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Monday, March 06, 2006

Additional Match Reports - QPR 0 Wolves 0

Guardian Hoddle searches for clinical boots
Robert Pryce at Loftus RoadMonday March 6, 2006The Guardian
Wolves dominated another game and again they couldn't win. They played with three strikers, but could not get a goal. They extended their unbeaten run - and fell another place in the table.
Their frustrations accumulated on Saturday, and most of them were all too familiar: the possession without penetration, the lack of a cutting edge and, as a further reproach to Glenn Hoddle, a defiant performance from Paul Jones, the goalkeeper he let go last month.
Hoddle has been in charge for 15 months and Wolves are as far from the Premiership as ever. His team has its charm but the veteran midfield looks in need of a more dynamic component, there is no quickness anywhere in the side and still no reliable finisher.
This season they have scored fewer goals than Crewe. This year they have been shut out by Coventry, Millwall, Leicester and now an understrength QPR team under caretaker management. Carl Cort is their top scorer with 10 goals - but he has added only one since September.
On Saturday he collaborated with Jérémie Aliadière to miss Wolves' best chance. A Paul Ince dummy left the strikers with a yawning goal and no immediate opponent, but Jones somehow blocked Aliadière's shot and diverted Cort's follow-up against the post. "Obviously," Hoddle said, "if we could have put our clinical boots on we'd have been sitting here with three points."
Cort is not a Hoddle signing and he does not look like one. What is the point of a robust 6ft 4in centre-forward if you insist that the ball should be played to feet?
In fact, neither team provided much for their target men. Rangers couldn't and Wolves wouldn't. But Gary Waddock, with a CV that must prostrate itself before Hoddle's, may have dared to imply some criticism of the former England manager when he talked about the change in Rangers' approach since Ian Holloway was turfed out. "You can't be predictable," he said. "You have to mix the ball up."
Hoddle sticks with what he knows. Aliadière, the latest striker to be measured for the clinical boots, will be given every opportunity to show he can fill them, starting with home games this week against Stoke and Cardiff. "We're a side that has to win away from home," Hoddle said, "so we're playing with three strikers and we're being very bold."
This is not a sport that favours boldness; this is not a league that respects pure football. Expect more frustration before the week is out.
Man of the match Paul Jones (Wolves)

Old boy Jones keeps Wolves from the doorBy Tom Cary (Filed: 06/03/2006)Match details
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Queens Park Rangers (0) 0 Wolves (0) 0
While the rest of Britain froze, the sun did its best to fool those of us assembled at Loftus Road on Saturday into believing that winter was a distant and unpleasant memory. Unfortunately, the players did not take the bait.
In fact, the only participant who could be said to have emerged from this clash with a spring in his step was Rangers' decidedly veteran goalkeeper Paul Jones.
The Wales international, 38, was deemed surplus to requirements by Wolves in January, but turned in a match-winning performance here to deny his former club a fourth successive victory and a play-off place.
QPR caretaker manager Gary Waddock is smitten: "He saved the penalty up at Sheffield United, he was outstanding for his country midweek, and he has put on a performance today, just to round it off, with a double save at the end, which was world class."
That pivotal moment arrived on 83 minutes when Jones blocked Jeremie Aliadiere's close-range effort and then turned Carl Cort's follow-up onto the post to start the away fans heckling.
"That didn't bother me at all," Jones said afterwards. "Typical away fans. I clapped them at the end. I'm a professional."
QPR's toothless display left Glenn Hoddle to once again rue his team's lack of precision in front of goal and talk up their play-off hopes.
"It's been a decent day for us," he argued. "Palace lost, we gained a point. We play Cardiff next week so we're still in the driving seat."

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