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Saturday, December 09, 2006

Stoke Defeat QPR 1-0...QPR Two Places Away from Relegation Spot

Stoke scored in the first half from the penalty spot to make the half-time score 1-
0. That's how the game finished. League Table - League Table

John Gregory's Comments - Official Site TALE OF TWO PENALTIES
John Gregory bemoaned a second half refereeing decision as the R's succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Stoke.
Gregory and his players were incensed when referee Mr Atkinson failed to award the R's a second half spot-kick after Jimmy Smith was tripped inside the box.
"The referee told me there was no contact, but Jimmy and the rest of the lads insist there was,'' Gregory told www.qpr.co.uk. "It was a poor decision in my opinion.''
Gregory also bemoaned the Stoke spot-kick, which Danny Higginbotham slotted home in style to clinch the hosts an undeserved victory.
"I thought that their striker went to ground a bit too easily. The referee got it wrong, but that's the way it's going for us at the moment.''
The R's gaffer was full of his praise for his side, however, adding: "We played them off the park for long spells."The 3-5-2 system was a success and there were some outstanding individual displays.
"I thought Kevin Gallen ran the show from midfield and Michael, Damion and Mauro adapted well to the new formation.''

"...Manager Tony Pulis paid tribute to left-back Griffin, saying tying him down on a permanent deal will be top of his agenda when the transfer window re-opens in January.
"He deserved the ovation because he's a smashing lad. He's done fantastic for us and I'm bitterly disappointed to see him go", praised Pulis.
"I've got to do my business with (Portsmouth manager) Harry Redknapp and we'll see if we can come to some agreement with Portsmouth.
"We've spoken to Portsmouth about the situation and I'll let everybody know when it's done."
The Potters have now gone more than 630 minutes without conceding a goal, a club record, and the City boss believes his side have built the foundations for a potential play-off push, adding:
"I thought we were comfortable winners today. The only thing that disappoints me is that again we couldn't get that killer second goal.
"I was delighted with a lot of aspects of today's game, but I still think there is a lot we can do to improve on some other aspects of our play."
It was a dogged performance from everyone out there today, and teams who get into the top six grind out 1-0 wins like that.
It was another massive three points - it doesn't matter if you win 4-0 or 3-0 because you still only get three points.
Hopefully touch wood, the club can continue this run going now because there is nothing more I would love than for Stoke to get promotion. - STOKE

Manager Tony Pulis admitted Stoke were not at their best despite moving to fifth place in the Championship after a 1-0 win over QPR.
They have now taken 28 points from the last 36 and have not conceded a goal for a club-record 656 minutes.
But this was a stuttering performance at best and Pulis said: "We overindulged in some areas and it was a bit frustrating.
"At time we were too comfortable and at 1-0 that is always a worry because something just might have happened at the other end.
"We needed the second goal and created chances to get it. The fans could have had a bit of a go but they stuck with the team and I would like to thank them for that."
Pulis also paid tribute to on-loan full back Andy Griffin, who was named man of the match in his last game before returning to Portsmouth.
He added: "We are going to miss him and we hope to sort something out in January. I've talked to Harry Redknapp about it and the wheels are in motion."
QPR keeper Simon Royce produced a brilliant save in the 10th minute.
An excellent move by Stoke involved Liam Lawrence, Ricardo Fuller and Carl Hoefkens before Lee Hendrie's shot was tipped wide by Royce at full stretch.
Stoke took the lead in the 16th minute after a debatable penalty award for Mauro Milanese's challenge on Fuller.
Fuller went to ground after the two men went shoulder to shoulder and Danny Higginbotham made no mistake after referee Martin Atkinson pointed to the spot.
Rangers offered next to nothing as an attacking force and Stoke substitute Vincent Pericard should have added a second in the last minute but trod on the ball from Patrik Berger's low cross.
Rangers manager John Gregory questioned the penalty award.
He said: "I didn't think it was a penalty, but the referee was quick to point to the spot and I'll have to see the tape to be sure.
"We had to reshuffle our pack and I thought the players we put out there did well. We didn't work their keeper as much as we would have liked, but they didn't work ours as much as we expected them to.
"It was an encouraging performance and gives us something to build on."
Sporting Life

QPR Official Site Match Report
Stoke sealed maximum points at the Britannia Stadium, thanks to a first half Danny Higginbotham spot-kick.
In a match which flattered to deceive throughout the 90 minutes, Higginbotham's controversial penalty proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Rangers - to their credit - were by no means overawed by their high-flying hosts, but their failure to create any chances of note, ultimately contributed to their downfall.
Stoke led at the break courtesy of Higginbotham's debatable spot-kick.
The Potters defender blasted home past Simon Royce, after Mauro Milanese was harshly adjudged to have fouled Ricardo Fuller.
Rangers failed to muster a single shot on target and it was very much a similar story in the second period, although the R's will feel aggrieved at not being awarded a spot-kick of their own.
Jimmy Smith appeared to be tripped inches inside the box, but referee Mr Atkinson waved away their strong appeals.
In the absence of the suspended Zesh Rehman, John Gregory handed Milanese a rare start.
Stefan Bailey returned to the R's midfield, but there was no place for either Lee Cook (injured) and Ray Jones (suspended).
If the early exchanges were anything to go by, it appeared as though the R's were adopting a new-look 3-5-2 formation, with skipper Marcus Bignot occupying the left wing-back role, wih Bailey on the right flank.
Michael Mancienne occupied the central berth in the back three, with Damion Stewart and the returning Milanese either side of the Chelsea loanee.
In an otherwise tetchy opening, it was Rangers who carved open the first attempt on goal in the sixth minute. Kevin Gallen - playing in the centre of the R's three-man midfield - let fly from fully 30-yards, only to see his shot blocked to safety.
Play soon switched to the other end and after a neat exchange between Liam Lawrence and Carl Hoefkens, the latter's cross found Lee Hendrie, who forced Royce into a stunning reflex save from the edge of the six-yard box.
At a ground with nothing but bad memories for the Rangers keeper after last season's antics, the save provided a welcome boost for him and his team-mates.
There was little the R's custodian could do about Stoke's opening goal on 16 minutes though.
After Milanese was harshly adjudged to have tripped Fuller inside the 18-yard box, Higginbotham stroked home the resultant spot-kick with aplomb.
The decision looked a harsh one on the Italian defender, although Gregory would have no doubt been annoyed at the defender's apparent reluctance to send the ball soaring into Row Z earlier in the move.
Fuller was enjoying his all Jamaican battle with Stewart and when the former Saints front-man charged down Royce's clearance, his impromptu shot from an acute angle was well held by the backtracking R's keeper.
Potters skipper Michael Duberry squandered a golden chance on 32 minutes, skying the ball high and wide from eight-yards, after the R's failed to deal with Lawrence's corner kick.
The R's had soft appeals for a spot-kick waved away on 39 minutes, when the ball flicked up and hit Andy Griffin on the arm, but referee Martin Atkinson correctly adjudged it to be accidental.
Rangers registered their first shot on target in the 50th minute, but Gallen's ambitious 35-yard yard strike was easily dealt with by Steve Simonsen.
Griffin - in his final match before returning to Portsmouth - lashed a powerful drive wide five minutes later, but in truth, neither side had improved on their poor first half performances.
Rangers were guilty of conceding possession far too easily, all too often, and when Stewart gifted the ball to Russell, only a splendid Manceinne tackle spared his fellow defender's blushes. The resultant ball broke to Fuller, whose shot was deflected to safety.
Milanese curled a fierce left footed set-piece inches wide of Simonsen's right hand post on the hour, as Rangers went in search of that elusive away goal, yet try as they might, they continually failed to breach a resolute Stoke rearguard.
Rangers were slowly but surely improving as the half wore on and when Dexter Blackstock was bundled to ground under a reckless Duberry challenge, the referee took a long, hard stare before waving away the Rangers' front-man's appeals.
Sensing the R's required some fresh legs, Gregory introduced Paul Furlong at the expense of Blackstock with 20 minutes to play.
The Rangers bench were incensed a minute later, when after Smith was tripped inches inside the box, referee Mr Atkinson yet again signalled no penalty.
The R's players appealed as one, but after awarding an even softer penalty in the first half, the Yorkshire official was in no mood to give another.
Bignot's cross-come-shot was held well under his own bar by Simonsen as the clock ticked down, yet despite the late introduction of Nicky Ward and a last gasp Marc Nygaard header which fell wide, the R's left were left with nothing to show for their efforts for a fourth match on the spin.
Stoke: Simonsen, Hoefens, Duberry, Higginbotham, Griffin, Lawrence, Diao (Brammer 80), Russell, Hendrie (Berger 86), Sidibe, Fuller (Pericard 74).
Subs: Sweeney, Buxton.
Scorers: Higginbotham 16
Bookings: Griffin 69

STOKE OFFICIAL SITE - City moved back into the play-off pack with a determined victory over struggling QPR.
Danny Higginbotham's 17th minute penalty earned the Potters a sixth straight win on home soil and extended a record of consecutive clean-sheets to seven games.
The home side were rarely troubled by John Gregory's Hoops and should have added a second goal late on, but substitute Vincent Pericard failed to convert from close-range.
Boss Tony Pulis made just one change to the side, with midfielder Liam Lawrence replacing Patrik Berger on the right of midfield and Lee Hendrie switching back to left flank.
They began brightly and almost made their pressure prevail in the ninth minute when Hendrie drew a point-blank save from Rangers 'keeper Simon Royce following a brilliant move involving Ricardo Fuller and Carl Hoefkens.
But the deadlock was smashed open eight minutes later when Mauro Milanese pulled back Fuller in the area as the Jamaican striker bore down on goal.
Higginbotham made no mistake from the resulting penalty, sending a powerful shot down the middle for his fifth goal of the season.
Captain Michael Duberry fired over at the back post as City looked to increase their advantage while Mamady Sidibe's long-range drive failed to trouble Royce.
The visitors didn't register a single shot on goal during the first-half, and when they did five minutes into the second period, Kevin Gallen shot tamely at Steve Simonsen.
City continued to dictate proceedings with Darel Russell and on loan defender Andy Griffin, playing his last game before returning to Portsmouth, blasting wide from the edge of the area.
Pericard replaced a tiring Ricardo Fuller and Salif Diao limped off for Dave Brammer as the game began to peter out, but a Hendrie volley wide from Lawrence's right-wing cross offered a brief glimpse of goalmouth action.
And Pericard should have wrapped things up in the dying seconds, but failed to slide home Berger's centre from three-yards with the goal gaping.

QPR: Royce, Bignot, Mancienne, Stewart, Milanese, Bailey, Rowlands (Ward 87), Smith, Gallen, Nygaard (Baidoo 90), Blackstock (Furlong 70).
Subs: Bircham, Cole. Bookings: Mancienne 64
Attendance: 16,487 Referee: M Atkinson QPR

Starting Lineups
QPR: Royce, Bignot, Mancienne, Stewart, Milanese, Bailey, Rowlands, Smith, Gallen, Nygaard, Blackstock. Subs: Bircham, Ward, Cole, Baidoo, Furlong.
Stoke: Simonsen, Hoefens, Duberry, Higginbotham, Griffin, Lawrence, Diao, Russell, Hendrie, Sidibe, Fuller.
Subs: Brammer, Pericard, Sweeney, Buxton, Berger.

BBC -Minute by Minute - BBC

QPR Official Site Half Time Report - Half Time Report

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