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Sunday, March 05, 2006

Further Match Reports

Sunday Times
QPR 0 Wolves 0: Jones foils toothless WolvesPaul Rowan at Loftus Road
PAUL JONES, released last month by Wolverhampton Wanderers, produced a stunning double save seven minutes from time to deny Glenn Hoddle’s side the chance to move into the playoff places, thus continuing the good run of form that Queens Park Rangers are enjoying under caretaker manager Gary Waddock.
The Loftus Road faithful were delighted to see the return of their stalwart captain Kevin Gallen, absent since October with a variety of injuries. His fellow warhorse Paul Ince also started, unexpectedly, having shrugged off a back injury. Ince was as combative and vocal as ever, but he struggles now to be first to the ball and the midfield pairing of Richard Langley and Stefan Bailey had the better of him and Darren Anderton for most of the first half.
The home side dominated much of the early exchanges as a result, but chances were few and far between. A typical piece of trickery from Langley set up Gareth Ainsworth, who had drifted in from the right wing to take up a good position in the box, but he failed to test Stefan Postma with a rising shot.
Ainsworth’s driving runs were a constant menace to Lee Naylor and Lee Cook was also a source of trickery. After half an hour, he was hauled down 30 yards out and got up to take a firm free kick that Postma gathered comfortably.
Anderton showed his class with one sweet ball through to Ince on the edge of the box, but his volleying skills were found wanting. The former Tottenham Hotspur player was again the creator when Wolves almost snatched the lead on the stroke of half-time, feeding Jeremie Aliadiere, who sent Kenny Miller in on goal against Jones. But the QPR goalkeeper narrowed the angle well and saved with his feet.
QPR’s greater intent remained apparent on the resumption with Gallen at the centre of everything creative that the home side had to offer before making way for Sammy Youssouf just after the hour mark. QPR had almost taken the lead five minutes before his departure, when Cook took a short corner to Marcus Bignot and his cross was met by Danny Shittu on the far post, but the giant central defender failed to find the power with his header to seriously trouble Postma.
The game spluttered into life on 68 minutes with a huge appeal for a penalty by the home side, Naylor having handled when Ainsworth prodded the ball towards goal, but the referee dismissed the claim.
Wolves then produced the move of the match on 83 minutes, but incredibly the game was still scoreless by the end of it. After another QPR attack broke down, Mark Kennedy, on for Anderton, fed Ince on the halfway line, who moved the ball on to Miller breaking down the left wing. Ince continued his run and might have shot when Miller returned the ball into the centre but he dummied instead to allow Aliadiere a shot on goal from 10 yards out.
Jones, repeating his outstanding form for Wales against Paraguay last Wednesday, produced a brilliant save. The rebound fell invitingly for Carl Cort, who appeared odds-on to score, but Jones completed a brilliant double save by diving again to his left and he deserved to have the luck of seeing the ball bounce to safety off the upright


QPR 0 Wolves 0: Jones turns up heat to leave Wolves sweating on play-off place
By Nick Callow at Loftus Road
Published: 05 March 2006
Paul Jones was applauded off the pitch by supporters and players alike as he completed a remarkable week for club and country. Not bad for a goalkeeper who turns 39 next month and was ditched by the Wolverhampton Wanderers manager, Glenn Hoddle, a couple of weeks ago because he could not get a game at Molineux.
Jones has joined Queen's Park Rangers on a free until the end of the season. He saved a penalty to enable Rangers to win at second-placed Sheffield United last weekend, he kept a clean sheet for Wales against Paraguay on Wednesday and made a late "world-class double save" to deny Wolves the win that would have sent them into a Premiership play-off place.
Hoddle insisted his side can still make the play-offs and explained why he let Jones go. "I don't think it was revenge by Paul he just did his job," Hoddle said. "We had to let him go because we've got four good keepers at the club and he needs to play first-team football at his age to keep his international place. We're still very much in the play-off race, although it would have been nice to get the win our performance deserved and be in the top six now. I think there are enough games and points left for us."
Wolves were the better team and Jones was on top form. His first really good stop came on the stroke of half-time after Arsenal's loan striker Jérémie Aliadière and Darren Anderton set Kenny Miller clear on goal. Jones dived the wrong way, but saved superbly with his feet.
Then, in the 82nd minute, came the moment Wolves could live to regret. A fantastic step-over by Paul Ince presented Aliadière with an open goal only for Jones somehow to block. He reacted even quicker to turn Carl Cort's follow-up attempt on to a post and clear the danger.
The balance of play shifted dramatically in the second half as Rangers began to take a grip and Wolves faded badly. Rangers central defender Danny Shittu missed a hat-trick of chances and even Hoddle agreed they were denied a penalty when Lee Naylor handled in the 70th minute.
"I wish Glenn was the ref," said the caretaker Rangers manager, Gary Waddock, who insisted that he remains in the post on a game-to-game basis, but would love to replace Ian Holloway permanently.

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