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Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Another Home Loss: QPR 0 Plymouth 2

Updated League Table A crowd of just under 11,000 (2,000 supposedly away supporters which is pretty impressive)

Gregory - future uncertain. - UNEASY GREGORY VOWS TO FIGHT ON
John Gregory shrugged off doubts over his future as QPR manager following the 2-0 home defeat to Plymouth.
Goals from Peter Halmosi and David Norris gave Argyle a resounding victory at Loftus Road and condemned Rangers to a fourth consecutive home defeat.
The result increases the pressure on Gregory ahead of a takeover by Formula One moguls Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, who were already believed to be considering the appointment a new manager before watching Rangers' latest dismal display.
But Gregory said: "I've been through everything in football and I'm very philosophical about life.
"We must carry on working as hard as we can. We just need to get a win."...
Gregory added: "I'm absolutely distraught about the results.
"There were lots of good things. We had a good first 45 minutes and I always feel that 0-0 at half-time is a decent scoreline.
"That always gives you a platform to build on and we are a notoriously good second-half team. But in this game we just didn't get going in the second half.
"Plymouth took the lead and you could see the confidence drain out of a few of our boys, who are finding things a little bit difficult at the moment.
"It was a classic away performance from Plymouth. They took their chances very well and that was the difference between the two teams."
Plymouth manager Ian Holloway expressed sympathy for Gregory, having been plagued by speculation about his future during his own spell as QPR boss.
"I feel for John," Holloway admitted.
"I was in that position myself and I'm glad things aren't being said about me and my future now. It must be a London thing because Martin Jol is getting the same as Tottenham.
"Just let John get on with the job - he's got a proven track record."

Returning to the club where he spent 10 years as a player and manager was an emotional experience for Holloway, who added: "When you're committed to a relationship and it breaks down it's very difficult.
"But I've got a new relationship now and it was a special feeling to come back here.
"That game could have gone either way. I anticipated an exciting match and it was definitely that.
"We look sharp and that's as good an away performance as I've seen from my lot.
"We looked like a team who believed they could win." Sporting Life

John Gregory pulled no punches after seeing his side slip to a 2-0 defeat against Plymouth Argyle at Loftus Road.
The R's gaffer was as honest as ever, commenting: "There's no place to hide.
"Goals win games and so do strikers and they took their chances and we didn't.
"We should have gone in to the break ahead, but we conceded early in the second half and from then on we were playing catch up.
"You could see the confidence draining from the players and they had their tails up and duly got a second."
Peter Halmosi and David Norris bagged Argyle's goals, but Gregory refused to fault his players' efforts, saying: "It was a poor outcome.
"The effort and enthusiasm was there, but the quality wasn't. I thought Danny Cullip was outstanding yet again, but overall it was a disappointing night."
Rangers were denied by a lick of paint in each half, but Gregory refused to blame bad luck for his sides' defeat.
"You make your own luck in this game and although we hit the bar twice, we need to take our chances," he said.
"There's no hiding place here and we didn't produce the goods yet again, in front of our own fans, and that's not good enough." QPR

Daily Mail - Ecclestone sees Rangers struggle to get out of first gear

Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone made his first pit stop at Loftus Road last night following his purchase of relegationthreatened QPR.
Struggling Rangers sank to their third home league defeat of the season. But Ecclestone proved he has learned how to join football's prawn sandwich brigade.
After watching a poor first half from the directors' box, Ecclestone missed the start of the second half, only re-emerging seconds before Plymouth stole an unlikely lead on 49 minutes through Peter Halmosi's individual effort.
Rangers had created two good early chances, but Martin Rowlands had a shot saved by Luke McCormack and Daniel Nardiello hit the bar.
Plymouth had rarely threatened bar Halmosi's strike, but they grabbed a second just before the hour. Mail

Ian Holloway enjoyed a winning return to former club QPR and piled the pressure on Loftus Road counterpart John Gregory as Plymouth ran out 2-0 victors in the Coca-Cola Championship.
The Argyle boss - in charge of Rangers between 2001 and February last year - masterminded a win which could kickstart his side's season as Peter Halmosi and David Norris netted to leave the Hoops second bottom.
It was a tale of two halves for the home side who dominated the opening period but failed to convert the best of the early chances as Daniel Nardiello rattled the crossbar with a towering header.
Rangers were left to lament their profligacy as Halmosi broke the deadlock with a fine individual strike before Norris wrapped up the points with an assured finish 12 second-half minutes later.
Home manager Gregory opted to deploy a three-pronged strikeforce of Nardiello, Stefan Moore and Dexter Blackstock as his side looked to halt their winless start to the season, while powerhouse duo Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Barry Hayles led the line for Plymouth.
Rangers may have been struggling at the wrong end of the table prior to kick-off but they started positively enough as Adam Bolder tried his luck from 30 yards inside the opening 90 seconds, although he failed to trouble goalkeeper Luke McCormick.
McCormick was soon called into action, though, as he reacted quickly to parry Moore's rasping 12-yard drive three minutes later and the hosts went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock with 12 minutes played.
Zesh Rehman found himself with the time and space to pick out Nardiello with a looping centre and the one-time Manchester United striker glanced a 12-yard header which rebounded to safety off the crossbar.
Plymouth, themselves without a league win since beating Hull 3-2 on the opening day of the campaign, were reduced to taking pot-shots from distance as Akos Buzsaky dragged wide from 30 yards shortly afterwards before twice going close with 25-yard free-kicks.
The first half petered out but game did explode into life five minutes into the second period as Argyle took the lead through a stunning strike from Halmosi.
The Hungarian midfielder embarked on a mazy run after linking up well with Hayles and dispatched a high drive past the hapless Lee Camp from the edge of the penalty area to notch his first goal of the season.
Rangers looked visibly stunned by Halmosi's opener and were left reeling when Argyle doubled their lead just after the hour.
Ebanks-Blake headed the ball into the path of Norris and the highly-rated winger held his nerve to smash the ball home from 12 yards.
Camp denied Norris a second of the evening with a smart save four minutes from time as Argyle went in search of a third while at the other end Ben Sahar saw his late effort tipped around the post by the outstretched McCormick.
Sporting Life

SECOND-HALF goals from Petér Halmosi and David Norris made sure that Ian Holloway's homecoming was a happy one, giving the Pilgrims a thoroughly deserved first Championship victory since the opening day of the season.
Argyle's wideboys netted early after the break in front of the hundreds of Pilgrims' fans who made sure the home supporters knew they value the man in charge of their fortunes as much as their hosts once did. Formula 1? Formula Ollie!
Holloway had whistled up three senior players for his return to Shepherd's Bush, all to a midfield in which David Norris remained the only constant.
Hungarian internationals Halmosi and Ákos Buzsáky, second-half substitutes in Saturday's 2-2 Sky high-to-low draw with Cardiff, joined compatriot Krisztián Timár in one of the most cosmopolitan of London Boroughs, while Lilian Nalis was recalled from the wildnerness to the ground where he was sent off last season.
Rangers' starting line-up showed just one change to the 11 that had paved the way to a 1-1 draw at Leicester City three days earlier.
Danny Nardiello, who had come on as a substitute to good effect at the Walkers Stadium, began in place of the man he had replaced at Leicester, on-loan Chelsea striker Ben Sahar, the Israeli international.
Nardiello's partner up front was a man familiar to Argyle supporters, England Under-21 international Dexter Blackstock, who spent a thoroughly successful loan spell at Home Park three seasons ago, scoring four goals in 14 games to help keep Bobby Williamson's Championship debutants in the second flight of English football.
The game started at a pace and was barely five minutes old before the two sides swapped chances.
Argyle's came first, after Barry Hayles had been bundled over just outside the penalty area. Halmosi took precise aim and curled the free-kick around the inside of the wall with his left foot.
The ball curled away and left Rangers' goalkeeper Lee Camp grasping at thin air before the spin took it wide of his post by no more than a yard.
Immediately, Nardiello was played through by Blackstock and, surprisingly, left Marcel Seip in his wake before unleashing a fierce shot. Luke McCormick had been alert to the situation, however, and his closing down of the shot made the save look easier than it was.
A game of attack and counter-attack ensued, with defences making sure goalkeepers were not needed to do anything other than mop up - except once, when a looping header from Nardiello plopped down from a height on to Luke McCormick's crossbar with the Argyle goalkeeper appearing to get a vital touch as the ball re-entered earth orbit.
Argyle strung together some sweet passes, taking control of the midfield with good periods of possession. When they got the ball wide, they looked dangerous, too, and Hayles was inches away from converting a cracking head-high right-wing cross from by Ebanks-Blake.
A driving run into the heart of the home defence from Halmosi ended with Rangers grateful to get the ball away from Norris for a corner which saw Buzsáky set up Hayles with a training-ground routine that saw the Argyle skipper show unbelievable technique to strike a low first-time shot from the edge of the penalty area.
The shot was blocked before Camp was required but the Hoops' 'keeper immediately got his chance to show his paces when Gary Sawyer let rip with a quality volley that had the former Derby County custodian scrambling to his left to save the shot.
Another free-kick, this time from Buzsáky and more central to goal, nearly broke the deadlock but, again, the ball curled agonisingly just the wrong side of the post. Camp did not move, which means he is either the coolest man in west London or he was never going to get anywhere near the ball.
The Pilgrims nearly undid all their solid work in the opening 45 minutes in first-half injury-time when Paul Connolly sold McCormick short with a backpass that Mikele Ligertwood seized upon, but the back line remained stiff in the sinews and disaster was averted.
Argyle maintained their momentum into the opening stages of the second half and the pressure that had built all through the first half finally told in the 49th minute when Halmosi cut inside Zesh Rehman with such adroitness that the Rangers' right-back slipped and had to watch from a prostate position as the Pilgrims' record signing planted a right-foot shot beyond Camp.
Going behind stirred Rangers into a state of liveliness they had not before suggested they possessed and they came within inches of levelling when Martin Rowlands clipped a Seip conceded free-kick against the crossbar. McCormick, it is fair to say from his statuesque response, did not have it covered.
The home side then introduced highly-rated West Ham striker Hogam Ephraim and Marcus Bignot but the new pair hardly had a moment to settle in before the Pilgrims extended their lead.
The provider was Connolly, who slung in a right-wing cross deep to the far post. Halmosi unselfishly headed it back into the danger zone, where Hayles, Ebanks-Blake and Norris converged on it. Any of them might have scored, but Norris won the race and smashed it home.
After that, it was up to Rangers to try to break down an Argyle side that spent the rest of the game largely going through the motions with some comfort.
Nardiello did eventually spring the Argyle's ad hoc offside trap but shot so high that several people in the crowd ricked their necks, and Argyle responded with a terrific shot from range by Buzsáky that slipped narrowly wide.
If proof was needed that it was indeed Ollie's night, then it came when Timár and Seip comically got in each other's way to leave Sahar, on as substitute, clear in on goal. International strikers should not spurn such ribbon-wrapped opportunities.

Queens Park Rangers (4-4-2): 1 Lee Camp; 28 Zesh Rehman (2 Marcus Bignot 59), 4 Danny Cullip, 5 Damion Stewart, 3 Chris Barker; 18 Stefan Moore (25 Hogan Ephraim 59), 7 Adam Bolder (capt), 32 Mikele Leigertwood, 14 Martin Rowlands; 8 Daniel Nardiello (17 Ben Sahar 83), 9 Dexter Blackstock. Substitutes (not used): 12 Jake Cole (gk), 21 John Curtis.

Argyle (4-4-2): 23 Luke McCormick; 2 Paul Connolly, 5 Krisztián Timár, 19 Marcel Seip, 18 Gary Sawyer; 7 David Norris, 4 Lilian Nalis, 8 Ákos Buzsáky, 16 Péter Halmosi; 9 Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, 10 Barry Hayles (capt, 17 Lee Hodges 90). Substitutes (not used): 1 Romain Larrieu (gk), 11 Nick Chadwick, 13 Mathias Kouo-Doumbe, 14 Rory Fallon.
Booked: Seip 56, Timár 70.
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands).
Attendance: 10,850 (2,000 away est). Plymouth

QPR 0 Plymouth 2 QPR Official Site
Second half goals from Peter Halmosi and David Norris heaped more misery on the R's at Loftus Road.
The Hoops' winless streak in W12 extended to five matches, as Plymouth boss Ian Holloway guided his side to a memorable victory at his former stomping ground.
Halmosi opened the scoring four minutes into the second half, before Norris put the result beyond any doubt with a close-range strike on 62 minutes.
Earlier, Rangers came within a lick of paint of taking the lead in an even first half.
The recalled Danny Nardiello headed against the top of the crossbar, while Plymouth's best opening fell to Gary Sawyer, who saw his long range half-volley well held by Lee Camp.
After falling behind to Halmosi's strike, the R's were again denied by the woodwork courtesy of a Martin Rowlands free-kick, but it mattered little as Norris poached a second moments later.
John Gregory made a solitary change to the side that drew 1-1 at The Walkers Stadium four days earlier.
Nardiello replaced Ben Sahar in attack, with the Chelsea loanee dropping to the substitutes' bench.
There was no place in the 16 for another of the R's loan signings, Michael Mancienne, who was ruled out due to a back injury.
Argyle boss Holloway, on his second homecoming to W12, named an unchanged side, which meant in-form striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake led the line alongside Barry Hayles.
In an entertaining opening, Plymouth fired the first warning shot, when Halmosi's 20-yard free-kick flew inches wide of Camp's left hand post.
Play switched immediately to the other end, where Nardiello - having been teed up by strike partner Dexter Blackstock - took one touch to set before forcing Luke McCormick to smother.
Nardiello was the key to Rangers' fast start and after a free-flowing R's passing move ended with the ball falling at the feet of the roaming Zesh Rehman, his pin-point cross was headed onto the top of the crossbar by the Welsh international.
Sawyer's speculative 40-yard strike from a half-cleared Plymouth corner kick brought the best out of Camp, while at the other end, Rehman - after linking up effectively with Nardiello - was denied by a last ditch save by McCormick.
The lively Akos Buzsaky curled a 30-yard free-kick a yard or so wide in the 41st minute, before the same player tried his luck again on the stroke of half-time, only to find the upper tier of the loft.
Rangers almost bagged an unlikely breakthrough in the second minute of added time, only for Moore to be denied by the sprawling McCormick, after Plymouth failed to clear their lines from a routine clearance.
The second half was only four minutes old when Argyle grabbed the lead, albeit against the run of play.
Gifted time and space on the left hand side of the R's 18-yard box, Halmosi cut inside before smashing a fearsome strike past the exposed Camp.
Having seen the woodwork deny his side in the first half, Gregory was again wondering what might have been on 55 minutes.
Marcel Seip pulled Nardiello to ground and when Rowlands stepped up, his sublime 25-yard free-kick left McCormick flat-footed, only for the crossbar to thwart the R's set-piece expert.
Sensing his side required fresh legs in an attempt to get back into the game, Gregory made a double substitution just before the hour, introducing Marcus Bignot and Hogan Ephraim at the expense of Rehman and Stefan Moore.
But it was Argyle who bagged the all-important second goal just four minutes later, when Halmosi headed the ball back across the face of goal and Norris smashed the ball past Camp from eight-yards.
Nardiello - easily Rangers' most tricky customer on an otherwise disappointing evening - fired over from an acute angle on 74 minutes, but it was Plymouth and Buzsaky who went closest to adding a third, when his 30-yard pile-driver flew wide.
Second half substitute Sahar should have opened his R's account when he was allowed to coast through unmarked after hesitancy at the heart of the Argyle defence, but the Israeli blasted over from 15-yards.
Late pressure from the R's saw Blackstock head straight at McCormick and Sahar denied by the Argyle keeper, but the first home league goal of the campaign continued to evade Gregory's side, who slumped to a fourth straight home defeat.
QPR: Camp, Barker, Cullip, Stewart, Bolder, Nardiello (Sahar 81), Blackstock, Rowlands, Moore (Ephraim 58), Rehman (Bignot 58), Leigertwood.
Subs: Cole, Curtis.
Plymouth Argyle: McCormick, Connolly, Nalis, Timar, Norris, Buzsaky, Ebanks-Blake, Hayles (Hodges 90), Halmosi, Sawyer, Seip.
Subs: Larrieu, Chadwick, Doumbe, Fallon.
Scorers: Halmosi 49, Norris 62
Bookings: Siep 54, Timar 77
Referee: A M Marriner
Attendance: 10,850 QPR
Text Report

Peter Halmosi and David Norris scored to give Plymouth a first league win since the opening day of the season.
The pair struck early in the second half, Hungarian Halmosi rifling in from the edge of the box and Norris latching on to a Sylvain Ebanks-Blake header.
QPR had chances, notably early on when Luke McCormick denied Stefan Moore and Daniel Nardiello headed on to the bar.
John Gregory's side are mired at the wrong end of the table and McCormick also tipped a late Ben Sahar shot wide. BBC

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