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Wednesday, November 10, 2010

QPR Report: "Never Say Die" QPR Draw at Portsmouth - Compilation of Reports and Comments

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QPR 16 23 34
Cardiff 15 15 32
Swansea 15 9 29
Derby 16 12 27
Norwich 16 2 25
Coventry 16 3 24
Ipswich 16 1 24 - Full Table

QPR Official Site - Warnocks Comments POMPEY POINT PLEASES GAFFER Posted on: Tue 09 Nov 2010

Neil Warnock paid tribute to Tommy Smith, whose 90th minute penalty earned the R's a point against his parent Club.

The R's were a goal - as well as a man - down on 70 minutes, after Liam Lawrence netted from the spot and Matt Connolly saw red his challenge on Dave Kitson.

But the R's didn't despair and, after the referee pointed to the spot for Lawrence's handball, Smith stepped up to fire QPR level.

"I thought Tommy was superb tonight," Warnock told www.qpr.co.uk.

"He showed great character to step up.

"He's had to bide his time but he's been fantastic. He's really enjoying it and I thought he did really well."

On a night of high drama, Warnock added: "We go away talking about two linesmen. It was a poor decision to award Pompey a re-take.

"Paddy's feet are both on the line when Lawrence takes it. I'm so disappointed with it.

"Anyone who's played the game knows that's a fantastic save.

"What goes around, comes around. It's a hard league. It was a good game despite the conditions.

"Whatever the score, we shouldn't have to be talking about what we are.

"Matt's sending off was justified. We won't be appealing about that."

Warnock concluded: "I'm disappointed that we haven't won it.

"Paddy didn't have much to do, but we could have been more clinical."

Portsmouth Official Site/Mark Storey - Cotterill’s QPR Fury

Steve Cotterill fumed over QPR’s controversial late penalty that denied Pompey all three points at Fratton Park.

Tommy Smith – on loan from Pompey – scored from the spot in injury-time after Liam Lawrence was adjudged to have handled.

But Cotterill insisted the ball had hit Lawrence on the chest and said the midfielder had the red mark to prove it.

Lawrence, already booked, received a second yellow card for protesting which means he misses Doncaster’s visit to Fratton Park on Saturday.

A 71st-minute spot-kick by Lawrence had looked set to make Pompey the first team to defeat league leaders QPR this season, especially with the visitors reduced to 10 men by Matthew Connolly’s sending off.

But Smith tucked away his penalty to stop Pompey notching their fifth straight home win.

Cotterill said: “It should have been three points. We absolutely deserved to win that. We should have been the first team to defeat them

“It was never a penalty. The ball hit Liam on the chest. He’s got the imprint of the ball on him. The only thing you couldn’t see was the word ‘Mitre’ written on him.

“Even Tommy Smith turned around and said he couldn’t believe the penalty had been given.

“Liam was bound to be upset. He had just run his socks off and then got done late on by a penalty.

“We can forgive Liam his frustration. We were two minutes away from beating the best team in the league and we got done by a penalty that wasn’t a penalty.

“We played very well tonight and QPR will be very pleased to have got out of Fratton Park with their unbeaten run intact.

“Someone told me QPR had eight players missing, but they could still field a team like that. It’s not bad, is it?

“I think we were excellent, and John Utaka was outstanding. Kanu was excellent, and Dave Kitson worked very hard.”

QPR boss Neil Warnock was upset over Pompey’s goal after Lawrence got the chance to take his penalty again after Paddy Kenny saved his first effort, the officials adjudging the keeper had moved before the kick was taken.

Cotterill said: “Whether their goalkeeper has moved or not, I don’t know. But one thing’s for sure, ours was a cast-iron penalty.”

Pompey will assess an injury to Greg Halford, who limped off midway through the first half.

Cotterill said: “Greg hurt his back early on and we don’t know the extent of that injury yet.”

Guardian - QPR pilfer a point as Tommy Smith returns to haunt Portsmouth
Nick Szczepanik

Tommy Smith rescued the Football League's last remaining unbeaten record with a controversial injury-time penalty for Queens Park Rangers against his former club at Fratton Park.

Liam Lawrence, who was ruled to have handled to concede the penalty and was sent off for protesting about the decision, had earlier given Portsmouth a deserved lead – also from the spot – against the below-par league leaders.

But that goal was also contentious, Lawrence given a second chance after the referee's assistant signalled that Paddy Kenny, the goalkeeper, had left his line when saving the midfield player's first effort.

"Eighteen thousand people have paid good money and seen a good game but will go away talking about two linesmen," Neil Warnock, the QPR manager, said, before producing a freeze-frame that appeared to confirm that Kenny had both feet on his line as Lawrence struck the first penalty.

But whatever the justice of his claim, he could have few complaints about the result. Cardiff City will take over at the top of the table should they win away at Reading tonight, but if the ability to pick up points while playing poorly is the hallmark of champions, Warnock's men can expect to be back on top at some stage.

Warnock had warned that Portsmouth possessed "probably the best first XI in the league", and although he said that he thought his team had deserved to win, he should be mightily relieved to grab a fifth draw in six matches against a team that had won its previous four home games.

Portsmouth outplayed them in the first half, with John Utaka their most effective player. So often disappointing despite costing the club £7m in 2007 and hefty wages ever since, for once the Nigeria forward looked dangerous every time he cut in from the left. One run took him along the byline, Kenny eventually diverting the ball for a corner, and his 28th-minute shot from the edge of the penalty area that beat Kenny but smacked back off the crossbar was the closest either team came to taking a first-half lead.

A few flicks and feints from Adel Taarabt and a long-range shot by Shaun Derry, another former Porsmouth player, were the sum of Rangers' efforts until Alejandro FaurlĂ­n's squirming run ended with an angled shot over the crossbar.

The second half looked as if it would follow the pattern of the first as Michael Brown's early volley dipped just over the bar, but Rangers looked marginally more dangerous, and Kaspars Gorkss' header, saved by Jamie Ashdown, was a warning to the home side.

Portsmouth, though, finally took the lead after 71 minutes. Kanu's pass released Dave Kitson, who was pulled down by Matthew Connolly 10 yards out – a clear penalty and red card. Kenny saved Lawrence's first attempt but Gavin Ward, the referee, gave him another chance and Lawrence dispatched his second attempt with far more conviction to score his sixth goal of the season. "I'm absolutely disappointed with the [retake] decision," Warnock said. "Anyone who has played the game knows that it was a fantastic save."

Rangers had nothing to lose by throwing everything at Portsmouth in an attempt to rescue their record. It looked doomed to failure until the 90th minute, when Ward's other assistant signalled that Lawrence had blocked Walker's cross with his arm. It was far less clear-cut than Portsmouth's penalty, and Lawrence's protests earned him a second yellow card before Smith converted the kick.

Steve Cotterill, the Portsmouth manager, shared Lawrence's frustration. "Liam has the mark of the ball here [on his ribs]," he said. "I thought the game was too much for the officials, all of them. They should have put an experienced referee in. Maybe because of the furore about the retake he has evened it up. Is that what you do?" http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2010/nov/09/portsmouth-qpr-championship-tommy-smith

INDEPENDENT/Glenn Moore- Smith's strike keeps Rangers' record running

Another draw, their fifth in six matches, but it felt like a victory for Queen's Park Rangers last night. Their long unbeaten start to the season looked to be coming to an end amid controversy at Fratton Park after Portsmouth's Liam Lawrence was allowed two attempts to convert a penalty 19 minutes from time. With Matt Connolly dismissed for hauling down Dave Kitson in the run-up to the penalty Rangers' prospects looked bleak but, in the 90th minute, they levelled from a contested penalty of their own.

This was awarded after Lawrence was harshly adjudged to have handled Tommy Smith's cross. After Lawrence was sent off, having received a second yellow card for dissent, Smith, against the club he is on loan to Rangers from, scored to extend their unbeaten start to 16 matches. Both decisions, incidentally, were given by Ward on the advice of his assistants.

Steve Cotterill, Portsmouth's manager, said: "The game was too big for the officials. It was a big game in front of a big crowd. Liam has a ball-mark on his rib-cage, a whole ball-mark. It is still red. The only thing missing is Mitre written on him. Maybe because of the furore with the retake he has evened it up that end."

QPR's Neil Warnock brought his performance analyst assistant Andy Belk in with him to the press conference to provide a still shot of the match DVD which showed Kenny's feet clearly on the line as Lawrence took his kick. He said: "It was a fantastic save so I'm disappointed with the decision, but you don't normally get a penalty like the one we got away from home, so you could say justice was served in the end."

Neither side created enough chances to claim they were robbed even if both might feel that way. Rangers now have eight points from six games and next face a difficult trip to Nottingham Forest at the weekend. Portsmouth remain two points off the play-off places, a fine achievement given their terrible start, but hardly surprising given the talent in their starting XI.

Portsmouth's ability to commit themselves to the salaries of Liam Lawrence and Dave Kitson earlier this season, while in administration and reneging on debts to such organisations as St John's Ambulance and local schools, is one of the enduring mysteries of the Championship.

Another is the age of Portsmouth striker Kanu, which is officially listed at 34 years. Last night, in the continuing absence of David Nugent, he was pressed into service for his first start since September as Steve Cotterill reshuffled following the defeat at Derby which ended a run of 19 points from 21.

Portsmouth looked better balanced than at Pride Park but if they denied Rangers many openings they also created little. The best effort of the opening half came from distance, John Utaka rapping the QPR bar after 31 minutes. QPR did not worry Jamie Ashdown until early in the second period when Kasper Gorkss's powerful header forced him into a full-stretch save. An Ashdown error then almost gifted Rob Hulse his first Rangers' goal.

A scoreless draw loomed, then Kanu rolled back the years to release Kitson who was tugged down by Connolly. Paddy Kenny made a superb save from Lawrence's first spot-kick but was sent the wrong way from the second.

Then came the twist in the tale as Smith's cross struck Lawrence just below an extended arm. The referee's assistant indicated handball, Lawrence received a second yellow card and departed. Smith, against his former club, needed only one attempt to dispatch the penalty.

Portsmouth (4-4-1-1): Ashdown; Halford (Ward, 26), Sonko, Mokoena, Dickinson; Lawrence, Brown, Mullins, Utaka (Ciftci, 86); Kanu (Hreidarsson, 90); Kitson. Substitutes not used Flahavan (gk), Hughes, Rocha.

QPR (4-2-3-1): Kenny; Hill, Connolly, Gorkss, Walker; Derry (Clarke, 80), Faurlin; Taarabt (Borrowdale 72), Mackie, Hulse (Agyemang, 72); Smith. Substitutes not used Cerny (gk), Rowlands, Ephraim, Andrade.

Referee G Ward (Kent).

Telegraph/Jonathan Liew Portsmouth 1 Queens Park Rangers 1: match report

On the face of it, this was an even game in all respects – one goal, one penalty, and one sending off each – yet at full-time, only one team felt unjustly denied. A contentious injury-time penalty by Tommy Smith helped Queens Park Rangers to etch out a two-point lead at the top of the Championship.

Cardiff will overtake them with a win against Reading, but QPR can still consider themselves fortunate. A dubious handball against Liam Lawrence was all that separated them from defeat, but as the boos of the home fans rang in their ears, they returned to London with the Football League’s only remaining unbeaten record still intact.

And yet this game had been a taut, chanceless affair for the most part, scarcely more appealing than the sight of Neil Warnock on the touchline, defying the South Coast chill in a pair of shorts. With seven forwards on the pitch, the game was not lacking in attacking intent, but somewhere along the line aggression gave way to caution.

But just as the game appeared to be drifting to a stalemate that would have dissatisfied neither side, one errant arm threatened to settled matters. As Dave Kitson ran from deep to pick up a through ball, Matthew Connolly desperately grasped at him. Kitson was within his rights to go down, and referee Gavin Ward within his to award a penalty and send Connolly off.

Paddy Kenny saved Lawrence's penalty, which went to his left at a comfortable height. But QPR had encroached into the area and Ward ordered a re-take. Kenny went the same way the second time round; Lawrence did not.

Forward poured QPR’s 10 men, and in the first minute of added time, they had their reward. Smith crossed from the right; the ball appeared to hit Lawrence’s right breast, but Ward again pointed to the spot. Lawrence was seething, furiously lifting up his shirt to show where the ball had hit him, and received a second booking for his trouble. But Smith made no mistake with the penalty.

"Liam's got a big ball mark on him," Portsmouth manager Steve Cotterill said of the handball. "The only thing that's missing is the word 'Mitre' on it. That's why he got frustrated. They should have appointed more experienced officials for this game." http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/championship/8121395/Portsmouth-1-Queens-Park-Rangers-1-match-report.html

Portsmouth 1 QPR 1: Draw specialists Hoops in double penalty rumpus By Ivan Speck

Queens Park Rangers preserved their unbeaten record amid fury and controversy at Fratton Park.

A second contentious penalty incident of the evening was part of the chaos caused by referee Gavin Ward, who managed to infuriate both sides yet still contrive a fair result.

The Rangers penalty was both won and converted by Tommy Smith, a player whose registration still belongs to Portsmouth.
Late penalty: Tommy Smith levelled late for QPR
Smith's cross as the game entered injury-time struck Liam Lawrence on the ribcage only for Ward to point to the spot and then give the Portsmouth midfielder a second booking for dissent.

Portsmouth manager Steve Cotterill said: 'Liam has got a ball mark on him. It's a red mark, a whole ball mark, not even a small ball mark. The only thing he hasn't got is "Mitre" written on it.

'The game tonight was too much for the officials, all of them. They should have put an experienced ref in charge.'
Lawrence was central to the first penalty fiasco 19 minutes earlier. Matt Connolly tugged back Dave Kitson and was rightly sent off but when Lawrence's spot-kick was saved to his left by Paddy Kenny, it was ordered to be re-taken because the QPR keeper was adjudged to have moved forward from his line, in spite of clear photographic evidence to the contrary.

Lawrence sent his second effort straight down the middle.

Rangers boss Neil Warnock said: 'I think 18,000 have paid good money for a great night, a good game and go away talking about two linesmen.'

[b]Pompey owner Balram Chainrai admitted earlier that he is looking to sell the club as soon as possible just weeks after helping it out of administration.[/b]

QPR Official Site
Portsmouth vs QPR 1 - 1
Tommy Smith smashed home a last-gasp spot-kick to preserve the R's unbeaten start to the season at Fratton Park.

The Pompey loanee was on target from 12 yards, after Liam Lawrence was adjudged to have handled inside the box.

The Portsmouth winger was then shown a second yellow card for his continued protestations.

Earlier, Matt Connolly gave away a penalty for a foul on Dave Kitson, leaving the referee with no other alternative than to point for the spot.

A red card duly followed, and Lawrence - after seeing his initial effort saved by Paddy Kenny - made no mistake at the second time of asking.

Hoops boss Neil Warnock made just one change to the R's starting XI that enjoyed a weekend win over Reading, as Clint Hill came in at left-back to replace Bradley Orr on the South Coast.

Orr, of course, was serving the first of his three-match suspension following his sending off in that victory on Saturday.

Kenny was in goal for the R's, while Kyle Walker, Connolly, Kaspars Gorkss and Hill began in defence.

Shaun Derry and Alejandro Faurlin took up their usual defensive midfield roles.

Jamie Mackie, Adel Taarabt and Tommy Smith were deployed further forward, and front-man Rob Hulse led the Rangers attack.

On a bitingly cold evening at Fratton Park, the R's made a promising start but it was Kenny who was first called into action.

The stopper did exceptionally well to block John Utaka's low effort away for a corner at his near post, after the pacy winger sped past Walker down the left-hand channel.

Minutes later, Derry forced Jamie Ashdown into a smart save that he eventually caught on his second attempt, when the R's midfielder latched on to Hulse's knock-down from 30-yards out.

Taarabt was enjoying another fruitful opening to the match, finding space and picking a number of passes with ease. But then again, so were the R's.

And, following a superb free-flowing move, Faurlin only just fired over the bar from close range - albeit at an acute angle.

Pompey's Utaka was causing Walker his own problems, and the R's had the frame of the goal to thank after the midfield man cut-in past the Rangers full-back to rattle the crossbar 25 yards from the target.

Just before the break, Ashdown had to be alert to claim the ball low from Walker's centre at his near post, after neat interplay between the defender and Mackie on the right wing.

Rangers came out for the second half in positive fashion.

Indeed, Gorkss' header from 10-yards out following a Walker centre forced Ashdown into a fine save, before Hulse missed the ball with the goal at his mercy, after the striker looked certain to head home Smith's cross from close range.

The tie became somewhat of a scrappy affair after the break, with both sides battling for supremacy.

It would be Pompey who struck first, however, with a controversial strike from the penalty spot, as the R's were also reduced to 10 men for the second fixture in a row.

Connolly was the man who was shown his marching orders with a straight red card, after the referee deemed that the centre-half - who was also the last man - tugged back Kitson in the area.

Kenny then pulled off a stunning save to his left to keep out Lawrence's initial spot-kick, before official Mr Ward ordered a re-take - much to the displeasure of the R's players.

Lawrence made no mistake with his next effort, smashing the ball into the bottom left-hand corner.

Play continued to swing from end-to-end, before QPR were thrown a lifeline in the 90th minute.

Lawrence - who had earlier netted from the spot - was adjudged to have handled, and on the instruction of the linesman, the referee pointed to the spot.

The Republic of Ireland international was adamant the ball had struck his chest, and after protesting his innocence, was shown a second yellow card and a resultant red.

Smith - playing against his parent Club - had to wait what seemed an eternity to take the penalty, but duly stepped up and fired the ball into the bottom left-hand corner of the net.

Portsmouth: Jamie Ashdown, Greg Halford (Joel Ward 26), Carl Dickinson, Aaron Mokoena, Liam Lawrence, Hayden Mullins, Michael Brown, John Utaka (Nadir Ciftci 86), Dave Kitson, Ibrahima Sonko, Kanu (Hermann Hreidarsson 90).

Subs: Darryl Flahavan, Richard Hughes, Ricardo Rocha.

Goals: Lawrence (pen 70)

Bookings: Lawrence (54 & 90), Ashdown (84)

Red Cards: Lawrence (90)

QPR: Paddy Kenny, Clint Hill, Shaun Derry (Leon Clarke 80), Adel Taarabt (Gary Borrowdale 72), Alejandro Faurlin, Jamie Mackie, Kaspars Gorkss, Kyle Walker, Matt Connolly, Rob Hulse (Patrick Agyemang 72), Tommy Smith.

Subs: Radek Cerny, Martin Rowlands, Hogan Ephraim, Bruno Andrade.

Goals: Smith (pen 90)

Bookings: Derry (40)

Red Cards: Connolly (67)

Referee: Mr G L Ward

Attendance: 17, 818

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