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Sunday, April 29, 2007

QPR Lose to Wolves - Reports & Comments

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Sunday Times -Wolves find form at last Wolves 2 QPR 0Richard Lewis at Molineux
AT HALF-TIME yesterday, Wol-verhampton Wanderers had dropped outside the top six as results transpired against them. Two minutes after the break, with their goalkeeper Matt Murray on the edge of his six-yard box, a shot from Queens Park Rangers’ midfielder Jimmy Smith dipped and bounced back off of the crossbar.
“When that happened, I thought it was going to be our day,” said Mick McCarthy, the Wolves manager. But it was not solely luck that they needed. Suddenly a roar rang around a stadium which just three years ago was watching Premiership football, and within 10 minutes the possibility of a return to the top-flight was on again.
The bolt of almost trailing to a side with little to play for raised the tempo of a home team who at last looked genuine promotion candidates. Jay Bothroyd started demanding the ball more, and with it the pace of Michael Kightly on the right and Michael McIndoe on the left took hold.

QPR were struggling. In a 20-minute spell, Wolves scored twice and had four further good chances, displaying continuity which was never there when, for some reason, they slowed the pace. Fifth in the table, they are not in the playoffs yet, but it is in their hands. If they win at Leices-ter next Sunday, they will be guaranteed a chance to end a season of inconsistency in style.

At least they have a clean sheet — their first since mid-March — and in striker Andy Keogh an impressive talent. He was signed for £600,000 from Scunthorpe in January and yesterday opened his home scoring account, and deservedly so. He had been Wolves’ best player in a dull first-half and in the 57th minute he put them ahead. Jake Cole, 21, a tremendous prospect, initially denied Keogh’s header with a fine stop but the striker fired the rebound in from six yards.

Eight minutes later, it was 2-0. Bothroyd’s fine pass from the left split the QPR defence to find Kightly, who tucked the ball under Cole from 10 yards.

Having secured their safety a week earlier, the next seven days will mean change at QPR after manager John Gregory extended his contract for another two years. “I am going to be making some unpopular decisions,” he said. “The club has had a tired look about it. We need some hungry young men; we need zip and energy.”

Star man: Jay Bothroyd (Wolves)

Player ratings. Wolves:Murray 6, Collins 6, Breen 6, Craddock 6, McNamara 6, Kightly 6 (Gleeson 83min), Olofinjana 7, Potter 6, McIndoe 7, Bothroyd 8 (Ward 79min), Keogh 7 (Little 90min)
QPR:Cole 7, Bignot 6, Kanyuka 6 (Timoska 60min, 5), Stewart 6, Milanese 6, Rowlands 5, Bolder 6 (Bailey 76min), Lomas 6, Smith 6, Furlong 5 (Jones 66min), Nygaard 5.
Scorers: Wolves: Keogh 57, Kightly 64
Referee:M Pike Attendance:24,931 - Sunday Times

Wolves 2 QPR 0

John Gregory believes Wolves' cutting edge in the final third was the only difference between the two sides at Molineux.
Goals from Andy Keogh and Michael Kightly gave Mick McCarthy's men maximum points.
"We made it difficult for them, but in the end their quality shone through in the second half,'' Gregory told www.qpr.co.uk.
"There was nothing at stake except pride and some of the lads dealt with it better than others.''

Despite conceding two goals, Jake Cole impressed between the sticks for the R's and the gaffer was quick to praise the young custodian.

"Jake Cole was excellent.

"Players are the best judges and after the game they all gave him a big hug and a big pat on the back.''

Gregory added: "No-one saw the real QPR out there today, but Wolves could probably say the same.''

Gregory also praised the efforts of Keogh, who led the Wolves line in style, scoring the opening goal and providing the assist for the Wanderers' second.

"The boy Keogh is one of the finds of the season.

"I had a big look at him, but to be honest we couldn't compete when it came down to money.

"He's one to watch next season, regardless of which division Wolves are in.'' QPR Official Site QPR

BBC - Wolves 2-0 QPR
Second-half goals from Andrew Keogh and Michael Kightly were enough for Wolves to see off plucky QPR and maintain a Championship play-off position.

After wasting a series of gilt-edged chances Wolves finally scored 12 minutes after the break when Keogh tucked in the rebound from his header.

The hosts doubled their advantage just a minute later when Kightly coolly converted Jay Bothroyd's cross.

Wolves now need to win at Leicester to ensure they make the play-offs.

# Wolves boss Mick McCarthy on the prospect of playing WBA in the play-offs:
"We would take that now.

"I'm sure they would too. They think they can beat us."

And he added of the scrappy 1-0 win over QPR: "Nobody said it was going to be easy. It was a Championship game - a bit messy. "If we have to grind out 1-0 victories we will do it."

QPR manager John Gregory:
"The club has had a tired look about it. We need to change some faces. We will do that this week." "We didn't see the best of Wolverhampton Wanderers today - they were outstanding last week. "In Keogh they have one of the signings of the season. We looked at him but could not compete financially." BBC


Second half strikes from Andy Keogh and Michael Kightly condemned a much-changed Rangers side to a 2-0 defeat at Molineux.

Minus the services of five first team regulars - including star duo Dexter Blackstock and Lee Cook - the R's were forced to weather a second half storm in the Midlands, as Mick McCarthy's high-fliers moved a step closer to securing their place in the Championship play-off's.

It could have been a far different outcome though, had Jimmy Smith's stunning effort at 0-0 bounced in off the bar, instead of out.

Wolves made the most of their reprieve, when first Keogh, and then Kightly, moved the Molineux men to within touching distance of the play-off's.

In all, John Gregory made four changes to the side which beat Cardiff City seven days earlier.

The most interesting change was in the goalkeeping department, where Jake Cole replaced Lee Camp, with veteran Paul Jones having to make do with a place on the bench against one of his former sides.

Mauro Milanese, Jimmy Smith and Paul Furlong all returned, at the expense of Sampsa Timoska, Cook and Blackstock.

In a free flowing opening, it was Wolves front-man Keogh who smashed the first shot on goal, firing a yard wide of Cole's right hand post.

Wanderers' high offside line proved to be an effective tool in the opening stanza, with Furlong and Marc Nygaard both being flagged, despite Gregory contesting both decisions from his technical area.

When the former did eventually break through in the 19th minute, his pressure was enough to force Gary Breen into an error. Unfortunately for the R's, Matt Murray - widely regarded as the best custodian in the division - used his towering frame to clutch the ball from underneath his own crossbar.

Play switched to the other end a minute later, with Seyi Olofinjana dragging a low 20-yard volley wide.

Play-off hunting Wolves were in determined mood and when Michael McIndoe evaded the last line of a static Rangers defence, his miscued effort from the angle of the six-yard box flew well wide.

Rangers were by no means overawed by a partisan Molineux crowd and when the ball broke to Milanese 12-yards from goal, only a timely block from Jody Craddock prevented the Italian full-back from testing Murray.

At the other end, McIndoe was having a first half to forget in front of goal, hooking a gilt-edged opportunity wide from a carbon copy area from his earlier miss.

The R's continued to create as the half reached a conclusion. Martin Rowlands' sweeping cross from the right flank appeared to be evading everyone, until Smith crept in at the back post, only to be thwarted at his feet by the imposing Murray.

Buoyed by the way they ended the first period, Rangers were on the front foot from the first whistle in the second half.

Neat interplay involving Adam Bolder and Rowlands eventually ended with the ball finding Smith 20-yards from goal. With his back to goal, the young midfielder turned on a sixpence before unleashing a looping effort which beat Murray all ends up, only to bounce back off the face off the crossbar.

Rowlands was first to the loose ball, only to head over, under pressure, from the edge of the six-yard box.

In an action packed start to the half, the otherwise ineffective Jay Bothroyd glanced a header inches wide of Cole's far post in the 50th minute.

A minute later, his strike-partner Keogh seemed destined to open the scoring, only to pull his shot wide of the post from eight-yards.

Wolves were in the ascendancy and on 53 minutes, McIndoe - with the goal gaping - inexplicably fired wide from two yards out.

It was one-way traffic by now and moments after Cole palmed away Bothroyd's powerful free-kick, the deadlock was eventually broken.

Cole did magnificently well to claw Keogh's initial close range header out, but the Wolves striker made no mistake from the rebound, smashing the ball into the back of the net.

Keogh almost bagged a second 60 seconds later, but Cole produced yet more heroics with a superb save with his feet.

As Wolves mounted a second half assault, the young keeper thwarted Kightly with another top-drawer save at the midfielder's feet.

But he was powerless to prevent the former Grays Athletic star from notching his seventh goal of the season on 66 minutes, as the diminutive midfielder coasted through unmarked to slot home with ease from close-range.

Rowlands shot straight at Murray and Ray Jones fired a spectacular bicycle kick over in the dying moments, but the goal Rangers' performance probably just about warranted was not forthcoming.

Wolves: Murray, Collins, Olofinjana, Breen, Craddock, McNamara, Bothroyd (Ward 79), Potter, McIndoe, Kightly (Gleeson 83), Keogh (Little 90).

Subs: Davies, Hennessey.

Scorers: Keogh 55, Kightly 66

Bookings: Breen 70

QPR: Cole, Bignot, Bolder (Bailey 76), Rowlands, Lomas, Kanyuka (Timoska 59), Stewart, Furlong (R Jones 67), Nygaard, Smith, Milanese.

Subs: P Jones, Moore.

Bookings: Smith 64, Nygaard 70

Referee: M Pike

Attendance: 24, 931 QPR


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Wolves manager Mick McCarthy was delighted that his side managed to grind out a 2-0 victory over QPR at Molineux that leaves them on course for a play-offs clash with arch rivals West Bromwich Albion.

Andy Keogh and Michael Kightly grabbed the Wolves goals to leave McCarthy's men level on points with Albion, who

are fourth to Wolves' fifth thanks to a superior goal difference.

If the play-off positions remain unchanged after next Sunday's final matches - Wolves travel to Leicester and Albion are at home to Barnsley - the pair will meet in the play-off semi-finals.

"We would take that now," said McCarthy. "I'm sure they would too. They think they can beat us.

Wolves were not at their best but McCarthy was not about to apologise for that.

"Nobody said it was going to be easy," said McCarthy. "IIt was a Championship game - a bit messy. If we have to grind out 1-0 victories we will do it.

The crowd chanted McCarthy's name with passion at the end and he said: "I feel quite humbled by the crowd's reaction to me - all I have done is spend someone else's money."

Rangers manager John Gregory believes Wanderers can step up a gear.

He said: "We didn't see the best of Wolverhampton Wanderers today - they were outstanding last week.

"In Keogh they have one of the signings of the season. We looked at him but could not compete financially," he said.

The lacklustre first half was reminiscent of an end of season game with nothing to play for.

Young Irish forward Keogh was industrious throughout the game and his 20-yard shot from the left in the 13th minute that ended wide was impressive.

Keogh handed Michael McIndoe a goalscoring chance in the 34th minute.

He should have done better with a shot that ended up two yards wide of the left upright.

Matt Murray had little to do in goal - he made one outstanding save in the 41st minute diving at the feet of Rangers midfielder Jimmy Smith four yards out pushing the ball out for a corner.

Both managers sent their teams out with different mindsets in the second half and within two minutes Marc Nygaard headed a Steve Lomas cross against the bar from five yards with Murray beaten.

Keogh's 10-yard shot in the 54th minute ended up a yard wide of the right upright signalled the start of Wolves all out attack on the QPR goal.

In the 57th minute McIndoe headed to Keogh on the left edge of the six yard box whose shot was superbly saved by Cole - the rebound returned to Keogh who blasted the ball home from five yards.

Wolves scored again in the 64th minute. Jay Bothroyd delivered an inch perfect ball for Kightly to tap home from six yards.

Yellow cards were handed out when

Nygaard squared up to Wanderers defender Gary Breen in the 70th minute.

Wolves should have scored during the five minutes of injury time with substitute Stephen Ward missing an ideal opportunity from 10 yards on the left side of the box, missing the right upright by inches following a pinpoint cross by fellow substitute Stephen Gleeson.

Gregory is getting ready for a clearout at Loftus Road. He added:

"The club has had a tired look about it. We need to change some faces. We will do that this week." Sporting Life

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