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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

QPR Report Wednesday Updates and Flashbacks...Ipswich Reports and Comments...Hewitt Signs?...Routledge Wants Newcastle

- QPR's Team of 1901-1902: Enlarged Photo I...1901 Programme: Enlarged Photo II
Throughout the day, updates, comments and perspectives re QPR and football in general are posted and discussed on the QPR Report Messageboard...Also Follow: QPR REPORT ON TWITTER

- Marc Bircham Suing over His Career-Ending Injury

- "Abusing" Team Shirts...Mark Hateley's Bribe Offer (Pre-QPR)...No GoalLine Technology "Passes"

- Update: Published Today A second book about Bernie Ecclestone

- Year Flasback: Antonio Caliendo on Flavio Briatore

- Year Flashback: Warnock Satire

- Player Sacked after Web/Messageboard Campaign against Teammates

Routledge and Hewitt?
MAIL -QPR loan star Routledge desperate to resurrect his Newcastle career
Wayne Routledge is desperate to prove to Alan Pardew he still has a future at Newcastle after being sent on loan to QPR.
- The 26-year-old joined QPR in January after being told his Newcastle first-team chances would be limited.
- But the diminutive winger is keen to return to St. James Park and force his way back into Pardew's reckoning.
- QPR have completed the signing of Troy Hewitt from Harrow Borough" Mail

- Who is QPR's 25 goal a season striker?

1 QPR 33 33 64
2 Swansea 33 15 59
3 Cardiff 33 15 58
4 Nott'm Forest 32 16 57
5 Norwich 33 10 56
6 Leeds 33 10 54
7 Leicester 33 0 51

Neil Warnock pinpointed QPR's second-half performance as the key factor behind their 2-0 victory over Ipswich Town at Loftus Road.

Second-half goals from Clint Hill and Heidar Helguson were the deciding factor, as Rangers maintained their five-point cushion at the summit of the npower Championship.

Speaking exclusively after the final whistle, Warnock told www.qpr.co.uk: "I thought we were a lot better in the second half.

"Ipswich have got nothing to lose.

"They've had some great results and you can see the confidence that they've got.

"I was quite pleased to say that we were under the cosh for the first 15 minutes and they didn't test the keeper.

"After we sorted things out at half-time, I thought we were on the front foot and largely dominated the second half.

"We were a lot better and got the goals."

He added: "What about Clint Hill's dribble for the second goal. He turned the full-back.

"He hasn't done that for 25 years - since he was at school!

"It just epitomises what he's like. He's a gem of a person and I've got to praise the two centre-halves (Fitz Hall and Danny Shittu).

"I just felt that Matt Connolly and Kaspars Gorkss needed a rest.

"Fitz and Danny haven't played for months and I thought they were absolutely immense.

"I thought about bringing Danny off with 15 minutes to go. He was cramping up.

"If they can keep themselves fit they'll be a great plus for the squad. They were magnificent."

Neil Warnock has a new hero in the unlikely figure of Clint Hill after QPR left it late to beat Ipswich 2-0.

Adel Taarabt has stolen the headlines this season with his 14 goals spearheading Rangers' promotion tilt.

But with their eccentric skipper having one of his off nights and the npower Championship leaders staring at a third straight draw, Hill took it upon himself to sink stubborn Ipswich.

The left-back headed in Taarabt's corner for only his second Rangers goal to finally break the deadlock with 13 minutes to go.

And five minutes later Hill went marauding down the left before swinging in the cross from which Heidar Helguson finished the Tractor Boys off.

"My wife wants my son William to grow up like Clint Hill, that's the biggest compliment I can pay him," revealed Rangers boss Warnock.

"He's a gem of a person. Every club should want someone like him around.

"And what about his dribble for the second goal? Turning the full-back? He hasn't done that since he was at school."

Victory kept Rangers five points clear and if the hallmark of champions is to win without playing well, then they are well on their way back to the top flight.

Ipswich, enjoying their own revival under Paul Jewell, bossed the first half but without testing Paddy Kenny.

"We were a lot better in the second half," added Warnock.

"Ipswich haven't really got anything to play for and nothing to lose, they have had some great results and looked confident.

"But we sorted it out at half-time, largely dominated the second half and got the goals."

For Ipswich it was only a second defeat in eight league matches since Paul Jewell took over from Roy Keane.

They may be happily treading water in mid-table these days but, nevertheless, Jewell feels his players need to be willing to put their bodies on the line.

"In the first half we were by far the better team," he said.

"I can't fault the effort but we are lacking that killer instinct. Going forward do we want to score goals? Do we want it badly enough?

"When it really matters do they want to go that extra yard, to get a cut eye or a kick in the teeth, to score a goa.?

"QPR are on a smashing run so I can't lambast the players. But if we want to be a serious team we've got to do it for 90 minutes."

Paul Jewell took a lot of positives from Town's display despite the defeat at Loftus Road.

Second-half goals from Clint Hill and Heidar Helguson gave Rangers a 2-0 win and maintained their five point lead at the top.

"We played well in the first-half. We were in control and I didn't want half-time to come." Paul told the Club website.

"I was pleased with a lot of aspects of our play but the goal we conceded was a disappointing one and lifted them and deflated us.

"They are a powerful side and have got a lot of attack minded players and they are going to cause you problems but for long periods I thought we were the better team.

"It's about both boxes though. We gave a bad goal away and at the other end, we didn't turn possession into chances. It was the same on Saturday against Hull.

"That cutting edge has been missing from this Club for a while and that is something that needs addressing."

GUARDIAN Clint Hill finds a way through after QPR endure Ipswich barrage
* Arindam Rej

Clint Hill is making a timely habit of scoring vital headers during QPR's surge towards the Premier League. Hill ended a lengthy goal drought by nodding in a crucial goal against Portsmouth earlier this month and he repeated the trick to break down a stubborn Ipswich side and then set up their second goal as the Championship leaders earned a hard-fought victory.

This game was a chance for Ipswich to show just how much better they have become since Roy Keane's departure as manager. Some players privately say their former manager was too distant and uncommunicative, whereas new manager Paul Jewell has put smiles back on faces.

Ipswich looked determined to show that their unbeaten eight-game run in the league has been no anomaly. They were up against a new-look QPR central defensive duo after manager Neil Warnock dropped both Kaspars Gorkss and Matthew Connolly, having become unhappy with the pair's performances.

Despite Ipswich's lively passing movements – with Jimmy Bullard instrumental – they struggled to make inroads. The initial attempts on goal fell to QPR. Both their early openings came from Adel Taarabt corners, leading to Fitz Hall and then Danny Shittu heading off-target.

The Ipswich midfielder Grant Leadbitter's wayward, over-optimistic shot from more than 30 yards was testament to how well QPR were doing in keeping the visitors at bay. Bullard sent a similar effort well over the bar in the 23rd minute.

Slowly but surely, however, Ipswich appeared to be edging closer to a breakthrough. To give QPR some more bite going forward, Warnock shifted Ishmael Miller from the left wing to attack to partner the isolated Heidar Helguson in a 4-4-2.

But Ipswich continued to apply the pressure as Jason Scotland laid the ball off for Leadbitter, whose drive was blocked by Hall. Leadbitter was not being put off by these misses and he had another go from distance on Ipswich's next foray forward. His shot was well over. Again.

QPR showed some initiative before half-time as Shittu attempted an uncharacteristic long-range shot that Ipswich centre-back Damien Delaney managed to block with his body.

The home side improved markedly at the start of the second half. Taarabt was first to threaten with his shot blocked, ironically, by Leadbitter. The QPR playmaker then swung in a well-flighted corner that was headed over by Helguson as Ipswich were suddenly forced to play deeper in order to nullify the possession QPR were enjoying.

Ipswich remained confident on the counterattack and Hall was forced to charge down a 20-yard shot by Jason Scotland in the 57th minute. Lee Martin was the next man to take aim and his low shot contained enough power to force a spill from goalkeeper Paddy Kenny. Scotland dived in to get a touch, on the rebound, but Kenny gathered the ball in time.

Just when Ipswich were starting to look more comfortable again, QPR created an excellent opportunity as Miller surged into a shooting position before watching his effort being deflected away by Gareth McAuley. Wayne Routledge then used his ingenuity to thread through a clever ball to his left, which Taarabt pounced on but he shot straight at Ipswich goalkeeper Marton Fulop.

Taarabt was quickly cheered when he watched his corner find its way to the back post, where Hill scored his header despite Delaney's best efforts to scramble the ball off the line. It was harsh on Ipswich who had competed so well for so long, but they were out of the contest almost immediately as Hill crossed from the left and Helguson made no mistake with his downward header.

Yann Tear/Ealing Gazette Shittu guides QPR to victory over Ipswich
DANNY SHITTU first appearance for QPR after a four and a half year absence helped inspire Rangers to another three points in their march to the promised land.

Clint Hill was the man of the moment. First he bundled in from close range on 77 minutes after his initial header from an Adel Taarabt corner had bounced back to him invitingly off ex Ranger Damien Delaney.

And six minutes later, Hill lifted a perfect hanging cross for Heidar Helguson to nod in for his eighth domestic goal of the season.

But not even the left back's goal and superb assist could quite steal the limelight from Shittu, who made his considerable presence felt throughout. It was as if he had never been away.

He got a rousing send-off from the crowd when he was subbed just before the end.

Rangers' starting line-up seemed a mirage. Shittu and Fitz Hall at the back. No Kaspars Gorkss of Matt Connolly. It was as if we had switched to another season.

For all Neil Warnock's grumbles about occasional defensive lapses, slight injuries were the likeliest explanation for the absence of the two men who have forged such an effective partnership at the back this season.

The Rs had only leaked two goals in five games before tonight, which was hardly a sign of a need for radical surgery.

But no Rangers fan was going to grumble about the return of their Nigerian folk hero, who was soon salmon leaping to clear headers in the manner of old and getting forward at the other end to threaten at set pieces.

In fact, Shittu seemed to spend as much time in the opposition penalty area as his own.

It was Rangers' misfortune to face a revived Ipswich – who have stepped out of the shadows since Roy Keane departed and looked full or confidence and good intent.

They are a more organised unit under Paul Jewell and never looked like being mere cannon fodder in a game full of pace and vibrancy.

Defences were on top in a first half of few chances, but Rangers set a more urgent tone after the break – Ishmael Miller having a close range effort blocked after Wayne Routledge had wriggled to the byline and Helguson sending a diving header just over after Shittu had nodded a corner into the striker's path.

That start to the half promised a breakthrough, but it eventually came from an unexpected source, with Rangers hving to be patient before finding a way through. For once Taarabt was peripheral, but he still had a hand in the opener. You can never keep a good man down
Ealing Gazette

Rumours of Queens Park Rangers’ demise as promotion favourites were dispelled at Loftus Road when Clint Hill emerged as the unlikely match-winner to maintain a healthy five-point lead at the top of the Championship.

Rangers had drawn their previous two games and Ipswich, showing new guile under Paul Jewell, looked to have done enough to take a point. But two goals in the final 13 minutes, with Heidar Helguson adding to Hill’s earlier goal.

Neil Warnock may boast the tightest backline in the Championship but Rangers’ maverick yet endearing manager took the step of dropping twin central defenders Kaspars Gorkss and Matthew Connolly after openly criticising them recently.

That Rangers went into this game having conceded just 20 goals meant little to Warnock, who introduced Fitz Hall and Danny Shittu, the latter making his first appearance since leaving Rangers in 2006.

There was much anticipation about the meeting of style and skill of Adel Taarabt, 21, Rangers’ former Spurs midfielder, and Connor Wickham, Ipswich’s 17-year-old prospect. Both began quietly as Rangers looked to consolidate their position as promotion favourites while Ipswich attempted to continue their recovery programme under Jewell.

Rangers were the first to threaten, with two loanees testing the visitors. Ishmeal Miller, on loan from West Bromwich Albion, fed Wayne Routledge, but the Newcastle player, under pressure, chipped the ball narrowly wide.

Ipswich began to settle and when, in the 31st minute, Grant Leadbitter despatched an outswinging corner, Hill had to make a timely clearance. Leadbitter went close again for Ipswich, his shot rising just wide of the right post, and then Gareth McAuley was similarly close with a header.

Rangers hinted at taking the lead during a goalmouth melee that saw four home players have shots blocked as they found Ipswich’s defence in resolute mood.

Jimmy Bullard, on loan at Portman Road from Hull, had a chance before the interval but his shot, from 20 yards, struck a team-mate to bring a relatively poor opening 45 minutes to a disappointing conclusion.

Warnock clearly said something to motivate his side; within the opening five minutes of the second half they almost scored twice.

Firstly, Routledge set up Miller but Marton Fulop, the Ipswich goalkeeper, saved well on his line. And from the resultant corner, Shittu sent the ball back into the area and Helguson, on his 350th appearance in English football, attempted a spectacular diving header but directed the ball just off target.

With an hour played Paddy Kenny made the game’s best save, the Rangers’ goalkeeper diving to his right to parry Lee Martin’s precise shot and gathering at the second attempt.

With time running out Rangers pressed for a late winner and Shittu attempted, again, to mark his return with a goal only for McAuley to make a superb interception.

But in the 77th minute the goal arrived when, from Taarabt’s well-flighted corner, Damien Delaney failed to clear and Hill became the unlikely antidote to Ipswich’s doggedness, his brave header beating Fulop from close range. Hill then turned provider, his cross allowing Helguson to claim his 10th goal of the season.

Town's six match unbeaten run came to an end at the home of the Championship leaders, with goals from Clint Hill and Heidar Helguson giving Rangers the points.

Blues were the better side in the opening 45 minutes with Jimmy Bullard pulling the strings in the midfield but the Hoops had the better of the second-half and went in front through Clint Hill on 76 minutes before Helguson wrapped up the points with a close range header.

Town made one change from the team that drew with Hull at the weekend, Bullard returning to the side in place of Andy Drury.

Danny Shittu sent a header wide from an Adel Taarabt corner in the first opening of the game, Gareth McAuley then doing well to clear the danger as Wayne Routledge looked to get on the end of Heidar Helguson's flick on.

Fitz Hall had a header wide but Town were the better team in the first-half, Grant Leadbitter sending one optimistic effort wide from 30 yards, then seeing another effort blocked by Hall after the influential Bullard had found Jason Scotland in the box.

Connor Wickham almost got on the end of a scramble in the QPR box, then powered forward down the right, Hall making the block from his shot.
McAuley headed wide from Damien Delaney's cross before Rangers enjoyed their best spell of the opening 45 minutes, Shaun Derry's strike smothered by the

Town defence inside the box after Taarabt's clever pass, then Routledge denied by more blanket Blues' covering.

Town were forced into a change just before the break with Colin Healy making way for Drury.

Rangers were close to taking the lead inside the first minute of the second-half, Helguson's sidefoot effort cleared off the line, the frontman then heading just wide after the ball cannoned around in the box.

Mark Kennedy picked up a yellow card for a foul on Ishmael Miller just before the hour, while at the other end Lee Martin tested Paddy Kenny with a low shot.
Scotland came off worse in a 50/50 challenge with Kenny as he chased a ball over the top, the Trinidad international harshly conceding a free-kick as well as a painful shoulder.

A brilliant tackle from McAuley denied Miller inside the Blues' box before Town made a second change, Tamas Priskin on for Scotland 20 minutes from time.
Marton Fulop held firm from Taarabt's shot after a flowing Rangers' move, Neil Warnock then making his first change with Miller making way for Akos Buzsaky.

The breakthrough came on 76 minutes, Taarabt swung in a corner that wasn't dealt with by Town and Hill headed in from three yards.

Wickham responded by losing Shittu down the right, his cross held by Kenny, then Fulop beat out Routledge's powerful drive before Rangers doubled their lead seven minutes from time, Helguson heading home from Hill's terrific cross.

Luca Civelli was handed the closing stages in place of Martin and the Argentine winger almost capitalised on a poor clearance before Bradley Orr hacked clear.
Matthew Connolly replaced Shittu for the three minutes of added on time, Priskin then denied by Kenny as Rangers saw out the game and maintained their five point lead at the top.

Gutsy QPR maintained their five-point lead at the top of the npower Championship thanks to second-half goals from Clint Hill and Heidar Helguson.

Despite a lacklustre display in the first half, the R's upped the ante after the break and were duly rewarded with three precious points.

Hill was on target in the 77th minute, after he reacted first to Danny Shittu's nod back across the target following an Adel Taarabt corner.

And victory was complete just six minutes later.

Hill - hot off the back of his goalscoring heroics - broke clear down the left, before his accurate cross found Helguson, whose header bounced over the line and into the roof of the goal.

Rangers made two changes in their accustomed 4-2-3-1 formation for the visit of Paul Jewell's Town side.

Shittu came into the starting line-up to partner Fitz Hall in the centre of defence, who both replaced Matt Connolly and Kaspars Gorkss respectively.

Paddy Kenny was in goal for QPR, behind a back four of Bradley Orr, Hall, Shittu and Hill.

Shaun Derry and Alejandro Faurlin were in defensive midfield, while the attacking trio of Wayne Routledge, Taarabt and Ishmael Miller played just off lone striker Helguson.

In-form Ipswich came to Loftus Road in a fine fettle of form.

Since the appointment of Liverpudlian Jewell as Tractor Boys boss in January, the Suffolk-based outfit have gone from strength to strength, with an unbeaten run of six Championship fixtures prior to this one echoing that sentiment.

But the R's too have been enjoying a healthy run of form just lately.

Rangers were unbeaten in eight league matches prior to kick-off, having last tasted defeat at Carrow Road - the home of Norwich City - on New Year's Day.

It all boded for a cracking affair.

The opening 20 minutes of the first period were fairly tight, with nether side giving an inch.

Indeed, in front of the watching 'Sir' Les Ferdinand, this one had begun as slogging match in midfield, as both teams battled for supremacy.

However Ipswich, to their credit, looked the most comfortable in possession, with former Hull City and Fulham ace Jimmy Bullard pulling the strings in the middle of the park.

It took 30 minutes for the first effort of note to arrive - and it was to come from the visitors.

Bullard's cross was superbly cushioned down by Jason Scotland into the direction of Grant Leadbitter, whose stinging shot - that appeared to be heading for the top right-hand corner of the net - was diverted away from the target by the brave Hall's goal-saving block.

Moments later, Kenny was called into action for the first time to tip Connor Wickham's stinging low cross-come-shot away from a corner, who broke away down the left before sizing up the target.

The Tractor Boys were arguably on top and, when Wickham was again in the thick of the action and crossed for McCauley from the right, the defender nodded an effort inches wide of the right-hand post.

The R's, in truth, grew stronger as the half wore on, and they had a chance of their own the edge in front on 36 minutes when Shittu rose highest to meet Taarabt's corner from the left, only for the big stopper to see his header cleared off the line and up field.

Little more than three minutes had past on the second-half clock before QPR carved open an opportunity to take the lead.

Routledge picked up possession on the left-hand byline and, when he somehow wriggled his way past his marker, the diminutive wide-man squared for Miller, whose shot was blocked off the line before the ball eventually went out for a corner.

From the resultant set-piece, Rangers were almost in front.

Taarabt's centre from the left was again met by the head of Shittu, who rose highest to guide the ball back across the face of the goalmouth to Helguson, before the Icelandic international nodded agonisingly over the target from six-yards out.

This was better from the R's.

But Rangers and particularly Kenny still had to be on red alert, with the keeper forced into a fine stop from a Lee Martin shot on 18 yards, gathering the ball at the second attempt.

Lovely passing play saw QPR go close on 75 minutes, with Faurlin's pass finding Taarabt on the left-hand edge of the box, before the magical Moroccan's drilled effort was well held by Martin Fulop.

But the R's weren't to be denied for too much longer and, in the 77th minute, the all-important first goal of the evening arrived.

Taarabt's corner was yet again met by Shittu, before the defender's nod back across goal found Hill, who was first to the loose ball to nod the R's in front.

QPR weren't finished there. In fact, they doubled their lead on 83 minutes.

Hill turned from scorer to provider, sending a pinpoint centre from the left on to the head of Helguson, whose downward header bounced over the line and into the roof of the net.

QPR: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Hall, Taarabt, Helguson, Faurlin, Routledge, Miller (Buzsaky 75), Shittu (Connolly 90)..

Subs: Cerny, Gorkss, Hulse, Vaagan Moen, Chimbonda.

Scorers: Hill (77), Helguson (83)

Ipswich Town: Fulop, McCauley, Delaney, Leadbitter, Edwards, Wickham, Scotland (Priskin 70), Martin (Civelli 84), Bullard, Healy (Drury 40), Kennedy.

Subs: Lee-Barrett, Peters, Smith, O'Dea.

Referee: Mr K Wright

Attendance: 16, 587 (1785)

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