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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Additional Match Reports - QPR 0 Coventry 1

QPR 0 - 1 Coventry Championship: A late Gary McSheffrey penalty left Rangers empty-handed despite dominating at Loftus Road
Rangers see daylight but fail to penetrate Sky Blue curtain Arindam Rej at Loftus RoadTuesday December 20, 2005The Guardian
This was the proverbial mugging and how Coventry enjoyed it. When they lost to QPR in a pre-season tournament in Ibiza they were upset at the way Rangers celebrated, but this season they have taken all six points from Ian Holloway's team.
QPR dominated possession and laboured hardest for a breakthrough, pinning Coventry in their own half for long periods, so the way in which the visitors won this will have been particularly sweet for their fans. "They deserved the first three points," said Holloway of the 3-0 defeat at the Ricoh Arena in August. "They stole the last three."
Gary McSheffrey sealed the points after he seized on James Scrowcroft's pass, advanced into the Rangers area and was hauled down by Simon Royce, who was sent off. The striker rose to his feet to dispatch the penalty beyond the substitute goalkeeper Jake Cole.
"Micky [Adams] will be laughing all the way back to Coventry," said Holloway. "They had one shot. That was from a penalty. They score a goal. I think they've had their Christmas present."
Rangers are ruing their missing strikers. Stefan Moore was the only one who was fit and available and had he been assisted by one of Rangers' regular front men this result would surely have turned out differently. Instead, for all their efforts, Marton Fulop was hardly tested in the Coventry goal.
The defeat loosened QPR's grip on mid-table security but they can be thankful they are not in the relegation zone this morning. Today was the deadline for payment to the Inland Revenue and, had it not been met last Friday, the club faced administration and a points penalty that would have dropped them to 23rd place.
Adams is another manager coping with difficult finances. He is philosophical about the probability that Coventry may retain this squad for the rest of the season especially if they can show this kind of resistance. "It was always going to be one of those midfield scraps," the manager admitted. "My goalkeeper certainly wasn't troubled."
The only exception came in the second minute, when Fulop had to claw Gareth Ainsworth's free header from Richard Langley's corner around his near post. After that QPR pushed forward fruitlessly. Another header from Ainsworth was the best they had to offer before McSheffrey sealed their fate. http://football.guardian.co.uk/Match_Report/0,1527,1671188,00.html

Queen's Park Rangers 0 Coventry City 1: Royce's rash turn puts Coventry in the driving seat By Mike Rowbottom Published: 20 December 2005
A match devoid of anything save relentless effort was transformed six minutes from time yesterday. After QPR's defender Ian Evatt had misplaced a throw-in, the ball was swiftly transferred forward by the Coventry substitute James Scowcroft to send Gary McSheffrey scampering in behind the Rangers defence, only for him to be felled by Simon Royce. After the Rangers keeper had been sent off, McSheffrey struck the penalty exuberantly past Rangers' replacement keeper Jake Cole and suddenly Coventry found themselves closer to the play-offs than the relegation area.
Rangers' manager Ian Holloway reflected: "That's just football, isn't it?"
Rangers had the majority of possession, but were never able to make it tell, having been reduced by suspensions and injury to one recognised striker - Stefan Moore. Coventry, who contested the ball eagerly, fully earned what their manager, Micky Adams, acknowledged was "a little bit of luck".
QPR rarely seemed likely to transform their enthusiasm into reward, although their hyperactive midfielder Gareth Ainsworth almost managed it. The former Blackburn player provoked a reflex save from the Coventry goalkeeper, Marton Fulop, with a header from a second-minute corner which turned out to be the home side's clearest chance of the night. The match appeared dead on its feet by the time Evatt made his defensive lapse.
Rangers will now travel to Brighton on Boxing Day without their first choice goalkeeper. At least they will have forward Paul Furlong back from suspension - they will need all his strength and experience to prevent this result turning into a mini slide.
Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Royce; Bignot, Evatt, Shittu, Dyer; Ainsworth (Cole, 84), Rowlands, Bean (Cook, 66), Langley; Moore, Santos ( Bircham, 82). Substitutes not used: Milanese, Rose.
Coventry City (4-5-1): Fulop; Whing, Page, Shaw, Duffy; Morrell (Impey, 61), Osbourne, Doyle, Hutchison, McSheffrey (Jorgensen, 88); Adebola (Scowcroft, 76). Substitutes not used: Ince (gk), Thornton.
Referee: U Rennie (South Yorkshire).

Rangers stunned by late penaltyQPR (0) 0 Coventry City (0) 1A flash of inspiration from James Scowcroft set up Gary McSheffrey to earn - and convert - a match-winning penalty.
When these sides met in August, Coventry’s determination to put on a show to celebrate the opening of their new stadium saw them romp to a three-goal victory.
The return fixture was a different story but still proved memorable for Micky Adams’ team who secured a first away win of the campaign. QPR had dominated possession and kept the visitors pinned back without ever putting goalkeeper Marton Fulop under sustained threat.
Even so, it was a cruel way to meet defeat, the third they have suffered at Loftus Road in their last four outings. Coventry had made precious little impact on the Rangers defence and the 87th-minute penalty that secured a third successive victory was their first attempt on target.
It derived from a clever ball from James Scowcroft, who sent Gary McSheffrey through. As he attempted to round Simon Royce and then tumbled to the ground, both the spot-kick decision and the goalkeeper’s red card were inevitable.
McSheffrey then struck the penalty out of reach of substitute Jake Cole for his ninth goal of the season. It was a huge disappointment for Rangers and their manager Ian Holloway, who was forced to rule four strikers out of his plans, deployed a central defender, Georges Santos, in attack and saw his team pose all the questions.
"Coventry have had their Christmas present early," he said. "They’ve had one shot and won the game, and when we needed a bit of quality it wasn’t there. '"But we were bright and combative and my players can feel proud of their efforts."
Holloway gambled that Santos’ physicality would unsettle Coventry and he was proved right. Subtlety is not part of his game, and for inspiration Rangers put their faith in winger Gareth Ainsworth.
From Richard Langley’s corner, he headed powerfully and Fulop went full stretch to save. That was answered almost immediately by a near-miss at the other end. Attempting to clear a corner, Marcus Bignot succeeded only in hoisting the ball up in the air and when it was returned into the danger zone, Robert Page hooked it narrowly wide.
However, Coventry were to pose no threat to Royce again until Scowcroft conjured the decisive move. When Rangers’ Ainsworth sent in a low ball, Stefan Moore let it run but, with a sure touch required to take him clear, Santos’ footwork was clumsy.
Another Moore dummy, from Langley’s cross, nearly gave Ian Evatt a sight of goal. However, when Moore needed to take direct intervention himself he was found wanting, failing to make contact as Ainsworth measured a chip onto his head.
Ainsworth kept battling away. It was his pass that put Moore in space in the 65th minute and it was he who got on the end of the cross. From only six yards, he planted his header over. Frustrating for Rangers and it was to get a great deal worse.


McSheffrey pulls off smash-and-grabBy Russell KempsonQueens Park Rangers 0 Coventry City 1
JUST when Queens Park Rangers could have tiptoed closer to the Coca-Cola Championship play-offs with a dour yet profitable draw last night, they self- destructed at Loftus Road. An 87th-minute penalty from Gary McSheffrey, a rare venture into the Rangers area by any Coventry City player, gave his side a third successive victory and their first away from home this season.
Though Rangers had dominated a scruffy encounter, McSheffrey broke clear and was hauled down by Simon Royce, the goalkeeper. After Royce had been sent off and Jake Cole, his deputy, called from the bench, McSheffrey drove in his ninth goal of the campaign. The outrageous smash-and-grab was complete, extending Coventry’s unbeaten run to four matches and easing their plight near the foot of the table.
“I’m not sure if we deserved that,” Micky Adams, the Coventry manager, conceded. “I’m not sure if either side deserved to take the three points. It was always going to be a midfield scrap but at least we stood firm. Our recent form is not down to Micky Adams or my backroom staff, it’s down to the players. They realised the situation and have given it a real go.”
Coventry, unambitious for most of the match, did not deserve it. Perhaps one point for their resilience, but three? The only bigger surprise was that Ian Holloway, the often volatile Rangers manager, accepted the morale-sapping defeat with startling equanimity.
“That’s the beauty of football,” he said. “Not always the best team wins. Micky will be laughing all the way back to Coventry.”
Rangers could have moved to within three points of the play-offs with a win yet, apart from an early header from Gareth Ainsworth, hardly tested Martin Fulop. Coventry would have stayed five points off the relegation zone with a defeat yet, thanks to McSheffrey’s late strike, they maintained their improvement.
Natural justice did not prevail but, then, the Championship has proved remarkably unpredictable this season. “OK, maybe we did get a little lucky break,” Adams said, before laughing all the way back to Coventry.

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