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Friday, February 09, 2007

Beyond a Pessimist's Nightmare: Southend 5 QPR 0 - Reports and Comments

QPR travelled to Southend and lost FIVE NIL (5-0) letting in two goals in injury time. League Table

MAIL Five-star Southend add to Gregory gloom By IAN GIBB -
Queens Park Rangers lurched from the China crisis to Championship calamity at Roots Hall as Southend gave themselves a real chance of avoiding relegation.
John Gregory’s side still looked in a daze from the shocking events of Wednesday at their training ground when a brawl involving up to 50 people during their game against the Chinese Olympic team was abandoned with a visiting player having his jaw broken in three places.
Rangers chairman Gianni Paladini promised disciplinary action if it was deemed necessary but both substitute Jimmy Smith and coach Richard Hill were on duty last night after being captured on video as participants in the mayhem.
Defender Zesh Rehman, who played in that game, also came on.
But he could not prevent Southend inflicting a crushing defeat on QPR who could tumble back into the bottom three on this sort of form.
Gregory said: "We’ve been given a right kick up the backside. The way the goals were conceded was appalling."
After former Southend goalkeeper Simon Royce gifted Lee Bradbury the opener in the ninth minute by miskicking a clearance into the oncoming player, the home side added a second in the 70th minute when Mark Gower met Kevin Maher’s free-kick to slot the ball past the helpless Royce.
On 79 minutes a Maher corner from the left was emphatically headed home by veteran defender Efe Sodje. Skipper Maher scored the fourth with a stylish right-footed shot from the edge of the area and then wrapped up proceedings by beating Royce again in time added on with a superb free-kick.
Southend boss Steve Tilson said: "We are giving ourselves a really good chance of staying up with only one defeat in our last eight. Mail

Also: Clive Whittingham/Rivals "Out fought and out battled - one to be ashamed of"
THE TIMES Fight goes on for QPR as relegation zone looms
Southend 5 QPR 0 Tom Dart It was not the wisest choice of phrase, but then this has not been the best of weeks for Queens Park Rangers. “We’ve had a right kick up the backside,” John Gregory, the QPR manager, said. “This one will hurt for a few days.”

Literally on Wednesday, figuratively last night. Strange to say only two days after the “Battle of Harlington” but QPR lacked fight once they were two goals down in a match that featured two minimêlées and more gratuitous whacking than a series-worth of The Sopranos. This even though few of yesterday’s team were involved in the rumble near the runways of Heathrow Airport involving the China Olympic squad.

It takes two to tussle and Southend United gave as good as they got, particularly Alan McCormack and Efe Sodje. A tackle from the latter had Dexter Blackstock, the QPR forward, writhing in agony after less than two minutes. Dubious first-half challenges from Blackstock and Gareth Ainsworth provoked not kicks, but the more familiar images of pushing and shoving featuring five or six players from either side.

This was a night of missed opportunities, not least by the Roots Hall DJ, who failed to play the disco classic, Kung Fu Fighting, as the teams ran out. Though, as a one-hit wonder, perhaps Carl Douglas is on reflection not the right artist to evoke an occasion where the hits kept on coming. In any case, Gregory is famously a Bruce Springsteen fan.

He said that the training-ground fight and subsequent international attention had no effect “whatsoever” on yesterday’s performance, but otherwise refused to discuss the incident. “The way the goals were conceded was appalling,” he said. “I’ve got to take responsibility for bringing on another striker to chase the game when we were 2-0 down. It’s not been an easy week; it never is.”

Lee Cook had a strong first-half penalty claim turned down but QPR, who have lost their past seven away Coca-Cola Championship fixtures, were dire and ill-disciplined at the end.

Southend are second-bottom but unlike their opponents, they had punch where it mattered. Their early goal was a donation, Simon Royce, the QPR goalkeeper, kicking Steve Lomas’s back-pass straight at the onrushing Lee Bradbury. The ball hit the Southend striker and trickled in.

Dismal defending allowed Mark Gower to make it two midway through the second period. Sodje added a close-range header to make it 3-0, and two superb goals by Kevin Maher in injury time heaped on the humiliation.

Before kick-off, Gianni Paladini, the QPR chairman, confirmed that he would dismiss players or staff if they were found guilty of gross misconduct in the “Great brawl of China”. The police, the FA and the club are all investigating. Paladini reiterated that he felt personally let down by the clashes and to exacerbate his problems, some QPR supporters are planning a protest against his running of the club for their next home game, against Plymouth Argyle on February 24.

A 30-man mêlée during the practice match between the China Olympic squad and the Championship side’s reserves on Wednesday at QPR’s training ground saw Zheng Tao, the China full back, taken to hospital with a fractured jaw after being knocked unconscious. Since the Chinese are in London as guests of Chelsea, the Barclays Premiership champions’ prospects of cracking the Far East market have also taken a heavy blow.

After this result, consider QPR’s prospects of staying up severely dented as well.
The Times

Southend United 5 Queen's Park Rangers 0: Late Maher double caps QPR's humiliation
By Jon Nisbet
Published: 10 February 2007
Southend continued their remarkable Championship revival as QPR crashed to an eighth straight away defeat at Roots Hall last night.

A freak goal from Lee Bradbury, a tremendous second from Mark Gower, a towering header from Efe Sodje and two late long-range efforts from Kevin Maher earned the Shrimpers a richly deserved win which brought them to within a point of climbing out of the bottom three. "We have only lost once in eight games and that's a good return," said the Southend manager Steve Tilson. "I believe that we can stay up, although we still have a lot of work to do."

The home side were handed a comic opener after nine minutes courtesy of the QPR goalkeeper Simon Royce, who drilled a clearance straight at Bradbury, and the ball rebounded off the striker's right foot.

Southend's second goal came when QPR fell asleep at the back defending a straight Maher free-kick. Gower was allowed to escape his marker brought the ball under instant control to finish inside Royce's near post.

Sodje rose highest to nod in Maher's corner from close range for the third before Maher struck twice. Independent

BBC -Southend 5-0 QPR
QPR goalkeeper Simon Royce's gaffe set former club Southend on the way to a resounding win as the Shrimpers' bid to avoid relegation gathered pace.
Royce's attempted clearance hit Lee Bradbury, with the ball ricocheting straight into the net on nine minutes.
Darryl Flahavan made a series of second-half saves to deny QPR before Mark Gower's shot made it 2-0.
Efe Sodje's header extended Southend's lead, while Kevin Maher added two late goals with a couple of superb strikes.
Southend manager Steve Tilson:
"That's one defeat in eight games and we're on a good roll. The players have dug in and we have given ourselves a chance. "I believe we stay up and the players have shown they can do it." "This was a fantastic results and a fantastic performance adn there were some great finishing."
QPR manager John Gregory:
"I don't see how this week could have got any worse.
"It's been an appalling night. We couldn't have got off to a worse start when conceding a goal like we did. "I'm very disappointed by the way the goals went in, but it's about how we recover now."
Southend: Flahavan, Hunt, Clarke, Sodje (Francis 87), Barrett, Campbell-Ryce, McCormack, Maher, Gower (Foran 77), Eastwood (Harrold 87), Bradbury.
Subs Not Used: Collis, Hooper.
Goals: Bradbury 9, Gower 70, Sodje 79, Maher 90, 90.
QPR: Royce, Mancienne, Cullip (Ray Jones 77), Stewart, Ainsworth, Lomas, Bolder, Timoska (Rehman 68), Rowlands, Blackstock, Cook.
Subs Not Used: Cole, Nygaard, Smith.
Booked: Ainsworth, Rowlands, Bolder, Blackstock.
Att: 10,217. Ref: P Walton (Northamptonshire). BBC

John Gregory's Comments - QPR Official Site - Appalling
John Gregory didn't mince his words when summing up Rangers' display at Roots Hall after their 5-0 defeat.
The gaffer admitted that it had been a difficult week for his side and believed that the boys had made it hard for themselves from the off.
"It's been an appalling night. I don't see how this week could have got any worse. We couldn't have got off to a worse start when conceding a goal like we did.
"I've got to take responsibility for changing the game after that. At 2-0 down you feel you may as well go for it but we left ourselves open at the back in an attempt to get back in the game.
"I've very disappointed by the way that the goals went in. We had a few chances but they were all outside the area and all of theirs seemed to go in.
"But this will happen to better teams than us, everyone has a day like this, but it's all about how we recover from this now.
"This will hurt for a few days now and the boys are really down in the dressing room right now." QPR Official


Steve Tilson
Steve Tilson reflects on tonight's match against QPR

Steve Tilson admitted that Southend are 'back in the mix' in their challenge to stay up this season after their resounding 5-0 win over QPR.

The Blues Chief was shocked at the emphatic scoreline and having firmly pegged their goal difference back, is now looking for a similar story at Sunderland next weekend.

Steve told Blues World: "I think beforehand everyone was saying that this was a 'six pointer' and it's a great win for us.

"It has got us right back in the mix; I love Friday night games.

Steve Tilson speaks to Blues World

"Four or five weeks ago we looked dead and buried and people were writing us off.

"But we have given ourselves a real chance of staying up.

"We have been performing well recently, but I never thought that we would get a result like this - winning 5-0 is fantastic.

"We now have a tough match at Sunderland next Saturday and if we can win 10-0 then our goal difference will be even better!"

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Steve Tilson

Currently available on Blues TV
Tilson believes that the second goal was the key to taking all three points, as it offset a spell of QPR pressure and allowed them to take full control.

"QPR did make it difficult for us 15 minutes after half time," he said.

"We were pegged back and got put under pressure, but we defended stoutly.

"The second goal was the key and it was a superb finish from Mark.

"Our finishing was top draw tonight and Kev capped it off with two strikes at the end that were different class.

"It was also nice for us to keep a clean sheet." Southend

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Southend boosted their hopes of Coca-Cola Championship survival and completed a miserable week for QPR with a 5-0 rout at Roots Hall.

Following a brawl during their friendly with the Chinese Olympic team, goals from Lee Bradbury, Mark Gower, Efe Sodje and a Kevin Maher brace added to Rangers' pain.

And Southend manager Steve Tilson is convinced his team will now avoid relegation after thumping the west Londoners.

"We have only lost once in eight games and that's a good return," said Tilson. "I believe that we can stay up, although we still have a lot of work to do.

"We went in 1-0 up and QPR put us under a lot of pressure in the first 15 minutes of the second half, but it was a fantastic result and a fantastic performance overall.

"The lads dug in when we were having our bad run earlier in the season and we have now given ourselves a good platform to build on."

Tilson and QPR boss John Gregory also stressed Wednesday's brawl had no impact on the game.

"If last week was my best day at the club, tonight was the worst," said Gregory, referring to the 3-1 win over Burnley last Saturday.

"All the players know they have been poor tonight but we must not take anything away from Southend.

"Everything they hit went in and my biggest concern is that some of my players dropped their heads so quickly."

Southend took the lead on nine minutes when Rangers skipper Steve Lomas made a routine back pass to former Shrimpers keeper Simon Royce, but his clearance cannoned straight off Bradbury and into the net.

QPR had a let-off when Jamal Campbell-Ryce's cross was punched clear by Royce but fell to Gower who rifled in a right-footed shot that was hacked off the line by Sami Timoska.

Rangers struggled to make much impact up front but should have had a penalty when Peter Clarke's clumsy challenge brought down Lee Cook, but it went unpunished by referee Peter Walton.

The visitors had their first shot on target in the 62nd minute when Gareth Ainsworth set up Adam Bolder who fired a 25-yard shot straight at Darryl Flahavan.

Eight minutes later the Shrimpers doubled their advantage when skipper Maher chipped a free-kick over the Rangers defence and Gower ran behind to fire past Royce from 14 yards.

Martin Rowlands had a great chance to reduce the arrears on 74 minutes but his 25-yard shot was turned out for a corner by Flahavan.

Eleven minutes from time Southend got their third when Maher's left-wing corner was headed home from close range by Sodje for his first goal of the season.

Rowlands then blasted straight at Flahavan before Southend's Alan McCormack's goal was ruled out for offside.

But it did not matter as Maher rifled in a snap shot in injury-time and then curled in a free-kick beyond Royce's despairing drive to complete the rout. Sporting Life

Rangers once again fell foul to a team of fellow relegation strugglers at Roots Hall where Southend ran riot with a 5-0 victory.

The first goal summed up Rangers' luck of late with Lee Bradbury tapping home a hasty clearance from Simon Royce after a Steve Lomas backpass just nine minutes in.

Rangers' luck was on an equal footing at the other end of the park towards the end of the half when Lee Cook was hauled to the ground by Peter Clarke. A challenge which had John Gregory running to the Sky monitors to watch the replay which no doubt left him feeling rightly aggrieved.

The second half failed to bring any cheer for Rangers when goals from Mark Gower, Efe Sodje and a brace from Kevin Maher put Rangers back into the relegation fight with Barnsley and Hull due to play Colchester and Derby respectively.

The team which travelled to Roots Hall remained unchanged from that which saw off Burnley almost a week previously.

Southend wasted no time in testing the Rangers defence. Jamal Campbell-Ryce weaved his way in amongst the throng of awaiting defenders before Freddie Eastwood clipped Simon Royce's bar with his lofted effort.

Peter Clarke then headed Kevin Maher's header over the bar to keep Rangers on their toes.

And then, disaster. Steve Lomas slipped a difficult backpass to his keeper who was forced into a hurried clearance which fell favourably into the path of Lee Bradbury who didn't have to think too hard about tapping the ball past Royce and into the unguarded net.

Campbell-Ryce then sprinted down the right channel once again, setting up Mark Gower who riffled a shot in on goal which Sami Timoska had to hack off the goal line.

Former Leyton Orient winger JCR was continuing to run Timoska ragged down the wing and Rangers had failed to emerge from the traps with half an hour gone.

Royce was under pressure once again when Maher's free kick skipped into the box with Peter Clarke possibly getting a nick on it's way in. But the former Southend stopper got a hand to it and tipped it round the far post and away from the danger area.

On 31 minutes, Bradbury forced a great save out of Royce when his low drive seemingly stuck to his gloves as he flung himself towards the ground.

Nine minutes short of half time and Rangers felt they should have had a penalty given their way. Cook clashed with Clarke in the area and the Southend man mis-timed his tackle, hauling Cook to the ground.

Southend weren't knocked from their stride though and continued to pile forth towards the Rangers goal right up until the half time whistle.

Five minutes into the second half and Danny Cullip had Rangers' hearts in their mouths when he deflected Freddie Eastwood's cross across the face of goal and sent it skimming wide of the post.

Rangers did however start to mount some pressure of their own in a ten minute spell which saw a succession of corners. The closest the Superhoops came to equalising came when Ainsworth danced into the box and saw his shot deflected away from goal before Damion Stewart sent the ball back into the throng of players. Dexter Blackstock then adminstered the final effort, but Darryl Flahavan was equal to it.

Rangers continued to press and Lee Cook achieved the visitors' first noteworthy effort on the hour mark. But once again, the Shrimpers stopper found himself well placed and prevented Rangers from getting back in the game.

Without that equaliser, things went from bad to worse for Rangers as Southend extended their lead.

Maher's quick free kick was chipped into the path of Mark Gower, who found himself with only Royce to beat, and did so with a neat finish to confound Rangers' misery.

To their credit, Rangers still steamed ahead with Rowlands on one such occasion forcing a fine save from Flahavan.

But once again, Southend went straight up the other end and tucked away another goal when Efe Sodje rose above the Rangers defence to head home Maher's left wing corner.

To add insult to injury, Maher added a fourth in injury time when he dropped his shoulder to escape the attentions of Lee Cook and let rip with a beautifully curled effort from 25 yards.

Maher then added a second moments later with an unbelievable free kick from 25 yards out.

On a night when Rangers desperately needed a win, the goods just couldn't be produced.
- QPR Official Site

outhend supplied the perfect tonic in their bid for survival, as they stormed to a stunning 5-0 victory over QPR.

Having now fastened their grip on the surrounding teams, the Club are drawing ever closer to moving out of the bottom three of the Championship.

It was another team performance, although Captain Kevin Maher will grab the headlines with two eye-catching strikes in injury time.

As the scoreline suggests Southend were full value for the win and although luck played its part in them taking the lead, they more than controlled first half proceedings.

On his return to Roots Hall, QPR goalkeeper Simon Royce had a game to forget with his misfortune compounded after just nine minutes when he cleared a routine backpass from Steve Lomas straight at Lee Bradbury, as the ball then cannoned off the striker's feet and into the net.

Mark Gower then saw Sami Timoska hook his shot off the line before Maher's free kick was brilliantly tipped around the post by Royce, as Peter Clarke lurked inside the penalty box aiming to get a final touch.

QPR had appeals for a penalty turned down after Lee Cook went over in the box under a challenge from Clarke, but with Jamal Campbell-Ryce at his ever-flowing best down the right flank, the Blues made all the pressing.

The visitors improved after the break, but extended periods of little activity were soon broken up when Gower doubled the team's advantage in the 70th minute.

The quick thinking of Maher allowed him to catch the QPR defence unaware and float a free kick straight into the path of Gower who, from just inside the box, arrowed a splendid shot into the far corner of the net.

Anytime QPR lined up a shot they found Darryl Flahavan alert and ready to make the save, the best being when he turned Martin Rowlands' fierce strike around the post.

Soon after Efe Sodje broke his deadlock for the season when he headed in a corner after 78 minutes before Freddy Eastwood's brilliance allowed him to weave around the defence only for his low cross to be hacked clear in front of goal.

With Southend on the verge of celebrating a vital win, Maher stepped up to set the seal with a quick-fire double. From 20 yards out he curled a sublime shot into the goal past a statuesque Royce before rifling a free kick into the opposite corner of the net.

The results Southend have gained in recent games have been nothing short of brilliant and this assured defeat of QPR in front of the SKY cameras is very much the icing on the cake.

Although there is a full round of fixtures to be played on Saturday, as it presently stands, the Blues are now just one point away from safety and also gave their goal difference a timely boost in the process. Southend

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