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Saturday, March 13, 2010

QPR's Draw at Sheffied United - Compilation of Reports and Comments

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- QPR's Early-1970s winger and Captain, Mike Ferguson, Reflects
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- Competition Still Open: Photoshop Neil Warnock
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QPR Official Site - Warnock's Comments - WARNOCK: 'I'M VERY PLEASED'
- QPR boss Neil Warnock was full of praise for his revitalised players after they made it seven points from a possible nine with a 1-1 draw against Sheffield United.

Although Richard Cresswell gave the Blades a half-time lead at Bramall Lane, Adel Taarabt scored in the 49th minute to give the R's a share of the spoils.

It was no more than QPR deserved for their workmanlike display in the Steel City, and following the match Warnock told www.qpr.co.uk: "You don't often go to Bramall Lane and come away disappointed with a point, but that's how I feel tonight.

"We had some excellent chances, especially in the first half - we hit the post as well.

"The goalkeeper pulled off some good saves. It was a little bit harsh to go in one nil down at half time, but that's football really.

"I learned more about my lads today then I have done in our previous two home matches.

"This is a tough place to come but I felt we tried to play at the right time.

"We were patient at times and had all the best chances.

"I'm very pleased that the players have come from a goal down, it hasn't happened very often. It's not a bad point at Bramall Lane."

Warnock also reserved praise for Moroccan playmaker Taarabt, who caught the eye with another exceptional performance, in which his phenomenal ball skills were coupled with a fantastic work rate.

"Adel is working as hard as he's ever worked for me and he's got so much skill. It takes a certain type of manager to manage him," Warnock added.

"I think you'd call him an enigma. He was the best player on the pitch and he has been since I came.

"I don't think I've ever had ability like I've got in this group of players. We've defended well as a team and looked to break and create chances whenever we could.

"Overall it's still a very good point." QPR

By Mark Walker, Press Association Sport

Neil Warnock compared his new lease of life as manager at QPR to "like winning the pools" after maintaining his unbeaten run with a 1-1 draw at former club Sheffield United.

The 61-year-old steered Rangers to successive home wins in his first two games in charge after becoming the Londoners' fifth manager of the season - their 12th in four years - 11 days ago.

Warnock saw the Blades go in at the break a goal up on his return to Bramall Lane after Richard Cresswell's fine header flew into the top corner.

But impressive Moroccan midfielder Adel Taarabt pounced on some dithering defending by Marcel Seip to slide home a 49th-minute equaliser for the Londoners.

Warnock, who departed previous club Crystal Palace after they had slipped into administration, said: "I'd like a couple more leaders, we've not too many if I'm honest, but we've got six loanees so I can't see us getting anybody this season really.

"But it will be interesting for next season. I'm looking forward to it, obviously once we've got enough points, or we miss out (on the play-offs).

"It's almost like winning the pools for me and I don't mean my salary. I'm on about circumstances and everything that's gone around in the last 12 months.

"I feel like I've just had a weight lifted off my shoulders and I can concentrate on what I'm good at now and that's managing a football team rather than everything else that I've had to put up with.

"I'm delighted to be here and looking forward to having a right good go. The colours are a bit strange for me though."

Warnock hailed his current Rangers squad as the most talented he had worked with, especially Taarabt, and was delighted to see the addition of "a bit of northern spirit" having an immediate effect.

He added: "Taarabt is working ever so hard and he's got so much skill. It takes a certain type of manager, I think you would call Taarabt an enigma.

"You could, as a manager look at his minuses, but I look at his positives. He's been the best player on the pitch since the first training session.

"People said he was a liability, but I've not agreed with that. I've never had ability like this group of players really.

"We probably lack a bit of Sheffield steel, but I thought we showed that today."

In contrast, problems continue to mount for his former club.

Jamie Ward, Ched Evans and Lee Williamson all missed out after picking up injuries in the midweek defeat at Peterborough, Kyle Bartley was struck down by food poisoning on Friday night and now skipper Chris Morgan will miss out through suspension after reaching five bookings.

Blades assistant manager Sam Ellis said: "It's two points dropped from our point of view and with Morgan getting booked, he's out for two games now.

"And with the injuries we've got, we're in a bit of a nightmare to be honest and that's not moaning, that's a fact.

"We're so short of players it looks like we're going to have to see if we're able to get a loan in for Tuesday (against Blackpool), there's no doubt about that."

Ellis was left to rue a glaring late miss by substitute Darius Henderson when the Blades striker appeared to freeze at the far post.

"We're not happy with a point," he added. "We dominated to a certain extent and created the best chance you could have wished for in the 89th minute and we couldn't stick it away Sporting Life

Sheffield United Official Site

The Blades stretched the unbeaten home Championship run to ten games without a defeat to end Neil Warnock's winning start as Queens Park Rangers manager.

Richard Cresswell continued his hoodoo over Rangers - scoring his fourth goal in as many games against them in less than three months!

Adel Taarabt grabbed the leveller for Rangers but the final whistle confirmed that the Hoops had failed to beat the Blades in four meetings this season.

Boss Blackwell was forced into four changes, Evans, Ward and Williamson all picked up injuries at Peterborough in midweek and Bartley was unwell. In came Yeates, Camara, Quinn and Seip. Free from his three-match suspension, Henderson was amongst just six substitutes named.

Winning an innocuous corner in the opening minute gave QPR the early momentum and Taarabt was involved in most of their offensive scheming after winning the header from the first set-piece. On six minutes Taarabt's low cross had too much power for Simpson and then the loanee from Tottenham found himself in the clear from Ephraim's pass on nine minutes but Bunn raced off his line to make a smothering save.

Quinn and Yeates were trying to inject a bit of tempo into United's early moves and the
latter's pull-back, on 10 minutes, was ideal for Camara but his shot from 15 yards flew just over Ikeme's crossbar.

The post came to United's rescue on 19 minutes when Ephraim's cross hit the woodwork and the evaded Simpson on its way back into open play, whilst at the other end, there was no decisions for Cresswell when he was bundled over by Stewart and Ikeme in separate incidents.

Long-range efforts from Stewart and Montgomery failed to break the deadlock and Bunn spared the blushes of team-mate Nosworthy when the defender was caught in possession close to the halfway line. Following a quick break down the left channel, the Blades goalkeeper made an impressive block from Ephraim.

The importance of Bunn's save was emphasised moments later when United grabbed the lead on 44 minutes. QPR had half-cleared a corner but the ball was returned to Yeates, who went around the outside of his marker and clipped in a cross that was just behind CRESSWELL but the striker used his experience to head into the top corner, despite Ikeme getting a hand to the ball.

There was still time for Bunn to make another save, this time from Simpson, whilst QPR also won two corners before the half-time whistle arrived.

The Blades began the second half well and came within inches of doubling the lead but neither Camara nor Cresswell could add a vital touch to an inswinging Yeates free-kick and moments later Rangers capitalised on the let off by levelling the scores.

With 49 minutes gone a hopeful clearance was allowed to bounce and after Morgan and Seip were beaten - and Nosworthy was not in a position to cover - TAARABT raced clear to finally beat Bunn.

Morgan was the first to have his name taken by referee Bates, for a foul on Taarabt, who, from the resulting free-kick, forced Bunn into an acrobatic save, the goalkeeper swiftly edging to his right to tip over the crossbar.

Bunn saved again from Taarabt, the visiting side's biggest threat, and manager Blackwell displayed his ambition to win the game at the midway point with his first substitute, adding a striker in place of a midfielder. Henderson's presence won two free-kicks within minutes of being introduced.

There was nervous tension around the ground as the game entered the final ten minutes and Camara went close to winning it when he cut in from the left, but his shot was just wide of Ikeme's left post. Little was brought on and Nosworthy's shot was blocked as the Blades continued the search for the winner.

Unitedites were on their feet in anticipation on 88 minutes when Montgomery robbed Connolly in the middle of the park and set free Cresswell down the left. The scorer's cross looked ideal but, hampered by the presence of Hill, Henderson failed to make a connection at the back post.

Three minutes of added time at the end of the 90 gave United more hope - the home side looked the more likely team to snatch a winner - but neither goalkeeper was severely tested late on.

Blades: Bunn, Montgomery, Morgan, Nosworthy, Yeates (Little 85), Harper (Henderson 68), Cresswell, Stewart, Seip, Quinn, Camara.
Unused: Bennett, Taylor, Fortune, Lowton.

QPR: Ikeme, Stewart, Leigertwood, Gorkss, Connolly, Faurlin, Hill, Simpson, Ephraim (Cook 90), Priskin, Taarabt (Buzsaky 87).
Unused: Ramage, Vine, Balanta, Cerny, Borrowdale. Sheffield United

QPR Official Site Report
Adel Taarabt bagged his seventh goal of the season as honours ended even between QPR and Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

Dominant for large spells of the match in the Steel City, the R's were an unlikely goal down on the stroke of half time.

Mark Yeates made the goal, crossing for Richard Cresswell who expertly thumped home a header past the helpless Carl Ikeme.

However, Rangers weren't to be beaten - and they equalised just four minutes after the break as Taarabt stayed calm when through on goal to slide the ball home past Mark Bunn in the Blades net.

QPR boss Neil Warnock named the same starting eleven that beat Plymouth Argyle 2-0 at Loftus Road on Tuesday evening for the trip to face his former Club, the Blades.

Ikeme resumed in goal for the Hoops.

Matt Connolly, Damion Stewart, Kaspars Gorkss and Matt Hill made up the R's back four.

In midfield, Taarabt and Hogan Ephraim started out wide, while skipper Mikele Leigertwood and Alejandro Faurlin lined up in the centre.

Tamas Priskin partnered Jay Simpson in attack for Rangers.

The R's started in positive fashion and won a corner after only a minute had passed.

From the resultant kick, Faurlin played a lovely centre into the path of Taarabt, whose header - although going wide - was cleared away to safety.

Rangers were looking dangerous in the early stages of the match.

This time, after Faurlin touched the ball into the direction of Taarabt, the magical Moroccan beat one man before firing a centre across the face of goal that somehow managed to miss everyone in the box.

Moments later, Simpson and Ephraim combined, and when the latter played Taarabt through on goal, Bunn came rushing out of his net to come and claim the ball.

Soon after, it was the Blades who created their first chance to score - and they should have done so.

James Harper found himself in space down the left before he crossed for the unmarked Henri Camara, though with the goal at his mercy from little under 18-yards out, he could only fire over the bar.

However, it was the R's who continued to press and moments later they came as close as you possibly can without scoring.

When a free-kick was played from deep, Gorkss nodded the ball out wide for Ephraim on the left.

The tricky winger drove into the penalty area before cutting in to drill a cross-come-shot at goal that smashed against the foot of the right-hand post, before the ball was cleared up field.

Play then switched to the other end, where Jordan Stewart drove at the QPR defence before firing a low shot from 30 yards straight at Ikeme in the Rangers net.

Moments later, Harper's free-kick from the left-hand side was cleared only as far as Nick Montgomery around 20 yards from goal, before he thundered high and wide of the goal.

Just before the interval, the R's missed a brilliant chance to take a half-time lead.

Taarabt found the ball midway into the United half before he slid Ephraim through on goal. Under pressure from his marker but with only the keeper to beat, the midfielder could only shoot straight at Bunn.

And it was a chance that the R's were left to rue, as the Blades opened the scoring on their next attack.

Yeates made the goal, crossing delightfully for Cresswell, who nodded home superbly to give the hosts the lead.

The R's had an opportunity to level the scores just before the half-time whistle when Taarabt played Simpson through on a goal, though the frontman could only fire straight at Bunn in the Blades net.

Soon after the break, United came close to finding a second goal.

Harper created the chance, and when his pinpoint cross bounced in the six-yard box in front of a whole host of Blades players, Ikeme did brilliantly to come out and claim the ball for Rangers.

Buoyed by their reprieve, QPR soon levelled matters.

After a ball was played from deep, Taarabt stole possession from Marcel Seip as the ball bounced up in the air.

Through on goal with only keeper Bunn standing in his way of the net, Taarabt was coolness personified to slide the ball home for the R's.

QPR playmaker Taarabt was causing the opposition problems aplenty, and he soon came close to adding his second goal of the match.

After being fouled on the edge of the Blades penalty area, Taarabt dusted himself down before bending an effort at the top left-hand corner that forced a fine save from Blades keeper Bunn.

Rangers were now firmly in control.

Leigertwood produced QPR's next effort, and after Faurlin touched the ball onto him from 25-yards out, the skipper blasted an effort just wide.

Moments later, Faurlin's clever pass up to Simpson ended with the forward touching the ball back to Taarabt, who from the edge of the box fired straight at keeper Bunn.

With time running out on the clock, the R's continued to get forward in numbers as they looked for goal number two.

Though they couldn't find their way past the hosts for a second time, as both sides took a share of the spoils.

Sheffield United: Bunn, Montgomery, Morgan, Nosworthy, Yeates (Little 84), Harper (Henderson 68), Cresswell, Stewart, Seip, Quinn, Camara.

Subs: Bennett, Taylor, Fortune, Lowton.

Goals: Cresswell (44)

Bookings: Morgan

QPR: Ikeme, Stewart, Leigertwood, Gorkss, Connolly, Faurlin, Hill, Simpson, Ephraim (Cook 90), Priskin, Taarabt (Buzsaky 87).

Subs: Ramage, Vine, Balanta, Cerny, Borrowdale.

Goals: Taarabt (49)

Referee: Mr A Bates

Attendance: 23, 456 QPR

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