- Photos from Yesterday
QPR Official HUGHES: 'I'M IMMENSELY PROUD'
Posted on: Mon 14 May 2012
Mark Hughes paid tribute to his players following our successful bid to beat the drop on the final day of the Premier League season.
Rangers succumbed to a 3-2 defeat at the Etihad Stadium - with the R's conceding twice in stoppage time after Joey Barton saw red - but even that failed to take the shine off the Hoops' memorable achievement.
"I understand there will be a lot of comment about Joey's behaviour," said Hughes.
"I would rather concentrate on what we did.
"I haven't seen Joey and I haven't seen the incident but people were saying he had to go.
He added: "The one criticism is that we understood we were safe just prior to their winning goal.
"Maybe we just switched off.
"I have never been involved in anything like that but Roberto (Mancini) would have to admit he has been lucky today."
Hughes, whose side took a 2-1 lead courtesy of goals from Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie, added: "I'm immensely proud of the players.
"They were incredible and deserve so much credit. They put in a stint of epic proportions.
"We've pulled it off. If we'd have held on for a win it would have been the greatest result in Premier League history."
Hughes concluded: "As long as I'm in charge at this Football Club, we will never be in a position like we were today again.
"We have a great Board and CEO who have been brilliant since I walked in the door.
"The future at this Club is very bright and we all can't wait to be part of it." QPR
George Cooper/London 24
QPR will play Premier League football next season despite Man City defeat
Premier League: Manchester City 3 QPR 2
QPR secured their Premier League survival despite Sergio Aguero’s incredible injury-time title winner as the season came to the most extraordinary climax at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday.
Aguero struck deep into added time to seal Manchester City’s first league title in 44 years - but Bolton Wanderers’ 2-2 draw at Stoke City ensured Rangers stay in England’s top flight.
On an afternoon of breathless and relentless drama, City edged ahead in the first half through Pablo Zabaleta, before QPR skipper Joey Barton was sent off for elbowing City striker Carlos Tevez - only for Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie to strike and give Mark Hughes’ side a 2-1 lead.
That seemed to be enough, but an equaliser from Edin Dzeko gave City a sniff of the title, and with almost the last kick Aguero found space inside the penalty area and hammered home at the near post to win the title for Roberto Mancini’s side and send the home fans into utter delirium.
QPR might have ended the afternoon beaten, but it was a monumental effort from Hughes’s side. They were ultimately grateful for Jonathan Walters’ brace for Stoke, but this was a heroic display.
For Barton however, the season ended in ignominy. The Rs captain could was shown a straight red card for elbowing City striker Carlos Tevez, and had to be pulled from the pitch by his team-mates.
The game settled quickly into a pattern of City attack versus QPR defence, with the hosts pinning Rangers back. Yaya Toure had City’s first sight of goal, lashing Aguero’s pull back high and wide. Samir Nasri sent another effort skimming wide as City dominated the opening exchanges.
The Rs fans who packed out the away end were the first to celebrate however, as news came through of Walters’ opener for Stoke against Bolton. Cisse might have added to their joy, but the Frenchman wasted a presentable free-kick by firing a low shot straight at Joe Hart.
Despite some occasionally desperate defending from his team-mates, Rangers keeper Paddy Kenny remained un-tested inside the opening half-hour. David Silva cracked an effort wide, but Mark Hughes’s side, often with everyone except Cisse behind the ball, were holding their own.
That all changed on 37 minutes, as the picture at both ends of the table altered dramatically.
Silva and Toure combined inside the area, with the latter playing in Pablo Zabaleta, whose shot squeezed through Kenny’s hands and in off the post before the keeper could reach it.
And Rangers’ afternoon began to fall apart, as Bolton scored twice in quick succession at the Britannia through Mark Davies and Kevin Davies. As the whistle sounded, Rangers were relegated.
Incredibly, QPR were level less than five minutes into the second, as City handed them a goal on a plate. Joleon Lescott’s header fell short, Cisse raced onto the ball and slammed a shot past Hart.
Handed a lifeline, QPR were then dealt a huge blow as Joey Barton was sent off. The skipper was adjudged to have elbowed City striker Tevez, and shown a straight red card by Mike Riley.
Barton’s final act of the season as he departed the pitch was to elbow Aguero in the back.
That was the cue for City to lay siege on the Rangers goal. Aguero thought he had restored his side’s lead, only to see Kenny pull out a magnificent save to stop his shot on the goal-line.
Moments later, QPR were in dreamland. Armand Traore, on for Cisse, crossed from the left and Mackie arrived at the back post with a downward header past Hart into the roof of the net.
Inside the final 15 minutes of their season, QPR could finally dream of safety. The dream edged closer as Walters netted his second goal of the afternoon at the Britannia to make it 2-2.
City continued to throw themselves at the visitors as the match ticked into injury-time. Amid almost pandemonium, substitute Mario Balotelli thought he had made it 2-2 from a corner, but Kenny pulled off another stunning point-blank save.
From the next corner, substitute Edin Dzeko nodded home to give City hope of an incredible win.
And with almost the last kick of the season there was a final twist as City won it. Aguero charged through two challenges, and scored at the near post.
The final whistle was met with wild celebration from both sets of players and fans, as City celebrated the title, and Rangers, somehow, survival.
Manchester City: Hart, Kompany, Lescott, Clichy, Zabaleta, Toure, Barry, Silva, Nasri, Aguero, Tevez. Subs: Pantilimon, Richards, Kolarov, de Jong, Milner, Dzeko, Balotelli.
QPR: Kenny, Hill, Derry, Mackie, Barton, Cisse, Wright-Phillips, Taiwo, Ferdinand, Onuoha, Zamora. Subs: Gabbidon, Taarabt, Campbell, Bothroyd, Traore, Buzsaky, Cerny London 24
Walters Double Earns City A Point
Posted on: Sun 13 May 2012
TWO-GOAL Jonathan Walters condemned his former club Bolton Wanderers to relegation by ensuring that Stoke City ended an epic season with their sixth draw in the last ten matches in the Barclays Premier League at the Britannia Stadium.
The Republic of Ireland international put the Potters in front when he bundled home a close range header and then he calmly fired in a late penalty when it appeared that Bolton had turned the game around to boost their chances of beating the drop.
It was a Davies double that raised their hopes as Mark grabbed the equaliser when an Andy Wilkinson clearance cannoned off him and then Kevin managed to squeeze in the second right on the stroke of half time with a cross from the right.
City pushed hard for the winner after Walters had grabbed his second, but couldn't force the issue to finish the season in 14th place on 45 points.
Pulis had welcomed back fit-again full-back Wilkinson and had retained Fuller in his starting line-up as City looked to finish the season on a high note.
Fuller was given a rousing reception when his name was announced and the Jamaican star was soon in the action with a run down the right, but his cross was overhit and carried well beyond the reach of both Crouch and Walters in the middle.
City had more success down the right when Whitehead slipped a pass into the path Wilkinson overlapping, but his cross was claimed by Bogdan.
The goal was only a few minutes old when Etherington and Fuller switched flanks and it was once again the popular striker who featured prominently when he cut in from the left and unleashed a low shot which was well saved by Bogdan.
The tenth minute of the game saw the home supporter break into chants saluting Fuller, and it sparked a spell of pressure which eventually led to them taking the lead in a controversial manner from former Bolton player Walters.
A quickly taken thrown by Walters saw Crouch fire a volley inches past the upright and then moments later Etherington cut inside from the right and curled a shot towards the top corner which Bogdan got across to save moving to his right.
When Etherington then played a ball into the box, Walters sprung the offside trap only for his initial control to let the ball run from his reach. However, he followed it up by bundling a header over the line and the officials gave the goal.
Understandably in the circumstances, Bolton were incensed at the decision as television replays showed that Bogdan had the ball in his hands.
City must have felt it was going to be their day when moments after going behind, Sorensen failed to take a Petrov cross from the left cleanly, but ricocheted off the covering Huth and rolled the wrong side of the post with the net gaping.
Walters went close to stretching the Potters' lead in the 27th minute when Whitehead bursting down the right pulled the ball back to him; the Republic of Ireland international swivelling sharply to send a left foot shot just past the far post.
Some excellent work from Crouch saw the England striker start and then finish a move which led to Bogdan having the make another crucial save.
The club record signing set Whithead away with the deftest of headers and then collected the return pass before hitting a fierce shot from 25 yards.
Bolton responded with their best spell of the match up to that point as Kevin Davies met a Petrov cross with a glancing header that looped beyond the reach of the diving Sorensen but bounced on the top of the bar much to City's relief.
Back the came the visitors though and when Shawcross couldn't get any distance on his clearance, Klasnic met it with a fierce drive that was turned behind by the diving Sorensen at full stretch when it appeared to be creeping inside his right hand post.
Bolton did, however, get themselves back on level terms five minutes before the break in a rather bizarre fashion through Mark Davies.
It was, in fact, the midfielder who instigated the chance with a burst forward and when he continued his run into the box, Wilkinson's attempt to clear the ball cannoned off him Davies flew past a helpless Sorensen to make it one apiece.
With news filtering through that Queens Park Rangers had fallen behind, the Bolton players and their fans were lifted by the sudden turnaround.
And they took the lead on the stroke of half time with another crazy goal from an innocuous position when Kevin Davies delivered what appeared to be a cross from the right hand side, but Sorensen misjudged it and allowed it to creep in at his near post.
There was an immediate opportunity for the Potters to get themselves back on level terms at the start of the second half when Etherington curled a free kick into the box, but the unmarked Shawcross got his header horribly wrong.
At the other end though, Bolton had a fantastic chance to stretch their lead when Mark Davies threaded a pass into the path of Petrov on the left had edge of the box and he drilled a low shot across Sorensen but just inches past the far post.
That prompted Pulis into making his first change of the afternoon as Jerome replaced Fuller and he was immediately in the thick of the action with a burst into box that had the City players appealing for a penalty as he appeared to be pulled back.
City quickly carved out a clearcut opening to level it up at two apiece when Whelan spotted Etherington's run into the box, but the winger scooped his first time shot over the bar.
Bolton's main objective at this stage was to hold onto their lead, but the Potters did little to endanger that as they struggled to make headway.
Some neat link-up work between Walters and Jerome led to Crouch volleying a cross into the box, but Bogdan's handling was clean under pressure.
However, the Potters were handed the opportunity to draw level in the 77th minute when Crouch, having had one close range shot blocked by Bogdan, was brought down by the 'keeper and referee Foy immediately pointed to the spot.
Walters duly accepted the chance to claim his secong goal of the game by dispatching the penalty in his customary manner, giving Bogdan no chance.
Bolton threw on Sordell in place of Kevin Davies and he was immediately in the action with a cross from the left that was blazed high and wide by Eagles at the far post.
City had the ball in the net with five minutes remaining when Jerome sidefooted home a shot on goal from Crouch, but the linesman ruled him offside.
Even though Queens Park Rangers were winning at Manchester City, Bolton kept pressing in the hope that they could snatch a late winner and the Potters were forced into some defiant defending going into four minutes of injury time.
With time running out, Sorensen pulled off an excellent reflex save to keep out a close range header from Ream who had met it firmly from Petrov's corner.
Bolton Official Site - Manager's Stoke City Reaction
Posted on: Sun 13 May 2012
Owen Coyle offered no excuses as Bolton's 2-2 draw with Stoke City meant that they would play next season in the Championship.
In a determined performance at the Britannia Stadium, goals from Mark Davies and Kevin Davies put Bolton ahead at half-time after Jonathan Walters' controversial opening goal.
Stoke earned a share of the spoils when Walters bagged his second of the afternoon 15 minutes before the end, scoring from the penalty spot after Adam Bogdan had harshly been adjudged to have tripped Peter Crouch.
Coyle said: "There's obviously huge disappointment for everybody involved with the football club, especially the fans who were tremendous today.
"We've had superb support throughout the season, home and away, and once again we had a tremendous backing as the fans supported us in their numbers.
"Today, I felt that we did enough to win the game after the slow start we made.
"For the first goal, Jonathan Walters headed the ball after Adam Bogdan had clearly got hold of it, but the goal was inexplicably given.
"We picked ourselves up, got 2-1 in front and had the chances to score the third goal which would have really put the game to bed.
"We allowed Stoke to have possession and come back into the game, but they didn't really create too many clear-cut chances.
"Adam made a terrific save from Peter Crouch and from the rebound Crouch has stumbled into Adam. It's as softer penalty as you will see.
"Even at 2-2, we got ourselves up the park and looked for the elusive winner.
"Tim Ream has had a great header in the last seconds of the game. If Sorensen hadn't made that save we would still be in the Barclays Premier League.
"Of course, it's difficult to take and we all feel a range of emotions. There is no doubt that today is very much a disappointing moment for us all.
"We have a fantastic club and fantastic support. We will pick ourselves up, will look to regroup through the summer and bounce back straight away."
Bolton Wanderers' 11-year stay in England's top flight league came to a dramatic end on the final day of the 2011/12 campaign, with a valiant draw away at Stoke not enough to avoid relegation.
Despite falling behind in dubious circumstances when Jonathan Walters barged both Adam Bogdan and the ball into the net, Bolton admirably clawed their way back into the game with two goals in six minutes before the interval.
Mark Davies levelled the scores after a clearance ricocheted off the midfielder's leg and into the net before Kevin Davies' cross bamboozled Stoke keeper Thomas Sorensen and crept in at the near post.
Stoke levelled midway through the second half as Walters doubled his tally, this time converting a penalty after Peter Crouch had taken a tumble under Bogdan's challenge.
Bolton pressed forward late on in search of a winner, but unfortunately it didn't arrive.
Owen Coyle made one enforced change, with Zat Knight taking the place of David Wheater who had been side-lined for nine months following a cruciate ligament injury. Up top Ivan Klasnic was given the nod ahead of David Ngog.
After taming an eager start from the hosts, Chris Eagles mustered the first meaningful shot on target, seeing an effort deflected straight down Sorensen's throat from distance.
Stoke's primary threat came down the flanks. On seven minutes Crouch farmed the ball from right to left, allowing for Ricardo Fuller to smuggle a near post effort that Bogdan did well to repel.
The hosts looked menacing going forward and after some quick thinking from a throw in, Crouch hit a half volley that sailed right across the face of Bogdan's goal.
Ethertington then forced Wanderers' Hungarian stopper into a sprawling save after some deft footwork on the edge of the area before the Potters eventually broke the deadlock in controversial circumstances.
Etherington curled a ball behind the Bolton rear guard for Walters, who after seeing his initial bundled effort plucked out of the air by Bogdan proceeded to barge both the Wanderers goalkeeper and ball over the line. After a glance in the direction of his linesman, referee Chris Foy awarded the goal much to the
But Bolton responded wonderfully well.
Petrov's low cross was spilt by Sorsensen and almost ended up in the net via a deflection off Robert Huth.
Wanderers continued to knock on the Stoke door and were only denied an equaliser by the crossbar and a superb save from Sorsensen.
Kevin Davies rose between to Stoke defenders to head Sam Ricketts' cross onto crossbar. Stoke failed to clear the resultant loose ball, with Klasnic pouncing to fire a snap-shot goalwards from the edge of the area that Sorensen somehow managed to turn around his right post.
After plenty of huffing and puffing, the Stoke house was finally blown down with two bizarre goals in the six minutes leading up to half time.
First, after more constant Bolton pressure, a harried clearance from a Stoke defender cannoned off Mark Davies and fizzed into the back of the net.
Then, with half time imminent, Kevin Davies swirled a cross in from the right flank that eldued a flapping Sorensen at the near post with the ball somehow ending up in the back of the net.
Both sides exited down the Britannia tunnel in full view of jubilant packed away end who had clearely heard of Manchester City's lead against QPR.
Wanderers picked up from where they left off at the start of the second period, pressing numbers forward and causing problems.
Mark Davies teed up Petrov whose low shot across the goal agonisingly skimmed the foot of the post.
As the half wore on Stoke gradually began to come more and more into the game having being frustrated for large parts.
Etherington ghosted into the penalty area but couldn't steer his shot goalwards.
With 20 minutes to go, Coyle introduced David Ngog in place of Klasnic to add a more combative element to the frontline.
However Stoke still committed numbers forward and drew level on 77 minutes from the penalty spot.
After initially superbly saving from an unmarked Crouch six yards out, Bogdan scrambled to gather the loose ball and the Stoke forward tumbled to the ground.
Walters rifled home the resulting spot kick to level the scores.
Despite news filtering through that QPR, despite being down to ten men, had somehow turned the game at the Etihad on its head, Bolton continued to press forward in search of a winning goal late on.
Chung-Yong Lee and Marvin Sordell were introduced with the two almost combining immediately.
Sordell's first touches of the game saw him scamper into the left channel before standing a teasing cross up at the back post for the waiting Korean. Chung-Yong steadied himself but failed to gain significant purchase on his effort to trouble Sorensen.
On the break Stoke did bundle the ball into the net, only for Cameron Jerome to have his celebrations cut short by a linesman's flag.
Wanderers persisted in injury time with a barrage of corner kicks culminating in another smart save from Sorensen, who was this time on hand to deny Tim Ream.
Stoke City: Sorensen, Huth, Whelan, Fuller (Jerome 52), Shawcross, Whitehead, Walters, Upson (Shotton 64), Crouch, Etherington, Wilkinson (Unused substitutes: Begovic, Jones, Delap, Woodgate, Palacios)
Wanderers: Bogdan, Boyata, Knight, Ream, Ricketts, Eagles (Chung-Yong 81), Reo-Coker, M Davies, Petrov, K Davies (Sordell 83), Klasnic (Ngog 69) (Unused substitutes: Jaaskelainen, Alonso, Ryo, Vela)