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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

QPR's Plymouth Win: Reports and Comments..Congratulations to QPR Ladies: Cup Finalists!

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QPR Beat Plymouth...Win Two Games in a Row...Don't Concede a goal for the first time since mid-October (ending the League's Longest Run):

- Neil Warnock hailed a 'job well done,' as the R's made it two wins out of two under his guidance with a comfortable 2-0 victory over relegation threatened Plymouth Argyle.

Goals in either half from Adel Taarabt and Damion Stewart clinched the victory, to the delight of the R's gaffer.

"It was a thoroughly professional performance," he told www.qpr.co.uk.

"Plymouth worked hard, but we had that extra bit about us and fully deserved the win."

Warnock reserved special praise for his back four and goalkeeper, who rarely looked troubled and kept a long awaited clean sheet.

"It was much-needed and well deserved, because we defended very well," he said.

"The two centre-backs were magnificent, as were the full-backs and Carl was solid as a rock.

"We've been very slack in the past looking at the DVD's, but we don't take unnecessary risks anymore and we got the clean sheet we were after tonight.

"We defended well as a team - right from the front through Jay, Adel and Hogan.

"They all worked very hard to close the game out." QPR

ARGYLE head coach Paul Mariner admitted his side had shot themselves in the foot after the Pilgrims went down 2-0 at Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday night.

A first-half penalty from Adel Taarabt followed by centre-back Damion Stewart's set-piece header three minutes after the break proved Argyle's undoing as they try to raise themselves out of Championship relegation trouble.

The spot-kick was awarded after Kári Árnason's soft foul on Tamas Priskin and Paul said: "It was a poor penalty to give away at that stage of the game.

"There was nothing in the game. [QPR] had a lot of possession in front of us but nothing really hurting us. We conceded a goal at the wrong time.

"Then, when you readjust, and try and change it up a little bit, we concede a goal after 48 minutes. We did that last week [at Sheffield United].

"A ball going into the box to the far post - you see that every five minutes in this league and for somebody to have a free header at the far post is unacceptable.

"A team in our position can't keep doing it. We can't keep shooting ourselves in the foot.

"Two-nil's a dodgy lead - everyone knows that in football - [but] we just couldn't crack a very, very strong well-marshalled QPR defence."

Paul and his assistant John Carver now have to raise their players for Saturday's visit to Coventry, and somehow put together a run to lift the club out of the bottom three.

"I think we have got some players who are obviously low on confidence," said Paul. "We're going to stay positive. The lads are very disappointed.

"The support was superb again tonight. I'm just sorry we couldn't give them a better show.

"In simplistic terms, we need to keep clean sheets and score goals, but that's easier said, than done, obviously.

"We have got to stick to the plan that's laid out. The reason that we only lost one game in five recently, up until tonight, was that we stuck to the game-plan, and we were extremely organised, and there was a tremendous amount of fight in the team."

Put to him that the football world has written off the Pilgrims as a Championship force, Paul said: "They've written us off ever since I took over, so that doesn't bother me in the slightest.

"I'm enjoying working with the players, and I believe the players are enjoying working with John and me. You can debate until you are blue in the face about the quality of the squad but, if you come and look at the day-to-day running and happenings, everything is hunky dory.

"It's just that there's a great deal of pressure on the players to perform on match-day, but that's why they play in the upper echelons of football - because they've got tremendous strength of character, technical ability and mental strength.

"We have tough run-in - there's no two ways about it. Every single game in this league is a very, very tough game: when you are in the position that we're in, when confidence is low, it's up to us as a management team to try to instil confidence in the players." Plymouth Official

The Times/Nick Szczepanik - Adel Taarabt’s magic does the trick for Neil Warnock

Neil Warnock, the Queens Park Rangers manager, admits that he has yet to master the pronunciation of Adel Taarabt’s name. But he already knows the value of the man he calls “Tarbs” to a team who have won both their Coca-Cola Championship matches since Warnock took over eight days ago.

Taarabt — in his second spell at Loftus Road on loan from Tottenham Hotspur — was on the pitch for only 72 minutes last night, but the ovation as he left it told the story of the match.

The Morocco midfield player had opened the scoring from the penalty spot with his sixth goal of the season, provided the assist for Damion Stewart to head the second and been a thorn in the side of a Plymouth Argyle team who were beaten far more convincingly than the score suggests.

“I knew he’d got a lot of ability,” Warnock said. “Harry [Redknapp, the Tottenham manager] said, ‘You’ll pull your hair out at times,’ but I think I’m the right type of manager for him, if I’m honest. I believe in him and he’s working as hard as he’s ever worked.”

Two errors by Kari Arnason gave QPR the advantage at half-time. First, the Iceland defender headed Alan Judge’s free kick over the bar when unmarked, then he wrestled Tamas Priskin to the ground. Taarabt converted the inevitable penalty kick.

Taarabt was enjoying himself immensely, getting on the ball as much as possible and taking on defenders. And his dead-ball delivery was spot-on four minutes into the second half, when his inswinging free kick from the left allowed Stewart to glance home his first goal of the season.

Taarabt tried to add more goals with shots from distance and although his accuracy did not match his ambition, QPR were not in the mood to let Plymouth off the hook.

“We knew Plymouth would fight for their lives, but the centre halves were outstanding,” Warnock said.

“It’s the first clean sheet in 25 matches, I’ve been told. I’m sure that’s right because it was the centre halves who told me.”

Plymouth remain seven points from safety. “We need to keep clean sheets and score goals, but it’s easier said than done,” Paul Mariner, the manager, said.

“David Stockdale hasn’t had to make a save and we’ve lost 2-0.

“It was a terrible penalty to give away and a free header on the far post is unforgivable.” The TImes

QPR Official Site - QPR vs Plymouth

Adel Taarabt and Damion Stewart were both on target as QPR collected three more vital points with victory over Plymouth Argyle at Loftus Road.

It turned out to be back-to-back victories for the R's following their 2-1 defeat of West Brom at the weekend, and they took the lead in the 36th minute from the penalty spot.

Tamas Priskin was adjudged to have been fouled in the area, before Taarabt stepped up to fire the ball home into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

And the points were safe for Neil Warnock and his side just five minutes after the break. Taarabt turned from scorer to provider, sending a free-kick into the area that was expertly nodded home by Stewart to send the R's up to 15th spot in the Championship table.

QPR remained unchanged for the visit of Paul Mariner's Pilgrims to Loftus Road, though Lee Cook did return to the squad to take up his place on the substitutes' bench.

Rangers began with Carl Ikeme in goal.

Matt Connolly, Stewart, Kaspars Gorkss and Matt Hill made up the QPR backline.

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

Jay Simpson was joined by Priskin up front.

Rangers were out of the traps immediately.

After a lovely passing move between Faurlin, Taarabt and Simpson, the ball fell to Priskin but he couldn't quite get a shot away from ten-yards out when under pressure from his marker.

Chances were hardly forthcoming in the opening ten minutes, as both sides seemed intent on keeping things tight in the early stages of the match.

It was Rangers who were posing more of a threat if any, however, and when Ephraim combined with Faurlin down the left, his cross went agonisingly across the face of goal before eventually being cleared away from danger.

Soon after, when the R's won a free-kick midway into Plymouth's half, a Taarabt ball from deep was headed harmlessly wide by Priskin.

The hosts, by now, were shading the affair in terms of possession, and they created their best chance to date when Ephraim won the ball back on the edge of the area, before cutting in to shoot straight at David Stockdale in the Argyle net.

QPR were getting closer to finding that opening goal of the match, and moments later they came within inches of finding it.

Connolly found Taarabt, who in turn played a cutting through ball to Simpson.

Through on goal but under pressure from a defender, the Arsenal loanee could only fire just wide of the right-hand post.

Moments later, the R's were again on the attack, though after a free-flowing passing move between Ephraim, Faurlin, Leigertwood and Connolly, the latter fired high and wide of the goal.

Play then switched to the other end, where the visitors created their best to date chance to score - and nearly did so.

After Argyle won a free-kick on the left, Alan Judge's delightful centre found the head of Karl Arnason, who could head just over the target.

The R's - and namely Taarabt - then almost found an opening goal of the game that would have surely been a contender for goal of the season.

Taarabt found the ball just outside the area, producing several step-overs that led to him beating two opponents and shooting just wide of the goal.

The Loftus Road faithful weren't made to wait too much longer for that first goal though, as QPR raced into the lead moments later from the penalty spot.

Taarabt and Connolly combined before the right-back crossed for Priskin in the box, who was deemed to have been tugged back.

Moroccan international Taarabt stepped up to take the spot-kick and did not disappoint, sliding the ball home into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

Just before the interval, Rangers missed two superb chances to find a second goal.

Stewart's opportunity was probably the better of the two, after he headed just over when Faurlin's free-kick was nodded on by Connolly for QPR.

That was before Ephraim found the ball down the left and sent over a cross that somehow went across the face of goal and was then cleared for a corner kick.

As the play got underway in the second half, the R's took just five minutes to add that all important two-goal cushion in the affair.

When Taarabt was felled on the left, he dusted himself down before sending in a delicious free-kick on to the head of Stewart.

The big defender couldn't miss thereafter, nodding past Stockdale to double Rangers' lead.

Buoyed by their second, the R's almost added a third when Taarabt's cross dropped to Faurlin on the edge of the area, but he could only blast over the goal.

And it was that combination that was in the thick of the action once again. Taarabt fed Faurlin on the left-hand side of the area, before the Argentine midfielder shot straight at the Plymouth keeper.

Taarabt was proving a constant menace to the Pilgrims' back four, and he was inches wide of finding a QPR third after he beat one man and sent a shot just past the left-hand upright for Rangers.

Soon after, Leigertwood breezed past three men down the right before sending in a cross for Simpson, who could only shoot just wide of Stockdale's left-hand post.

R's gaffer Warnock then decided to change things in midfield with Akos Buzsaky replacing the excellent Taarabt, who was given a standing ovation by the QPR fans.

The Hoops could, and probably should, have added a third goal just before the match reached its conclusion in W12.

Simpson was almost rewarded for some persistent hustling that resulted in a mix-up between a Pilgrims defender and keeper Stockdale, though he could only shoot wide with his left foot.
QPR: Ikeme, Stewart, Leigertwood, Gorkss, Connolly, Faurlin, Hill, Simpson (Vine 85), Ephraim (Cook 78), Priskin, Taarabt (Buzsaky 73). Subs: Cerny, Ramage, Borrowdale, German. Goals: Taarabt (Pen 36), Stewart (50) Bookings: Hill, Connolly
Plymouth Argyle: Stockdale, Duguid, Fletcher, Johnson, Mackie, Arnason, Fallon (Mason 55), Barker, Sawyer, Eckersley, Judge (Bolasie 55).
Subs: Larrieu, Wright-Phillips, McNamee, Summerfield, Cooper.
Bookings: Duguid, Eckersley, Barker
Referee: Mr P Tierney Attendance: 12, 013 (863) QPR


QPR vs Plymouth

2 - 0

Loftus Road
Paul Tierney

Taarabt pen 35, Stewart 50

Argyle 0

MOROCCAN midfielder Adel Taarabt produced a master-class in creative play to consign Argyle to a painful 2-0 defeat at Queens Park Rangers.

The man on loan from Tottenham showed Premier League quality in running a one-sided first-half for the home sideand was rewarded with a cooly-converted penalty on 35 minutes.

Argyle improved marginally after the break but Damion Stewart's header moments into the second period made it a mountain the Greens never looked likely to climb.

Argyle boss Paul Mariner made three changes from the 1-1 weekend draw with Preston North End. Joe Mason dropped down to the bench to allow Rory Fallon to take his place alongside Jamie Mackie in attack after the Kiwi was used as a substitute on Saturday because of jet-lag from a midweek international trip to California.

Behind them, Carl Fletcher moved back into midfield after playing as an emergency defender against the Lilywhites, bumping Luke Summerfield down to the bench. Chris Barker shuffled across from full-back to take Fletcher's vacated spot in the centre and Gary Sawyer was promoted to left-back.

The other change saw Alan Judge make a timely return from a tight hamstring to replace Chris Clark, who limped out of the Preston match with a similar complaint. Mariner was also stripped of the attacking attributes of Craig Noone because of an ankle knock picked up on Saturday, which meant a return to bench-duty for fit-again David McNamee.

QPR manager Neil Warnock celebrated his debut victory in charge of the R's by naming the same team that secured a fabulous 3-1 win over promotion-chasing West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.

There was, however, one significant change on the home bench where QPR's talisman Lee Cook returned from injury to replace Angelo Balanta. One of Cook's companions among the replacements was former Pilgrim Ákos Buzsáky.

After conceding the first goal in the previous seven games, a bright start was essential for the Greens. QPR, unfortunately, repelled any plans for a determined opening by controlling possession in the first few minutes.

The first position of panic created by the home team involved the dancing feet of Hogan Ephraim and his chipped cross from the left only narrowly evaded the near-post run of Hungarian striker Tamas Priskin.

Despite QPR's confident start, Argyle looked a far sturdier side than the one that produced such a flimsy performance in the opening 30 minutes against Preston, although a slip by Karl Duguid allowed Taarabt to dig out a hopeful shot on 12 minutes that David Stockdale gobbled up happily.

Taarabt was again involved six minutes later with a terrific threaded pass through the Argyle defence for the pace of Jay Simpson, who steered his shot back across Stockdale but also, mercifully, beyond the far post.

It was clear that the Pilgrim midfield of Fletcher and Damien Johnson would need to get closer to Taarabt, who was given to license to roam freely by the dual screen Mikele Leigertwood and Alejandro Faurlin provided for the R's defence.

At the other end, the Greens created their first meaningful opportunity of a frustrating opening quarter when Judge swung in a perfect free-kick for the head of the unmarked Kári Árnason, but the Icelandic international seemed to lose his bearings and glanced his backward header well over Carl Ikeme's crossbar.

Árnason's misdirection suffered major retribution within 10 minutes. A drifting cross from the right by Matthew Connolly was aimed for Priskin in the penalty area and Argyle's Iceman was adjudged to have pulled down the Magyar.

First appearances suggested referee Paul Tierney had given the home team a slightly soft opportunity to take the lead and Árnason's bemused reaction to the decision confirmed the general Pilgrim disappointment with the award.

Taarabt swiftly banished any Argyle complaints from his mind to stroke a simple penalty into the bottom right-hand corner, sending Stockdale the wrong way in the process.

If the penalty was harsh, then the scoreline was completely fair. Argyle looked stout in defence but an inability to get moving in the attacking third was allowing Rangers to keep sweeping forward with Taarabt, yet again, dinking over an excellent cross that proved a fraction too far for the run of Simpson.

The half-time whistle was greeted by satisfied applause from the home support but Mariner and his coaching staff marched straight down the tunnel for another rousing team-talk, as the Pilgrims, once again, sought to salvage something from a game where they had conceded the first goal.

Mariner resisted the temptation to make any changes to personnel at half-time, although the option of Mason, Yala Bolasie, Kenny Cooper or Bradley Wright-Phillips would surely be taken if the restart failed to prompt a change in the pattern of proceedings.

There was, however, a reshuffle in the shape of Argyle's midfield, with a diamond formation deployed to combat the influence of Taarabt.

Unfortunately, the Morrocan could not be stopped from set-pieces, and a delightful swinging free-kick from the left found the back-post run of Stewart. The Jamaican defender had all the space in the world to cushion an easy header past the stranded Stockdale for a two-goal Rangers lead.

Within two minutes, the R's won another dangerous free-kick and Taarabt planted a low cross into the box for Priskin, who blasted his first-time effort wide of Stockdale's post.

Mariner had clearly seen enough and he hauled off Fallon for Mason and Judge, who had arguably been the best player in a Green shirt, for the blistering pace of Bolasie.

Despite the changes, the blue and white wave could not be stopped, and Taarabt teased the retreating Argyle defence with a twisting run before unleashing a fearsome drive that flew inches over. The Pilgrims had only one option left: all-out attack, but Taarabt was the perfect man to exploit the space left in midfield.

QPR's next foray forward actually came from a bumbling run by Leigertwood and his eventual shot smacked into the shins of Simpson, and beyond Stockdale's right-hand post.

Argyle will point to the fussy and inconsistent display from Mr Tierney in their post-match analysis, but it was impossible to deny that the better side on the night were winning the game and the Greens, for the first time, were looking a slightly dispirited unit.

The withdrawal of the superb Taarabt on 73 minutes would have briefly cheered Mariner's troops, although the Moroccan's replacement, a certain Mr Buzsáky, can play a bit as well.

Argyle's disastrous evening almost took a final turn for the worst when Árnason and Stockdale both went for the same ball. The inevitable collision gave Simpson a stab at an open goal but the difficult angle saved Green blushes.

It was the final act of a disappointing night. Every season throws up the occasional poor performances that warrant defeat. The problem for Argyle this season has been the good displays have generally yielded one point instead of the deserved three.

Mariner now has the difficult challenge of rousing his troops for the Saturday trip to Coventry City but, knowing his boundless enthusiasm and optimism, Argyle will bounce back at the Ricoh. Plymouth

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