpr.co.uk.

"The lads have probably done things they didn't know they could do in training, but to be fair to them they've produced the goods today.

"We've got a lot of good players who probably needed a bit of direction, which we've given to them this week.

"It was a fantastic performance against a Club that I fully expect to be playing in the Premiership next season."

Warnock hailed the part the R's fans played on the day, commenting: "The fans deserved this result.

"It was a great reception - even from the West Brom fans!

"I enjoy my football - I'm as big a fan of the game as they all are.

"Today had everything and I'm absolutely delighted." QPR

DAILY MAIL - QPR 3 West Brom 1: Rangers give Neil Warnock the perfect start
Neil Warnock had an immediate impact in his first game as QPR manager by masterminding victory over promotion-chasing West Brom.

Warnock, who quit Crystal Palace to join Rangers this week, looked on as goals from Jay Simpson, Matt Connolly and Akos Buzsaky secured only their second win in 12 matches.
Conn trick: Matthew Connolly (16) is congratulated after scoring Rangers' second goal
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Had every managerial change at Loftus Road had this effect Rangers would have had the title sewn up long ago.

As it is Warnock, the club's fifth new boss this season, will be happy the west Londoners now have a little more breathing space above the relegation zone.

Chris Brunt pulled one back for Albion but they fell to a costly defeat which leaves them nine points behind Newcastle at the top of the Championship.

Warnock's teams have rarely been known for their flair but his first selection decision was to recall the hugely skilful, yet too often frustrating, Tottenham loanee Adel Taarabt.

The Moroccan midfielder began in his usual blur of stepovers and created the first goal for Simpson after 13 minutes.
Lotta bottle: Neil Warnock acknowledges the Queens Park Rangers fans
He bamboozled Ben Watson down the right before swinging a low cross into the six-yard box which Albion keeper Scott Carson spilled at the feet of Hogan Ephraim.

Carson blocked Ephraim's stab at goal but the ball fell to Simpson, once of Albion, and he took a touch before firing his 13th of the season past the stranded keeper.
Five minutes later the vibrant hosts doubled their lead, Alejandro Faurlin's clever crossfield pass finding right-back Connolly in acres of space to slot the ball through Carson's legs.

Eyes on the prize: Mikele Leigertwood (left) is challenged by West Brom's Ben Watson
Shell-shocked Albion took half an hour to muster up their first attack when Watson, who played for Warnock at Palace and had a loan spell at Rangers earlier this season, hit a volley from the edge of the area which was superbly clawed away by Carl Ikeme.

But the team with the best away record in the division were always going to be dangerous against a team who had not kept a clean sheet in 23 games.

And so it proved in the 35th minute when Jerome Thomas crossed from the left and Brunt looped a header back over Ikeme and into the net.

In the second half Simon Cox felt he should have had a penalty when he tumbled under Kaspars Gorkss' challenge, but young referee Stuart Atwell saved himself from an earful from Warnock by waving away the claims.

And Warnock was able to relax on the touchline when substitute Buzsaky put the hosts clear in the 67th minute with a curling free-kick, which was meant to be a cross but fooled Carson and flew in off the far post.

The Baggies' afternoon got worse in stoppage time when Cox had to be stretchered off. Mail

QPR Official Site QPR 3 WBA 1

Neil Warnock started his managerial reign at QPR in fine fashion with an excellent 3-1 victory over promotion-chasing West Bromwich Albion.

Rangers were two up inside 20 minutes. Jay Simpson opened the scoring, prodding home after Scott Carson failed to deal with Adel Taarabt's centre.

The R's doubled their advantage just five minutes later, with Matt Connolly finishing off a superb passing move from the home side.

West Brom replied not long before the break, with Chris Brunt heading Jerome Thomas' cross into the goal.

Though it was Warnock and QPR's day, and after Akos Buzsaky added a third when his free-kick deceived everyone to find the goal via the post, the R's took three more precious points in the Coca Cola Championship.

QPR boss Warnock made four changes to the Hoops side in his first game in charge at Loftus Road.

Lee Cook missed out, while Peter Ramage, Buzsaky and Antonio German all dropped to the substitutes' bench.

That meant Connolly came back into the side at right-back, with Taarabt and Hogan Ephraim in midfield and Tamas Priskin up front.

Rangers started with Carl Ikeme in goal, behind a back four of Connolly, Damion Stewart, Kaspars Gorkss and Matt Hill.

Taarabt and Ephraim were out wide in midfield for the Hoops, while skipper Mikele Leigertwood and Alejandro Faurlin began in the middle of the park.

Simpson was joined by Priskin up front.

With the R's faithful and all in attendance in W12 conducting a minute's applause to celebrate the lives of former Captain Mike Keen and former Macclesfield Town gaffer Keith Alexander respectively, it was the R's who looked the brighter in the opening stages of the match.

Taarabt was seeing a lot of the ball, and his dangerous cross was well headed away by Jonas Olsson for the Baggies.

The Spurs loanee was then involved in the R's next attack - and this time his centre led to the opening goal of the game.

Taarabt's cross from the right was too hot for West Brom keeper Carson to handle, and he fumbled the ball into the path of Hogan Ephraim, who in turn touched the ball on to Simpson.

The striker made no mistake thereafter, smashing the ball into the net from close range for his 12th league goal of the campaign.

It was an early strike that seemed to buoy Warnock's men, and the R's determination to build on their good start was exemplified when Kaspars Gorkss put in a terrific, sliding challenge on his marker on the edge of the penalty area.

Loftus Road - by this point - was electric, and the volume was turned up a notch more as the hosts added their second goal of the afternoon.

It was a free-flowing passing move that made the goal. Taarabt, Priskin and Faurlin all combined well to send Connolly through free down the right before the defender slid the ball under the keeper and into the back of the net.

QPR were playing some lovely football, thought it was the visitors who then created their best chance to date. Brunt's delicious through ball seemed to put James Morrison through on goal, before Ikeme rushed out of his net to collect the ball for the R's.

Ikeme was then heavily involved again, and he did well to tip the ball wide for a corner kick after Ben Watson smashed Gorkss' weak clearance goalwards.

Moments later, however, the Rangers custodian was powerless to prevent West Brom pulling a goal back.

Jerome Thomas was the architect, and his pinpoint cross found Brunt at the back post before he nodded the ball over Ikeme and into the goal.

Just short the break, Gabriel Tamas went close but his effort from range went just wide of the left-hand post for Albion, before Ikeme did well to block Morrison's blasted effort.

The teams reappeared for the second half at a sundrenched Loftus Road, with the game continuing to be played at a fast pace.

Albion seemed determined to score an equaliser as soon as possible and they were getting forward in numbers at every possible opportunity.

The visitors broke at pace, and when Thomas' teasing cross seemed certain the find a Baggies man, Stewart made a timely intervention to slide the ball away.

Moments later and Albion almost found that equaliser, and when Brunt's cross from the right found Cox at the near post, he could only fire over the crossbar.

Play soon switched to the other end, and the newly-introduced Akos Buzsaky had a shot that was claimed comfortably by Carson for the Baggies.

Buzsaky then played over a dangerous corner from the left that looked to be heading for Stewart, before Carson intervened to clear the ball away.

The R's didn't have to wait too much longer for another goal, and they sealed the win in bizarre style.

After Rangers won a free-kick out on the right, a Buzsaky cross bounced in the area before hitting the inside of the post and bouncing into the opposite side of the goal.

It was a tad fortunate, though Rangers weren't to mind as Buzsaky wheeled away to celebrate.

The Hoops could have extended their lead when Simpson and Rowan Vine both had shots saved by Carson for West Brom.

However, the scores remained the same as Rangers took a maximum return.

QPR: Ikeme, Stewart, Leigertwood, Gorkss, Connolly, Faurlin, Hill, Simpson, Ephraim (Buzsaky 59), Priskin (Vine 77), Taarabt (Ramage 69).

Subs: Cerny, Balanta, Borrowdale, German.

Scorers: Simpson (13), Connolly (18), Buzsaky (67)

Bookings: Priskin, Faurlin

West Bromwich Albion: Carson, Olsson, Cech (Miller 64), Brunt, Thomas, Mulumbu, Watson, Tamas, Morrison (Dorrans 68), Cox, Reid.

Subs: Kiely, Mattock, Koren, Moore, Meite.

Scorers: Brunt (36)

Bookings: Cech, Brunt

Referee: Mr S Attwell

Attendance: 14, 578 (2, 105) QPR

WBA Official Site

ALBION suffered back-to-back away league defeats for the first time this season as defensive errors again cost them dear on their travels.

A QPR side galvanised by new boss Neil Warnock set about the visitors from the off without really threatening the goal.

But former Hawthorns loanee Jay Simpson pounced on a Scott Carson fumble and Matthew Connolly caught the Baggies backline napping as two strikes in the space of five minutes saw Rangers steal into a 2-0 lead after just 18 minutes.

Chris Brunt pulled one back nine minutes before the break - his third in two games and tenth of the season - to give Roberto Di Matteo's men hope.

But a freak free-kick from substitute Akos Buzsaky in the 67th minute gave Albion a mountain to climb that proved too big to scale.

And a bad day got worse for the Baggies in stoppage time as Simon Cox was stretchered off after being flattened in a challenge with Carl Ikeme.

James Morrison was handed his first start in almost 11 months as he stepped up his comeback from a long-term heel injury.

And new loan signing Steven Reid was thrown straight in at right-back.

Youssouf Mulumbu and Cox also returned to the Baggies' starting XI as international trio Abdoulaye Meite, Robert Koren and Graham Dorrans, who all played 90 minutes for their respective countries in midweek, dropped to the bench with Luke Moore.

Early on Brunt appeared to be fouled in midfield but referee Stuart Attwell waved play on and Rangers broke through Adel Taarabt down the right.

The Moroccan squared across the 18-yard line for Alejandro Faurlain, whose goalbound strike was blocked by Jonas Olsson.

The Baggies suffered a blow in the 13th minute as Carson fumbled Taarabt's low right-wing cross - but then seemed to be impeded by Tamas Priskin as he tried to get to his feet and saw Simpson open the scoring with a simple tap-in.

Three minutes later Jerome Thomas worked the ball through to Cox, whose instant 15-yard shot was shut down by Kaspars Gorkss.

The Hoops doubled their lead in the 18th minute as Faurlain slipped Connolly in behind the Baggies defence with a first-time pass and the right-back tucked the ball home through Carson's legs.

Brunt did well to win the ball in midfield in the 25th minute and had the chance to spring Morrison through on goal.

The Northern Ireland international spotted the run but over-hit his pass and gave Ikeme the chance to smother the ball.

Gorkss could only head Tamas' long ball to the feet of Ben Watson in the 35th minute and the former Loftus Road loanee let fly with a 25-yard volley that Ikeme flung himself to his left to turn around the post.

From the resultant Watson corner Tamas' goalbound header hit his own man, Reid.

Just a minute later a good move by the visitors resulted in Thomas chipping a left-wing cross to the back post where Brunt looped a header in at the far post to pull a goal back.

A minute before the break Brunt, Matthew Hill and Ikeme converged on Morrison's back-post cross and somehow the ball evaded all of them and ran out for a goal-kick.

Two minutes into first-half stoppage time Cox lifted the ball to Morrison on the edge of the area and he managed to wrestle the ball past Stewart to allow Thomas a strike on goal that Ikeme did well to block.

Mulumbu sprayed the ball out to Brunt on the right in the 55th minute and he delivered a near-post cross that Cox hooked just over from a difficult angle ten yards out.

Three minutes later Warwickshire official Attwell waved away Albion penalty appeals as Cox appeared to be brought down by Gorkss from a Reid throw-in.

Neil Warnock made a change in the 59th minute as Hogan Ephraim made way for Buzsaky.

And the Rs midfielder almost made an instant impact as he was allowed to run forward and unleash a 30-yard strike that Carson smothered low to his right.

Buzsaky caused problems again in the 63rd minute as his left-wing corner was met by Damion Stewart and Carson pulled off a point-blank save to keep the Baggies in the game.

A minute later Di Matteo made a change as Ishmael Miller came on for Cech on his comeback from a month-long ankle injury and the visitors switched to three at the back.

Out of nothing the hosts restored their two-goal advantage in the 67th minute as Buzsaky's 45-yard free-kick from the left touchline was missed by everyone and skipped up off the turf over Carson's head before hitting the inside of the right-hand post and spinning back into the goal.

Ten minutes from time substitute Rowan Vine played in Simpson behind the Albion defence but he was thwarted by the merest of touches from Carson.

Play switched immediately to the other end where Thomas cut inside from the left - but fired wide of the near post from 15 yards.

Vine worked the ball inside Reid in the 84th minute and forced a low save from Carson.

Two minutes later Olsson piled forward and nut-megged Faurlain before firing straight at Ikeme from 12 yards.

The first minute of stoppage time saw Reid's long throw-in flicked on by Miller and Cox swivelled and shot, only to see Ikeme clutch the ball at his near post.

Cox was flattened in a challenge with Ikeme in the closing moments and was stretchered off to add the Albion's woes.

QPR (4-4-2): Ikeme; Connolly, Stewart, Gorkss, Hill; Taarabt (Ramage 69), Leigertwood, Faurlin, Ephraim (Buzsaky 59); Priskin (Vine 77), Simpson. Subs not used: Cerny (gk), Balanta, Borrowdale, German.

ALBION (4-5-1): Carson; Reid, Tamas, Olsson, Cech (Miller 64); Brunt, Mulumbu, Morrison (Dorrans 68), Watson, Thomas; Cox (Moore 90+4). Subs not used: Kiely (gk), Koren, Meite, Mattock.

BOOKINGS: QPR - Priskin (unsporting behaviour 45+3), Faurlain (foul 52); ALBION - Cech (foul 45+3), Brunt (foul 66).

GOALS: QPR - Simpson (13), Connolly (18), Buzsaky (67); ALBION - Brunt (36).

REFEREE: S Attwell (Warwickshire).

ATTENDANCE: 14,578 (2,105 Albion fans). WBA

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