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Sunday, November 20, 2011

QPR's Stoke Win: Compilation of Reports and Comments...Taarabt Absence "Explanation"

- Photos from Stoke vs QPR

- Throughout the day, the QPR Report Messageboard has news updates, comments and perspectives - even links to other board comments of interest re QPR matters (on and off the field) along with football (and ONLY football) topics in general....Also Follow: QPR REPORT ON TWITTER

- Next: Norwich vs QPR - Players who played for both Clubs

- Seven Year Flashback: Leeds Crush QPR...A Sick Holloway Hospitalized after ending the game (after Gianni Paladini's reported "Where are you..."

- Three Year Flashback: Helguson Reported Signs on Loan for QPR

- Two Ex-QPR Birthdays and 38 Years Ago On This Day: Shock Cup Defeat for Gordon Jago's QPR

- Decade Flashback: "The Fall and Fall of QPR"

- Manchester City's almost 200 Million Pound Loss in one year - And their Income from Shirts etc

- Growing Indian Interest in Football

1 Man City 12 31 34
2 Man Utd 12 17 29
3 Newcastle 12 7 25
4 Chelsea 11 9 22
5 Tottenham 10 6 22
6 Arsenal 12 3 22
7 Liverpool 11 4 19
8 Aston Villa 11 1 15
9 QPR 12 -9 15
10 West Brom 12 -6 14
11 Norwich 12 -3 13
12 Everton 11 -3 13
13 Swansea 12 -4 13
14 Stoke 12 -12 12
15 Sunderland 12 1 11
16 Fulham 12 -1 11
17 Wolves 12 -7 11
18 Bolton 12 -10 9
19 Blackburn 12 -11 7
20 Wigan 12 -13 6 BBC


Amit Bhatia
hope u feel better soon @jaybothroyd . felt terrible for you when NW told me u werent well. 9th in the table should help a bit UR'ssss
Amit Bhatia
absolutely delighted with that result!! congrats to all our players who worked their socks off!! awesome!! i wish HH had gotten his hattrick
Amit Bhatia
yaaaayyyy!!!! what a WIN!!!! come on uuuuuuuu rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr'sssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!!!! AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
11 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

I am running round kuala lumpur. So damn happy

Tony Fernandes
Yes w hat a result . That was our most important win . Well done boys. Wheel done neil. Well done fans.
Tweet from QPR CEO
philipb1 Philip Beard
Unbelievable, awesome and stunning performance. The last 20 mins felt more like 2 hours but we deserved all 3 points. #QPR

And Dave Barton Tweets about Stoke Fans Throwing Coins at Him

QPR Official Site


Posted on: Sat 19 Nov 2011

Neil Warnock praised his players for "rolling their sleeves up" to win 3-2 at Stoke this afternoon.

After conceding an early goal, Rangers stormed into a 3-1 lead before the hosts grabbed what proved to be a consolation strike, and the R's gaffer told www.qpr.co.uk: "What a great result it was for us.

"All credit to the players because when you come to Stoke you've got to stand up and be counted, and I thought they did.

"And we tried to play the game as best we could when we got on the ball.

"Heidar Helguson has got a lump the size of a golf ball on his cheek after a challenge in the first minute or so, but did he let it affect him?

"Not at all - in fact, if anything it made him more determined to play well and I thought he was magnificent today in both boxes."

Helguson suffered the facial injury in the opening minutes after an accidental collision with Robert Huth, but dusted himself down and scored twice to make it five goals in as many games.

And Warnock added: "We don't think it's a cracked cheekbone, but when you score two goals it doesn't hurt as much!

"You are going to get physical battles when you come to the Britannia, and that's why it is such a great result for us.Not many people are going to enjoy coming here."

Having taken a 3-1 lead with Helguson's goals coming either side of Luke Young's first for the Club, Rangers endured a nervy finish when Ryan Shawcross reduced the deficit on 64 minutes, and Warnock said: "At 3-2 we knew what was coming.

"All credit to Stoke, they never gave in. I was pleased to see our lads roll their sleeves up and defend when they had to."

Warnock also revealed the R's were reduced to FIVE subs before kick off owing to late injury problems.

"We are like an Accident and Emergency Unit at the minute," he said.

"We had to send Jason Puncheon home with Tonsillitis this morning, and then Brian Murphy did his calf in the warm-up, so we only had five on the bench.

"Near the end, Luke Young had to come off. Danny Gabbidon is struggling too and Armand Traore wanted to come off because he had a problem but I told him he had to stay on!"

Jay Bothroyd also didn't travel owing to a tight hamstring, but nothing could dampen Warnock's delight with this victory.

"I like watching us play and I like training," he added. "There are a lot of plusses for us at the moment.

"QPR fans can't quite believe where we were 18 months ago when it looked as though we were going to drop into League One.

"I am sure Tony Fernandes and Amit Bhatia will be on the phone.

"They are very supportive. One of the major shareholders, Din (Kamarudin Bin Meranun), was in the dressing room after the game and he was so happy I thought he was going to have a sing-song!

"It's a great result for us, and the fans will go home happy tonight - that's what football is all about."

[b]Paul Warburton/Fulham Chronicle[/b]

Warnock hails battling QPR after they overcome injury crisis to beat Stoke

QPR boss Neil Warnock came through three injuries in the last two days to claim their second away win of the season.

First, he lost striker Jay Bothroyd to a tight hamstring on Friday, and then was forced to send midfielder Jason Puncheon home with tonsillitis, followed by sub keeper Brian Murphy with a calf problem in the warm-up.

Even before that, the manager could only name six subs – but there might be a frosty reception for Adel Taarabt when he finally returns to the training ground on Sunday.

The midfielder apparently lost his case and passport while with Morocco this week, and Warnock half-joked the only place his mercurial talent could get against Norwich next weekend is at centre half.

He added: “I’ll have to wait to see what he (Taarabt) has got to say for himself on Monday, but our team is like an accident and emergency department at the moment.

“As well as all the others, Traore and Gabbidon wanted to come off and we told them they couldn’t. It all showed what a great result it was.

“We stood-up, and the golf-ball swelling on Heidar (Helguson’s) cheek, only made him more determined, and he had the best training ever this week.

“We got a bit of luck, but we were unlucky not to score four or five.

“It’s a physical battle when you come to the Britannia, but we came through and that’s why we thoroughly deserved it.”


Heidar Helguson scores twice for Queens Park Rangers in win over Stoke

* Georgina Turner at the Britannia Stadium

The international break was supposed to work to Stoke's advantage, putting distance between them and that 5-0 thrashing by Bolton, and giving several players time to return to fitness. But, though Tony Pulis's side found the crowd and momentum behind them in the final 25 minutes, Heidar Helguson's simple brace was enough to give QPR a victory that makes it three consecutive defeats for Stoke at home.

The primary culprit, for the home fans, was the referee, who failed to react when Joey Barton twice appeared to commit a foul in the penalty area. The second shout, after a tackle from behind on Robert Huth in the final 10 minutes, was the stronger, and a tired QPR side losing players to fatigue and injury may not have found a means of regaining the lead had Stoke equalised from the spot so late on. Pulis was evidently displeased with the decisions, suggesting that referees arrive at the Britannia with "a perception of the club", but did not shy away from discussing his team's own failings.

"The big thing here is that we've conceded three goals, and we're doing that too regularly now; our defending has been very poor," he said.

Danny Higginbotham's return to the left-back position had enabled Pulis to name the central defensive partnership of Ryan Shawcross and Robert Huth, but Stoke still proved susceptible to QPR's neat football in the final third.

"We're on a run where we're getting punished for individual errors at the moment. We've got to keep more clean sheets. It's concentration more than anything else," Pulis said.

After Jon Walters had given Stoke the lead in the eighth minute, just moments after Barton's collision with Jermaine Pennant had piqued Stoke supporters for the first time, Helguson levelled the scores with an unstoppable header. Losing his marker to meet Armand Traoré's cross – the defender-cum-winger having been played in down the left by a fine ball from Alejandro Faurlin – at the near post, the striker left Thomas Sorensen, making his first league start after Asmir Begovic's shaky performance against Bolton, no chance.

By that point Peter Crouch, who set up Walter's opener, might have scored Stoke's second, but for Clint Hill's goalline intervention.

Instead Luke Young was able to steal into the area to sweep home a second for QPR just before half-time, the opportunity laid on after a tidy interchange between Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jamie Mackie down the right. Within 10 minutes of the second half, Rangers were 3-1 up, Helguson catching Huth out at the far post to turn a deliciously casual inswinging cross from Barton into the net.

A few minutes later, Wright-Phillips hit the post and Helguson was offside when he tapped the rebound in. After that point, the visitors began to tire and Shawcross's close-range header with 25 minutes remaining suggested more goals to come – especially when Pulis sent on Kenwyne Jones and Ricardo Fuller.

The referee's inaction after Barton brought down Huth drew the ire of a crowd determined to shout the ball into the net.

"I'm Arsène Wenger, I didn't see it," joked Warnock. "If we were a little bit fortunate in that, it was the only thing; I don't think that takes away from the result. We deserved the win with our performance."

The QPR manager delighted in taking three points from a stadium where Chelsea (and plenty of other sides) have failed in recent years. "When you come to Stoke you've got to stand up and be counted. Not many people win here – I was disappointed when Newcastle won [in Stoke's last home game, at the end of October] because they don't lose too many here.

"This league is an incredible journey; to forget about the disappointment of losing to Manchester City and come here and roll our sleeves up … we can't quite believe it, given where we were 18 months ago."


Winner: QPR's Heidar Helguson celebrates scoring the third goal for his side
By Si Hughes, a

The boy may depart Huyton but Huyton remains in the man. For all of Joey Barton’s Twitter exploits, he remains the same person: the one who left the tough sink estates of Liverpool as a teenager; a footballer who always performs with ardour; the one who is now captain of Queens Park Rangers.
He did not score in an impressive victory at Stoke City but his involvement was pivotal — and immediately after the game he was, predictably, back on Twitter, claiming fans had thrown coins at him.
Calling the culprits “helmets”, he thanked the Stoke fans for the money. ''It’s much appreciated, ill [sic] pass on to charity.” He added: “1st time I’ve ever played that well that the other fans have tipped me.”
When Heidar Helguson struck his second goal, it was Barton the majority of QPR players ran to in celebration, his cross into the danger area being so awkward that the Stoke defenders did not dare dangle out a leg. It capped the most committed of individual performances.
Yet that moment came in between two fouls that merited penalties. With the game scoreless, he upended Jermaine Pennant, albeit with the winger running away from goal. At the close, with his side defending a precious lead, he chopped down Robert Huth. The second was the clearest one, but referee Mike Jones missed it.

“I’ve had a good look at the DVD and I think they are decisions that could have gone our way, easily,” said Tony Pulis, the Stoke manager.
“I don’t think he’s very far from that second decision. In fact, I don’t think he’s very far from the first one.”
The result means Stoke’s implosion of form in the league continues, although for the first 20 minutes their control of this game was complete. For that blissful period, Stoke were themselves: powerful, energetic and irksome, taking the lead through Jonathan Walters. Then something changed. QPR equalised through Helguson and with that the hosts’ confidence disappeared.
Neil Warnock later revealed that the Icelander suffered a suspected fractured cheekbone after a few minutes of the match but insisted on continuing. It was a good job as Helguson’s goal prompted a transformation in approach.
With Alejandro Faurlin probing from deep, Jamie Mackie drifting to one side then the other, and Shaun Wright-Phillips doing the same, it was all too confusing for Stoke’s defenders and moments before the break right-back Luke Young finished off the visitors’ second intelligent interchange of the match.
With Faurlin maintaining possession in midfield and Barton agitating alongside him, Warnock’s side were streetwise and – like Stoke – were bold with crosses into the box. A third goal came when Helguson nodded one in from Barton’s excellent delivery.
The striker was then denied a hat-trick when he was ruled offside. “He’s got a lump the size of a golf ball on his head but he [Helguson] was magnificent,” Warnock said.
Ryan Shawcross replied for Stoke but QPR continued to play a high defensive line and it was all reasonably comfortable.
“It’s like an accident-and-emergency unit at the minute,” said Warnock, who could only name six substitutes after sending Jason Puncheon home with tonsillitis.
“We had [Danny] Gabbidon and [Armand] Traoré who wanted to come off but I told them they had to stay. That shows you what a great result this was.”

- Independent Match Report

West London Sport
Helguson’s double helps QPR win at Stoke

Helguson netted his third goal in as many matches
by Adam Borysiuk

Heidar Helguson scored twice as QPR climbed to ninth in the Premier League with their third away victory of the season.

The in-form Icelander has now scored five goals in as many matches for Rangers, who recovered after going a goal down after only nine minutes.

Jonathan Walters, who turned down the R’s in order to join Stoke, fired home after Joey Barton had given the ball away in midfield.

Rangers hit back with Helguson’s fine header from Armand Traore’s cross before Luke Young netted from close range – his first goal for QPR – following good link-up play between Shaun Wright-Phillips and Jamie Mackie.

Helguson struck again nine minutes into the second half, creeping in front of Ryan Shawcross to tuck away Barton’s left-wing cross.

Shawcross atoned by scoring with a header but Rangers boss Neil Warnock, whose squad did not include Adel Taarabt, saw his side bely their shaky start with some magnificent defending.

It was a mixed afternoon for Barton. He was involved in much of Rangers’ best work but was at fault for the opening goal and was fortunate not to concede a late penalty after tripping Robert Huth with a poorly timed challenge.

Barton’s early mistake was punished, with former QPR man Peter Crouch threading the ball through to Walters, who found the far corner of the net.

Crouch should have scored after another defensive lapse seven minutes later.

Hill cleared off the line in the first half

Anton Ferdinand hesitated while trying to guide the ball back to keeper Paddy Kenny, allowing Crouch to nip in front of him. Kenny saved the striker’s first effort and got a hand to his follow-up, enabling Clint Hill to clear off the line.

Hill started against his former club with Armand Traore switching from left-back to a wide midfield role – all part of an enforced reshuffle because Jay Bothroyd was ruled out after picking up a knock in training on Wednesday.

And Traore made the most of his more advanced position, racing onto Alejandro Faurlin’s pass and delivering a first-time cross from the by-line for Helguson to score.

His goal was against the run of play – as was Young’s shortly before half-time.

The defender surged forward and despite the move seeming to come to nothing, he continued into the box so was well placed when Wright-Phillips slipped the ball through for Mackie, whose cut back was walloped by Young into the roof of the net.

Worse followed for City when Shawcross switched off and was made to pay by Helguson, who ghosted in to meet Barton’s delivery and double Rangers’ lead.

Helguson then pounced on the rebound to net again after Wright-Phillips’ shot hit the post, but he was rightly denied a hat-trick by an offside flag.

Stoke appeared to be running out of ideas but pulled a goal back when Shawcross nodded in after Crouch had headed Matthew Etherington’s right-wing corner towards the far post.

Rangers stood firm in the closing stages but were helped by referee Mike Jones who, even after consulting his assistant, inexplicably awarded them a free-kick despite Barton impeding Huth in the scramble to clear a Rory Delap throw.


QPR enjoyed another road trip to remember in the Barclays Premier League with a hard-fought 3-2 victory at Stoke City.

It was no more than Neil Warnock's troops deserved for a truly gutsy display at a lively Britannia Stadium - all this despite Jon Walters' eighth-minute opener for the Potters.

But Rangers responded and, thanks to some fantastic build-up play, fashioned two goals worthy of gracing England's top division.

Heidar Helguson equalised for the R's with a bullet header following Armand Traore's devastating cross on 22 minutes, before Luke Young put the Hoops into a half-time lead just a minute before the break.

Article continues
Helguson then added a Rangers third - his fifth goal in as many appearances - in the 54th minute.

Ryan Shawcross gave Stoke hope when he pulled a goal back nine minutes later - but a consolation was all it was to be.

Warnock made one change to his starting XI from the R's 3-2 home defeat to table toppers Manchester City last time out, with Clint Hill replacing Jay Bothroyd.

Paddy Kenny was in goal for the R's, behind a back four of Young, Danny Gabbidon, Anton Ferdinand and Hill.

Jamie Mackie - fresh from his goal on the international stage for Scotland last week - began from the right-hand side of midfield, with Traore on the opposite flank and skipper Joey Barton and Ale Faurlin in the middle.

Shaun Wright-Phillips partnered Helguson in attack.

The Britannia - renowned as one of the most atmospheric stadiums in English football - was living up to its billing at kick-off.

This bumper, sell-out crowd were generating quite a racket and Stoke, looking to improve on a run which had seen them lose four of their previous five league outings, started with real intent.

City's start was such that they found themselves in front after only eight minutes.

Barton was dispossessed in midfield and, when former QPR forward Peter Crouch freed Walters on the right-hand edge of the box, the former Ipswich striker gave Kenny no chance when he drilled an effort into the bottom left-hand corner.

Rangers almost responded soon after. Mackie, Traore and Faurlin all exchanged passes, before the latter fired a tame low drive straight at Stoke custodian Thomas Sorenson.

Warnock's men had a scare on 16 minutes, when Ferdinand's attempt to shepherd a ball back to his own keeper ended in Crouch nipping in to round Kenny.

But the R's number one somehow retreated to fashion an excellent low block from the Potters front-man's resultant shot, before Hill cleared a second Crouch effort off the line.

And there was another heart-in-mouth moment just a minute later when Matthew Etherington's free-kick was spilled by Kenny, before the Rangers keeper collected the ball at the second attempt.

Despite Stoke's opener, QPR were playing some lovely passing football and grew in confidence as the first period wore on.

It was a free-flowing move that saw the R's draw level in the 22nd minute.

Traore, Wright-Phillips and Faurlin were all involved and, when the former raced to direct a pinpoint centre on to the head of Helguson on 12 yards, the Icelandic international planted a bullet header into the top left-hand corner of the net.

Following their leveller, Rangers were undoubtedly the stronger force, with Traore particularly impressing for QPR - despite occupying an unaccustomed left-midfield role.

Etherington was unlucky not to do better with an effort on 32 minutes, after the City wide-man went on a mazy run before dragging an effort just wide of the right-hand post.

But Rangers continued to probe Tony Pulis' charges and, just a minute before the break, the visitors took a deserved lead.

It was another wonderfully worked passage of play that eventually led to Wright-Phillips executing a superb give-and-go with Mackie.

Thereafter, the industrious attacker looked up before cutting the ball back from the right-hand by-line for an onrushing Young, who stole in to rifle an effort into the roof of the net from ten-yards out.

The R's started the second half just like they finished the first - and a third goal duly arrived just nine minutes after the interval.

Barton was the architect, sending over a cross from the left after his initial corner was cleared, before Helguson was on hand at the back post to poke home his second goal of the afternoon.

Helguson thought he'd completed his hat-trick on 58 minutes after tapping home from close range when a Wright-Phillips shot came back off the post - but the offside flag came to Stoke's rescue.

Pulis' side reduced the deficit to just a single goal in the 64th minute.

Etherington's corner from the right was met by Crouch, before his nod towards the target was powered home by the head of Shawcross from all of six yards.

Stoke's second really did raise the roof of the Britannia - as did the introduction of fans' favourite Ricardo Fuller, who was brought on soon after to replace Jermaine Pennant.

The Potters rallied. Huth smashed an effort inches wide of the upright in the 72nd minute.

But Rangers continued to stay strong - despite an extra five minutes of added time - holding on to claim another memorable victory on their return to the top-flight.

Stoke City: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Huth, Shawcross, Higginbottom, Pennant (Fuller 69), Delap, Whitehead (Whelan 85), Etherington, Crouch (Jones 64), Walters.

Subs: Begovic, Wilson, Upson, Palacios.

Goals: Walters (8), Shawcross (64)

Bookings: Wilkinson (29), Shawcross (43), Delap (85)

QPR: Kenny, Hill, Gabbidon, Faurlin, Mackie, Traore, Barton, Young (Orr 77), Helguson, Wright-Phillips, Ferdinand.

Subs: Murphy, Derry, Buzsaky, Smith, Hewitt.

Goals: Helguson (22 & 54), Young (44)

Bookings: Barton (45)

Referee: Mr M Jones

Attendance: 27,678

Stoke Official Site

Defensive Lapses Prove Costly
Posted on: Sat 19 Nov 2011

STOKE CITY were made to pay a heavy price for defensive lapses as newly-promoted Queens Park Rangers bounced back to record their third away win of the season and condemn the home side to a fourth successive defeat in the Barclays Premier League.

Tony Pulis' side had made the perfect start as Republic of Ireland international Jon Walters fired them into an eighth minute lead, but two-goal Heidar Helguson led QPR's storming fightback while defender Luke Young also got on the scoresheet.

Although captain Ryan Shawcross gave City hope of salvaging something from the game in the closing stages, they were unable to find an equaliser and weren't helped by some contentious refereeing decisions by Chester official Mike Jones.

One in particular saw Robert Huth brought down by a tackle from behind in the box but Jones waved away furious protests for a penalty in injury time.

Though City felt aggrieved with some of the decisions, their defensive frailty at times was the main reason for the defeat as Helguson was allowed far too much space inside the box to score both his goals and Young also made the most of that.

Pulis had responded to the poor run of Premier League defeats by making significant changes, most notably recalling Sorensen in place of Begovic, while the fit-again Shawcross and Huth were restored to the centre of defence.

The biggest cheer in the build-up to the kick-off was when Fuller's name was announced among the substitutes, while in contrast Rangers were without a number of key figures including Hall, Derry, Taarabt and Bothroyd.

City made a promising start and first Etherington with a cross from the left and then Delap with a long throw tested out the Rangers defence.

After Pennant had been brought down in full flight, the winger whipped a ball into the Rangers box and Hill was relieved to get a heads on it.

It was not surprising then that the Potters went in front in the eighth minute when their pressure on the QPR defence eventually got its reward.

Whitehead charged the ball down and found Crouch whose first time pass into the path of Walters saw him stride forward to fire past Kenny.

There was an anxious moment for the Potters defence a couple of minutes later when Barton sent over a corner from the left and Sorensen missed his attempted punch, but the referee had already blown for a foul on a City defender.

Sorensen's handling had to be clean when Faurlin did well to create the room to unleash a low shot from the edge of the box in the eleventh minute.

And City responded with an excellent opportunity as Crouch nipped in behind Ferdinand and his first attempt at goal was half blocked by the diving Kenny, while his follow up rolled across the six yard box where Rangers managed to scramble it away.

The visitors were finding it difficult to withstand the pressure that City were exerting and Kenny was lucky when he dropped an Etherington free kick, but unfortunately no City player was on hand to take advantage of the loose ball in the six yard box.

Rangers recovered from their uneasy start and in one of their rare attacks of the first quarter of the game succeeded in hauling themselves back on level terms.

A well-worked build-up saw Faurlin release Traore down the left and he sent over a cross which found Helguson peeling off his marker Higginbotham to score with a firm header which was placed well beyond the reach of Sorensen.

The Potters had an immediate chance to go back in front when Pennant sent over a corner from the left but Huth sent his header flying over the bar.

City began to build some momentum again after the equaliser and some contentious decisions had thrown them out of their early rhythm.

Etherington lifted the crowd with a penetrating run into the Rangers half but with few options ahead of him he tried an early shot which rolled wide.

Another chance fell to Crouch inside the box after good work by Whitehead but he was unable to make clean contact with his first-time shot.

Rangers went in front a minute before half time when they strung together a succession of passes before Mackie found space on the right hand side to slide over a low cross and Young, of all people, was there to turn it into the roof of the net.

The promise of a second half response was soon killed off as Rangers grabbed a third goal when City failed to clear a corner and when Barton whipped a ball in from the left and Helguson ghosted in at the far post to apply the finishing touch.

Kenny then had to produce an acrobatic save to tip away a menacing cross from Etherington and Traore's skill under pressure cleared the danger.

City's defence looked uneasy with every QPR attack and the visitors thought they had got a fourth when Wright-Phillips' first time shot had Sorensen well-beaten but came back off the post and when Helguson tucked it away he was ruled offside.

But they were given renewed hope in the 63rd minute and predictably enough the goal that reduced the deficit to 3-2 came from a set-piece.

Etherington's cross from the right hand side was headed back across goal by Huth and there was Shawcross on hand to score from close range.

Immediately, after the goal, City made their change of the afternoon when Jones was brought on for Crouch and City had an immediate chance to break clear with Etherington bursting out of defence and finding Pennant in an advanced position.

The winger was eventually closed down but it was encouraging for the Potters that they were creating such openings in the search for an equaliser.

They were lifted further by the change which saw Fuller introduced up front alongside with Jones with Pennant the player to make way for his return.

Shawcross almost returned the compliment with 20 minutes left as he slipped a pass to Huth on the edge of the box and he unleashed a thunderous drive from 20 yards out which flashed over the bar although Kenny had it covered at his near post.

With the clock ticking away, City were growing increasingly frustrated at Rangers' time wasting tactics and their failure to create more openings.

There were appeals for a penalty waved away when Huth was clearly brought down in the box and then Fuller was blatantly hauled down in the centre circle.

City mounted another raid on Rangers' goal and won a corner from which Etherington sent over a cross to the far post headed wide by Higginbotham.

Whelan, who had been thrown on in place of Whitehead, had a glimpse of goal in injury time when Delap's long throw was cleared to the edge of the box but his dipping volley with the left foot was no trouble to Kenny as it flashed well wide of the target.

Rangers were hanging on grimly and were relieved when Whelan fired another low shot just past the post from 18 yards and then Jones headed over from a Delap throw.

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