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Monday, December 31, 2007

Warm Watford Farewell to Gavin Mahon

Watford Official Site - MAHON'S LAST GOODBYE
FOLLOWING today's confirmation that Gavin Mahon will join Championship rivals Queens Park Rangers on loan, with a view to a permanent move, the midfielder has spoken to www.watfordfc.com about his time at Vicarage Road.
Mahon signed for the Golden Boys in March 2002 when Gianluca Vialli parted with £150,000 to sign him from Brentford. The tough tackling midfield man has since made over 200 appearances for the club.
Mahon has seen plenty of change during his time in Hertfordshire but first he looks back to when he initially signed for the Hornets.
In an emotional goodbye to the club he said: "I had been speaking to Ray Lewington and he said Watford needed a midfield player so Gianluca brought me in. I had been doing well at Brentford and Steve Coppell was good enough to let me go. It was great to have a high profile manager like Vialli come in for me and it was a dream move really."
Mahon made his debut against Crystal Palace but soon picked up a serious knee injury which saw him sidelined for a matter of months - after his return it was a while until he felt he gave a good account of himself for the Golden Boys.
"When I came back into the side I was playing out of position quite often, filling in at full back, and I don't think the supporters saw the real Gavin Mahon. I was getting a bit of stick but I managed to turn it around and show people what I could do."
Mahon was part of the Hornets side which reached the FA Cup semi final against Southampton at Villa Park and then he was rewarded for his hard work with the 'Player of the Season' award in 2003/04.
But there have been tough times too and he faced a difficult situation early on in his days at the club. With the club in dire straits financially the players were asked to take a wage deferral.
Mahon remembers: "I hadn't been at the club long and the Chairman called us all in to the gym for a meeting. At the time I just wanted the club to be safe, so we all decided to get through it and that saving the club was the priority. Then we went on from there and got to a couple of semi finals which made the club some money."
Things have changed drastically at Vicarage Road in the years since and for the ex-captain, who has enjoyed a promotion with the Golden Boys, expectations have risen dramatically.
"Things have changed considerably; the expectation now is so, so high. Financially the club is much better of. After those seasons of struggle it shows how far the club has come to surprise everyone and get promoted, play in the Premier League and reach another semi final last season.
"During those hard times, there were players coming and going all the time but thankfully I managed to stay."
Mahon has certainly turned out alongside a great deal of players and characters, so who would he pick out?
"It was clear from early on that Ashley Young had lots of ability, he didn't have any fear and you could tell he had a bit of class. Ashley's got two great feet and it's not surprising he's done so well. Jermaine Pennant was the same when he was on loan, you could tell straight away that he was a very good player.
"As for characters and people in the dressing room I would have to say Jordan Stewart. I had heard about Jordan before he came to Watford and I wasn't sure if I would get on with him but he is so bubbly, and you need characters like that in the dressing room. He always has a smile on his face and he is great to have around the place."
Boss Aidy Boothroyd has also had a huge impact on the Birmingham-born midfielder, but Mahon did initially fear he had failed to make the grade with the Yorkshireman.
"In one of Aidy's early games I got injured up at Stoke towards the end of the season. I was a bit worried that he would want to bring his own people in. But that summer we had a chat and he said he wanted me to stay and that I was his type of player.
"When we got back for pre-season we had a meeting and Aidy believed we would get promoted. Speaking to the other guys since then not everyone believed him at first, but slowly but surely during the season the belief started to come and then of course we eventually won promotion at Cardiff.
"I remember dreaming the night before about lifting the trophy and being up on the podium. We wouldn't have done it without Aidy so we lifted it together and it was a great day for everyone and the club."
Since then there has been further drama with a season in the Premier League and another FA Cup semi final appearance at Villa Park providing yet more memories for Mahon.
"The game with Manchester United was a great occasion again with the crowd, the flags and the scarfs, we started well but unfortunately got punished by an excellent team."
This season the Hornets came flying out of the blocks and were soon at the top of the pile, but now with the new year looming the promotion race is at tight as ever - and there will need to be another gigantic push from the Golden Boys.
With Mahon out of contract at the end of the season, Boothroyd had to make one of his toughest decisions to date and call time on his captain's tenure at the club.
Mahon added: "I had a chat with Aidy and he said he wouldn't be renewing my contract. I'm an experienced player and I've been involved in the game a long time so I have to move on. But I've kept on training and travelling with the lads and I've now got a fresh challenge.
"Watford have certainly got enough quality to get promoted. They need to get back to playing the Watford way at a high-tempo and express themselves on the field. We showed at Coventry and Norwich away that we can play football and I'm sure they'll go on to have a successful season.
"I went to the QPR game on Saturday and said my thanks and goodbyes to everyone - there are good players and people at the club.
"It was strange and even more so as Watford were playing my new team. Some of the lads I've played with for a long time now and the newer lads like Jobi [McAnuff] said they wanted to stay in contact with me, so I'm sure I'll be seeing them at some point."
With 2008 looming, it means new starts for Watford Football Club and Gavin Mahon. The club would like to thank Gavin for all his hard work during his time with the Hornets and wish him and his family all the best for the future. So it's goodbye to a great and loyal servant; one that true Watford people will never forget. Watford

Ainsworth on His Feelings about QPR...QPR's Bright Future Under New Owners and Praise For Chairman Paladini

Ealing Gazette/Robert Brennan - -Ainsworth and Rangers Dream of Revolution
GARETH Ainsworth says he wants to be around to enjoy what he expects to be a new phase of glory years at QPR.
New owners Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone saved the club and steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal's investment has seen them dubbed the 'richest club in the world.'
Ainsworth believes it is only a matter of time before the club returns to its former glories and he hopes he can play his part.
"I am excited really and relieved that QPR are out of the dark years now," Ainsworth told the Gazette.
"I have been through it when we got promoted a Sheffield and then we went through administration, we have had guns down here and lost team mates.
"It has been a real soap opera over the last few years but there is some light at the end of the tunnel.
"It feels good to be part of this club, it will be nice to have come through the bad years and hopefully be here for the good years, this club is going higher and higher.
"As players, we can only do our best and let's see what happens. I think this club can go all the way.
"The people who took over are all winners, but we must not get carried away, money is not necessarily going to get you up straight away.You need to build foundations, but I think they know that."
To Ainsworth's caveat should be added the proviso that Mittal is willing to convert his hobby into a serious passion for the club. He is worth anything between £25-50 billion, according to whichever report you believe.
He is said to be the fifth richest man in the world.
But at the moment, it is sonin-law Amit Bhatia who has a role on the board as a director and the stake is 20 per cent.
It is not quite Roman Abramovich mark two just yet, but it can clearly become that if Mittal wants it to.
It is a triumph for chairman Gianni Paladini and his connections.
"He does get some stick now and again, but if it was not for him, I am not sure QPR would still be here," the winger said of Paladini's role in getting some big names on board.
"He managed to get some great investors, he has done everything in his power to keep this club afloat, I know he has his knockers, but I think he has been fantastic for QPR."

Having found himself out of the side at the start of Luigi De Canio's reign, Ainsworth has regained his place. But he knows competition for places in the upcoming months should get tougher with Rangers likely to splash the cash in January.
"You have to be ready for that," he said. "You have to be ready for competition and I think it is going to be good for the club.
"Being one of the more senior players at the club, you ask yourself what is going to happen in January? What is going to happen in the summer?
"All I can do is go out and give my all. I know that Gareth Answorth gives his best and the day that isn't good enough for the manager, then I will find out
"At the moment I am loving the football, I am loving playing. I am still going, still strong as ever.
"This is a great club - a club very close to my heart. It's the longest stint I have ever had at any club "The fans are fantastic and to have seen this club die would have been a tragedy. I would have been gutted and I really mean that.
"If a new player is going to come in and do better than me and take my place, then fair play to him."
The Hoops celebrated their new-found wealth by climbing off the bottom of the Championship thanks to Akos Buzsaky's classy double against Colchester at the weekend.
Buzsaky played just off Dexter Blackstock with Rowan Vine switched to the left side of midfield. Buzsaky in that legendary number 10 jersey pulled off two sublime individual strikes adding to his double at Scunthorpe.
Buzsaky gave Rangers the lead when he curled home on 27 minutes with his left foot from the edge of the box.
He made it 2-0 after the break from a one-two with Dexter Blackstock.
Ainsworth was full of praise for his Hungarian team-mate.
"It was a very hard fought win, we had to win the physical battle before the football could take over.
"The class won through in the end and Akos Buzsaky was brilliant.
"I don't know if he is ever going to score a rubbish goal. He only ever seems to score world class goals every time." Ealing Gazette

QPR's Latest Signing: Watford's Gavin Mahon

[The sadly now-defunct Watford fan site, Blind Stupid and Desperate wrote three positive profiles of Gavin Mahon (in 2003; another in 2005 and a third in 2006).

Midfield general Gavin Mahon has joined Queens Park Rangers on an emergency loan deal from Watford, with a view to a permanent transfer.
The midfielder, who is in line to make his R's debut against Leicester City tomorrow (Tuesday), was an interested spectator in the Vicarage Road press box on Saturday afternoon, as his new charges beat his former employers 4-2.
Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk before his first training session this morning, Mahon expressed his delight at the move, commenting: "It's a very exciting time to be joining this Club.
"There were four or five other Championship sides that showed an interest, but once I'd spoken to the Chairman Gianni Paladini there was never any doubt in my mind that I'd be joining Rangers. "The ambition and drive of the board and the new investors really impressed me and I'm delighted to be here."
Mahon added: "It was a surreal experience on Saturday. When QPR went ahead early on I was happy, but at the same time it was a very difficult situation to be in, having spent so many years at Watford.
"I'm a QPR player now though and I couldn't be more delighted to be here."
After learning his trade with Hereford United and Brentford, Mahon moved to Watford near the end of the ill-fated Gianluca Vialli reign at Vicarage Road.
He played an integral role in the Hornets' upturn in fortunes and was rewarded by being named Player of the Season at the end of the 2003/04 campaign.
He successfully skippered the Club to promotion in May 2006 and made 36 appearances in their one season stay in the top-flight. QPR

GAVIN Mahon will join QPR on loan with a view to making his move permanent in the January transfer window.
The Watford captain departs Vicarage Road having dropped down the pecking order in recent weeks and joins the west Londoners in a bid to revive their languishing season, where they have spent the majority of the campaign in the bottom three.
Mahon was present at the Vic on Saturday to see his new club beat the Hornets 2-4, and after the game he said his farewells to the manager, staff and players.
Watford will receive £200,000 initially for the move as Mahon is still under contract until the end of the season, and there may be a further £50,000 due on further clauses.
The former club captain skippered Watford to victory in the 2006 play-off final after moving to the Hertfordshire club following spells with Hereford United and Brentford.
Mahon will forever be remembered for his willingness to take a pay cut and his part in urging his fellow team mates to do the same during Watford's more difficult times.
Everyone at Watford Football Club would like to wish Gavin and his family well for the future. Watford

QPR OFFICIAL SITE - Mahon Profiled
A solid and reliable midfielder, Gavin Mahon began his professional career at Hereford United, for whom he made 50-plus appearances.
Mahon earned a transfer to Brentford, for a fee of £50,000, in November 1998 and it was at Griffin Park that he firmly established himself in the professional game.
After making 150-plus starts for the Bees, the no-nonsense midfielder moved to Watford near the end of the ill-fated Gianluca Vialli reign at Vicarage Road.
Mahon played an integral role in the Hornets' upturn in fortunes and was rewarded by being named Player of the Season at the end of the 2003/04 campaign.
He successfully skippered the Club to promotion in May 2006 and made 36 appearances in their one season stay in the top-flight. QPR

See Also Mahon/Wikipedia

Snippets: Gillingham's Varying Plans re QPR-Connected Players

Seems that Baidoo will be returning home

Kent Online - Gillingham FC - Stimson all set to re-shape squad
by by Luke Cawdell
GILLINGHAM manager Mark Stimson plans to make big changes to his squad when the transfer window opens again this week.
Stimson has already targeted a number of players but knows he has to shift just as many out as he brings in, to balance the books.
“We need to bring three or four players into the club to help us enjoy the second half of the season and that’s what we’ll be trying to do,” he said.
“You want to try and trim the squad and have about 22 players and then with that 22 you would be carrying three or four young players.
“We are overloaded at the moment with players and I’m sure in the next few weeks some might leave and some might come in.”
Four players, Adam Miller, John Nutter, Dennis Oli and Stuart Thurgood will become permanent Gillingham players on Tuesday when their loan deals expire, while Shabazz Baidoo is expected to return to QPR, after failing to make an impression during his loan spell.
That will allow Stimson to enter the loan market once more and his top transfer target will be a central defender and a striker...
Moving players out could be Stimson’s biggest hurdle as he looks to free up some of his wage bill. Among those not featuring in Stimson’s current plans have been striker Dave Graham, midfielders Steve Lomas, Aaron Brown and Marvin Hamilton. Kelvin Jack will also be looking to end a miserable spell at the club when the transfer window opens.
As yet though the only offer Stimson has received has been for teenage star Luke Freeman.
“I’m sure in the next week to 10 days he’ll be making a decision and then the two clubs can get together and thrash out a deal,” said Stimson.
Leroy Griffiths, who netted Gills’ third goal on Saturday, is hopeful of winning a contract but Stimson has yet to make up his mind on the striker.
He said: “Leroy brings a lot to the place. He brings banter, a buzz and he’s a great character. When he scored that goal the smile on his face and his happiness is a pleasure to see. He hasn’t done himself any harm
.” Kent Online

QPR and the League Table Today...One Year Ago...Two Years Ago

On December 31, 2007, QPR have 27 points from 25 games.

On December 31, 2006, QPR had 27 points from 26 games.

On December 31, 2005, QPR had 32 points from 26 games
(35 points after 27 games)

On December 31, 2004, QPR had 33 point from 26 games
(34 points after 27 games)

League Table Today December 31, 2007
West Brom 25 47
Watford 25 44
Bristol Cty 25 44
Stoke 25 42
Charlton 25 40
Plymouth 25 38
Crystal Pal 25 37
Hull 25 37
Ipswich 25 36
Wolves 25 36
Burnley 25 34
Cardiff 25 33
Barnsley 25 33
Southampton 25 33
Coventry 24 32
Sheff Utd 21 31
Blackpool 25 30
Leicester 25 27
QPR 25 27
Norwich 25 27
Scunthorpe 25 26
Sheff Wed 24 25
Preston 25 24
Colchester 25 22

League Table, One Year Ago -December 30, 2006
Birmingham 26 53
Preston 26 47
Derby 26 47
Southampton 26 44
West Brom 26 43
Colchester 26 43
Stoke 26 43
Cardiff 26 42
Sheff Wed 26 40
Wolves 26 39
Burnley 26 37
Sunderland 26 37
Plymouth 26 35
Coventry 26 34
Norwich 26 34
Ipswich 26 32
Leicester 26 32
Crystl Pal 26 31
Luton 26 30
QPR 26 27
Barnsley 26 26
Hull 26 24
Leeds 26 21
Southend 26 18

League Table, Two Years Ago - December 30, 2005
Reading 26 65
Sheff Utd 26 56??
Leeds 25 45
Watford 26 43
Crystl Pl 24 38
Wolves 26 38
Burnley 26 38
Luton 26 38
Stoke 26 37
Preston 25 35
Cardiff 26 35
Norwich 26 35
QPR 26 32
Southmptn 25 31
Hull 26 30
Coventry 26 29
Ipswich 26 29
Derby 26 28
Plymouth 24 27
Leicester 25 26
Brighton 26 25
Crewe 26 22
Sheff Wed 26 21
Millwall 26 19

QPR Transfer Speculation - Luton's Dean Brill...Akos Buzsaky...Fritz Hall...Daryl Murphy...?

- UPDATED: 2:00 PM

[NB: The Daily Mail also reports that Amoz Buzsaky has signed a 2 1/2 year deal]. Regarding the Luton goalie supposedly wanted by QPR: Luton Profile of Dean Brill and Wikipedia profile

By Damian Spellman, PA Sport
Sunderland striker Daryl Murphy is happy to fight for his place on Wearside but admits his future is up in the air.
The 24-year-old Republic of Ireland international has been linked with a move away from the Stadium of Light during the January transfer window with Coca-Cola Championship strugglers QPR said to be hot on his trail.
Murphy contributed the nerve-settling third goal to his side's priceless 3-1 win over Bolton on Saturday after coming off the bench.
He later revealed he wants to stay at the club, but knows his situation could change over the next few weeks.
Asked if he is looking for a move away, Murphy said: "Not at all.
"I'm a Sunderland player and I have got a good few years on my contract here. But we will have to wait and see.
"Right now, I just want to enjoy the goal and a big win for the team."
Murphy was signed by former boss Mick McCarthy from Waterford for £125,000 in June 2005 and later handed a long-term contract which ties him to the club until 2011. He has started six Barclays Premier League games this season and appeared in as many more as a substitute.
However, he has been played as a wide midfielder at times and Saturday's injury-time strike was his first goal of the season....
Murphy said: "We have got to learn how to kill teams off.
"We were 2-0 up and cruising really, but conceded a bad goal and Bolton put us under a lot of pressure.
"We did not really do ourselves any favours in the second half.
It was always going to be a battle and there were spells in the second half when it was 100mph.
"It would have been nice if the third goal had come sooner, but I am pleased we got it and delighted I am playing a part.
"Obviously, I would like a run of games, but that is down to the manager." Sporting Life

Mirror - A cheap Brill for Rangers
Big-SPENDING QPR are trying to sign keeper Dean Brill from cash-strapped Luton - and want to do a deal with their administrators this week.
Rangers are keen on highly-rated Brill (above), but want him on the cheap as the Kenilworth Road crisis club try to slash their debts.
Hungarian playmaker Akos Buzsaky, 25, has penned a £500,000 two-and-a-half-year deal to become QPR's first permanent signing of their mega-rich F1 regime, having been on loan from Plymouth.
With motor - racing moguls Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore now the top men at Loftus Road, and steel billionaire Lakshmi Mittal adding extra financial muscle, many new faces are set to join in the next month.
Manchester United starlet Kieran Lee has joined on loan and buys in are expected to include Watford's Gavin Mahon and Fitz Hall from Wigan. Mirror

This is London/Mail
Aidy's warning to big-spending Rangers as they line up Connolly, Ephraim and Buzsaky

Queens Park Rangers have been warned that spending millions of pounds on new players during the transfer window will not guarantee them success.
The club will today agree their fifth deal in four days and sources suggest that number could double by the end of next month.
Midfielder Gavin Mahon is set for a £300,000 move from Watford as Rangers manager Luigi De Canio begins a spending spree backed by mega-rich investors the Mittal family, Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore.
Rangers also have agreed to sign Arsenal centre half Matt Connolly for £1million, winger Hogan Ephraim from West Ham for £800,000 and Plymouth midfielder Akos Buzsaky for £500,000.
Manchester United right-back Kieran Lee has joined on a six-month loan deal while other targets include the Birmingham pair Martin Taylor and Rowan Vine, Wigan centre-back Fitz Hall and Argentina-based midfielder Sebastian Rusculleda.
But Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd, whose side were beaten 4-2 by Rangers on Saturday, insists money cannot guarantee success in the Championship.
He said: "I don't envy the money QPR have come into. But it can sometimes cause as many problems as it solves."
Charlton also want to add to their squad with Peterborough's Aaron McLean among their targets. This is London

Sky Sport/Peter O'Rourke - Hall Fitz bill for Rangers
Rangers hope to beat Black Cats to defender

Skysports.com understands Queens Park Rangers are in talks with Wigan defender Fitz Hall.
Big-spending Rangers are believed to have had a bid accepted by Wigan for the giant defender.
Rangers boss Luigi de Canio is eager to bolster his squad in the January transfer window and has made defensive reinforcements his top priority.
Hall has fallen down the pecking order at Wigan this season and has made just one substitute appearance in the Premier League this term.
Sunderland are also interested in the former Crystal Palace ace, but QPR are hoping to steal a march on their rivals by tying up a move in the next few days. Sky

The New QPR: QPR's Watford Victory - Further Reports and Comments


Alternatively,you have the Watford perspective!

Harrow Times/Simon Mail - DeMerit baffled by defeat
JAY DEMERIT described the team's performance at the start of the match on Saturday as "fantastic" despite Watford going on to lose 4-2 at home to QPR.
The Hornets were 3-0 down at half-time and goals from Damien Francis and Danny Shittu could not prevent another defeat at Vicarage Road. The reverse leaves Watford without a win at home for seven matches dating back to October 20.
But the Watford skipper said: "I felt for the first 20 minutes we were fantastic. I don't think they even got in our half. When they did they got a penalty and had the advantage. And unfortunately for us we found ourselves again in that situation where we are down.
At the moment we are finding it hard to come back from those. It's disappointing but there is obviously a long season left to play.
"It was funny. You look at that, we lost 4-2, but we totally dominated the game. They scored their four goals in their first five shots. We bombarded them and created all the chances but they scored the goals. But that's football sometimes.
"Sometimes balls don't bounce your way, and things like that happen. It was kind of an eerie feeling, it's not like we came in and had been played off the park. It was exactly the opposite..." Harrow Times

MIRROR/Ann Gripper - -Rangers grab a great win.. and a rollocking!

Luigi De Canio gave his triumphant Rangers side a telling-off despite seeing them run out convincing winners against promotion contenders Watford.
Rangers may still be in a relegation fight but the investment from Formula One gurus Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore, plus the involvement of billionaire steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, means Rangers have their sights set high.
A flood of new arrivals is expected when the January transfer window opens tomorrow, but De Canio gets results with his current squad. They have now collected 11 points from their last six games.
Rangers stunned Watford by taking a 12th-minute lead from the penalty spot, Martin Rowlands converting after Jordan Stewart felled Dexter Blackstock.
Damion Stewart's header made it two and Rowlands added a third on 40 minutes.
Damien Francis' closerange finish got Watford back in the game seven minutes after the break but substitute Akos Buszaky - on loan from Plymouth but set to officially join in a £500,000 deal in the window - soon replied.
Danny Shittu grabbed a second for Watford six minutes from time but it was scant consolation to a Vicarage Road crowd who have not seen their team win at home since October 20. Rangers have had more than their share of problems this season but now the future looks bright - and Buszaky revealed the demands De Canio is making on his squad.
He said: "The gaffer was a little bit upset afterwards because of the second half.
We lost the second half 2-1 and he doesn't want to concede goals like we did.
"He's a perfectionist. Never satisfied. After the 2-1 defeat at Plymouth he said: 'Well done boys, you did everything to win the game'. Today we won 4-2 against the No.1 team in the Championship and he was upset. We were all surprised. But we do need to learn from our mistakes.
"The players in the squad have the quality and if we keep learning, QPR won't be at the bottom for long.
"The owners have the financial power that makes us really optimistic. But we, the players, have to put the performances in on the pitch."
If any of the other teams at the top of the Championship had shown consistency, Watford would be in a lot more trouble than they are.
As it is, their away form has kept them in the automatic promotion spots, Yes, Rangers scored with almost every chance and had luck on their side in defence, but Watford never looked like a side bidding for a return to the Premier League.
Hornets boss Aidy Boothroyd said: "Obviously we need some additions and the money is there. But I don't think you need to throw the baby out with the bathwater - there's a lot of good things." Mirror

GUARDIAN/Sachin Nakrani De Canio's Rangers revival evokes Mourinho effect
The fans who filled the away end here on Saturday will grimace at the thought but it can no longer be ignored: Queens Park Rangers are the new Chelsea. Geography has linked the west London rivals for generations but now there are other distinctive similarities, notably wealthy ownership and an ambitious foreign manager.
Luigi De Canio has yet to refer to himself as the "Special One" but, judging by the players' assessment of the QPR manager, the Italian certainly has a Jose Mourinho-like quality about him. "He's a perfectionist and he's never satisfied. Today we won 4-2 against one of the top sides in the Championship and he was upset," Akos Buzsaky said. "The gaffer was unhappy that we had lost the second half 2-1."
It is too early to tell if De Canio can affect QPR in the way Mourinho did Chelsea but the signs are encouraging and, as Buzsaky suggests, the man brought in by Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore in October to help revolutionise the club will certainly try to instil ambition and drive into his players.
Those qualities were on show at Watford where QPR secured the most impressive result of De Canio's 13 matches in charge. Against the second-placed side in the division the visitors' attacking ruthlessness brought them a deserved 3-0 lead at half-time. Damien Francis's goal early in the second half raised the possibility of a comeback but that was eventually snuffed out by Buzsaky's effort on 80 minutes.
It was the Hungarian's sixth goal since he signed on a two-month loan deal from Plymouth Argyle. That contract expires tomorrow but the 25-year-old has seen enough promise at QPR, especially after the steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal said he too was investing in the club, to commit his future to them. "I'm on loan until January 1 but then I'm staying here. I've signed a 2½-year contract," said Buzsaky, who signed for Porto in 2001 when Mourinho was the manager there.
QPR now sit 19th in the Championship, a long way from Watford who, after a seventh home league game without a win, are on the slide. The manager, Aidy Boothroyd, is trying to quell talk of a crisis but the captain, Jay DeMerit, admits the club's hopes of going straight back into the Premier League are fragile. "We are a little bit nervous at home - it feels as though there is more pressure," he said. "A team that is near the top of the table should be winning at home. Our jobs aren't safe; we have to play well in order to keep them."
Watford's next home match is on Saturday against Crystal Palace in the third round of the FA Cup. QPR also play a Cup tie that day. Their opponents? Chelsea.
Man of the match Martin Rowlands (Queens Park Rangers) Guardian

Watford 2 Queen's Park Rangers 4: Boothroyd unfazed by 'schoolboy' homework

Aidy Boothroyd's team had just suffered a fifth defeat in their last seven home matches in the Championship, but the Watford manager refused to be downcast. "The fact that we're second to top and have this abysmal home form is a big blessing," he said after Saturday's reverse at Vicarage Road. "I just thank God for our away form."
Indeed, Boothroyd took this performance as evidence that his team have not developed a psychological problem about playing in front of their own fans. Watford attacked with verve throughout, only to be hit regularly on the break. Boothroyd's assessment that the three first-half goals conceded were down to "schoolboy errors" did not do justice to Queen's Park Rangers' slick passing and movement, but there was little to fault about Watford's attacking.
Boothroyd has money to spend in the transfer window but will resist any temptation to make sweeping changes. "As Arsène Wenger says, sometimes you can have £100m to spend and it doesn't make a difference," he said. "I have to be very measured in my thinking for January because we obviously do need some additions to the squad, but I don't think you should throw the baby out with the bathwater.
"I always believe that results follow performances and we need to keep playing like we did in the first half, which is back to what Watford are all about. We put them on the back foot but conceded three very stupid goals. That's disappointing. If we can eradicate that, we'll win a lot more than we lose at home," Boothroyd insisted.
With just two points from the last seven home matches, Watford's form is in stark contrast to Rangers'. Luigi De Canio's men would have been on a six-game unbeaten run had they not conceded an injury-time goal at Plymouth on Boxing Day and this result took them out of the relegation zone.
For long periods here Rangers were at full stretch, but De Canio's deployment of a three-man central defence was a masterstroke and when his team broke forward their fluid passing and running created frequent scoring opportunities. Martin Rowlands, who scored twice and made the other two, epitomised their enterprising play.
Two of the first-half goals were from set pieces – a penalty after Jordan Stewart had brought down Dexter Blackstock and a Damion Stewart near-post header from a corner – but Rowlands' second finished off a lovely move through the middle of the Watford defence. Damien Francis bundled home from close range to give Watford some hope early in the second half, but Akos Buzsaky restored Rangers' lead from another Rowlands pass and Dan Shittu's goal came too late to affect the outcome.
"I think the team is playing better and better," De Canio said afterwards. "Today we took our chances, which meant the losses of concentration we sometimes have didn't cost us."
Bob Malcolm, who is on loan to QPR until tomorrow, was selected despite having been suspended by his club, Derby County, after being charged last week by police with a drink-driving offence. "Derby have suspended Bob from when he returns," De Canio said. "We haven't condemned Bob. We asked him to explain himself and his explanation satisfied us."
Goals: Rowlands (pen, 13) 0-1; Stewart (29) 0-2; Rowlands (40) 0-3; Francis (52) 1-3; Buzsaky (80) 1-4; Shittu (84) 2-4....

TELEGRAPH/STEWART JACKSON - Aidy Boothroyd laments Watford's home form
Watford (0) 2 Queens Park Rangers (3) 4
Watford's hopes of an immediate return to the Premier League are in grave danger. With results in freefall at Vicarage Road, they look bereft of ideas going forward and are suffering a severe lack of confidence.
To be turned over with relative ease by a Queens Park Rangers side working their way up from the bottom of the table was their most damning defeat yet in a run of seven home games without a win.
Aidy Boothroyd's side need to turn a corner soon. And with top scorer Marlon King rumoured to be Premier League-bound once the transfer window opens, things might get worse before they get better. If another team joins West Brom in putting a run of form together, Watford could be left behind, as Boothroyd admitted.
"People are where they are in the league for a reason at this point," he said. "And one thing's for sure: to be second with our abysmal home form is a big plus. If we don't get our home form sorted then we won't be here for much longer."
Psychologically there is clearly a problem among the Watford players, however much the manager denies it. But more tellingly, Boothroyd's dogged refusal to stray from his beloved percentage football means that every team visiting Vicarage Road knows exactly what to expect. There are a number of talented attacking players but, crucially, there are no surprises.

"Coming in at half-time," Boothroyd said, "statistically that's as well as we've started for a very long time. We dominated for long periods in the first half and end up coming in 3-0 down." What does that tell you? Of course the home team dominates - they generally do. The headline statistic is the scoreline.

For all Watford's alleged "dominance", the closest they came to scoring in the first half was a Lee Williamson pot-shot that hit the post. When they did break their duck they had a fortuitous own-goal to thank. This was not exactly a lucky 4-2 win for QPR.

By contrast, Luigi de Canio's players oozed confidence, hunger and no little flair. But the Italian was, apparently, unhappy that Rangers 'lost' the second half. Akos Buzsaky, who rounded off the victory with his sixth goal of the season, said: "The gaffer was a little bit upset afterwards because we lost the second half 2-1. We had won 4-2 so the players were surprised. He's a perfectionist and he's never satisfied."

He must have come close to satisfaction with the first-half performance, however. Rangers took the lead through a Martin Rowlands penalty after Jordan Stewart had clumsily collided with Dexter Blackstock.
The lead was doubled when Damion Stewart lost his marker at a corner to head home and, just to prove Rangers could score a pretty goal, too, Rowlands rounded off an incisive move to give them an unassailable lead.
Watford clawed one back when Zesh Rehman fired a clearance straight into goalkeeper Lee Camp, but Dan Shittu's late strike was a mere consolation as QPR had four by then.
De Canio and Boothroyd both confirmed they would be strengthening their squads in the transfer window. For one manager, the shake-up is rather more urgent. Telegraph

DAILY MAIL/Phil Gradwell - FootballWatford boss Aidy won't plunge through transfer window Watford 2 QPR 4
Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd says he will not be rushed into wholesale changes after his side were booed off at Vicarage Road.
They have not won at home for seven games but Boothroyd insists he will stay calm in the transfer window.
"I've got to be be very measured in my thinking for January because we do need some additions to the squad but I don't intend throwing the baby out with the bath water," he said.
"I've always been supported by the board and we do need to make one or two changes, I know for definite that money is available."
QPR, who included on-loan defender Bob Malcolm even though he was suspended by parent club Derby after being charged with drink driving, lifted themselves out of the relegation zone with this win.
Watford endured a nightmare first half in which QPR took a 3-0 lead with two goals from Martin Rowlands - the first a penalty - and one from Damion Stewart.
They pulled one back just after half-time when Zesh Rehman's clearance cannoned in off Damien Francis. Akos Buzsaky scored a fourth for Rangers before Danny Shittu scored late on for Watford.
Boothroyd could be forgiven for casting an envious glance at his opposite number Luigi De Canio, who will have plenty of money at his disposal thanks to owners Bernie Ecclestone, Flavio Briatore and Lakshmi Mittal.
According to Buzsaky, who has just signed a two-and-a-half-year deal, there is a belief at Loftus Road that Briatore, Ecclestone and Mittal can move the club forward and bring in new faces.
He said: "The owners have the financial power to make us really optimistic. But we are the players who have to put the performances in on the pitch.
"I don't know who's going to come in but of course we've heard a few players are coming here. We need a few players." Daily Mail

Also: Earlier compilation II of Reports and Comments of QPR's Win at Watford

- Compilation I of Reports and Comments of QPR's Win at Watford

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Swedish Profile of QPR's New Ownership and Plans

Note: Article and Translation provided by a very kind poster from Sweden

Dagens Nyheter
Indisk mångmiljardär ska se till att Chelsea får konkurrens

Med den fetaste plånbok fotbollsvärlden skådat löste Roman Abramovitj 2003 Chelseas miljardskuld och köpte ihop ett lag som vann Premier League två år på raken. Men nu får ryssen konkurrens. Den indiske stålmagnaten Lakshmi Mittal, världens femte rikaste person, köpte dagarna före jul in sig lokalrivalen Queen's Park Rangers.

Lakshmi Mittal.

Rangers hemmaplan Loftus Road ligger bara en halvmil från Stamford Bridge.

Man kan se Mittals köp som en ren produktplacering. QPR har egentligen allt som krävs för att bygga ett framgångsrikt fotbollsföretag. Varumärket är fortfarande starkt, trots att laget sladdar i andradivisionen. Laget har kultstämpel. Geografin är perfekt, arenan Loftus Road ligger endast tre tunnelbanestationer från kändistäta Notting Hill Gate, där bland annat Madonna bor, och sex stationer utmed Central Line från Oxford Street.

Att ingen köpt upp den ekonomiskt anfrätta klubben tidigare framstår som en gåta med tanke på de dolda värden klubben har.

Det var först i höstas som något hände. Formel 1-profilerna Bernie Ecclestone och Flavio Briatore tog över klubben för cirka 200 miljoner. Runt 14 miljoner för aktierna och resten för att lösa klubbens skuldbörda. Dessutom lade Ecclestone och Briatore 65 miljoner kronor i klubbens kassa.

QPR:s publicitetsvärde ökade omedelbart i och med att Briatore såg till att förra flickvännen, modellen Naomi Campbell, började gå på matcherna.

Ecclestone å sin sida hade tidigare gjort affärer med Lakshmi Mittal. Han sålde för två år sedan sitt hus i Kensington till Mittal för osannolika 70 miljoner pund (drygt 900 miljoner kronor), vilket är världsrekord för ett hus.

Nu övertalade han sin vän att på nytt göra affär. Men det blev betydligt billigare den här gången.

57-årige Mittal ligger på femte plats på amerikanska affärsmagasinet Forbes lista över världens rikaste. Han uppskattade förmögenhet är cirka 250 miljarder kronor, vilket är nästan dubbelt så mycket som Roman Abramovitjs samlade tillgångar.

Enligt uppgift betalade han motsvarande 21 miljoner kronor för 20 procent av aktiekapitalet i QPR.

Utöver själva köpet ska Mittal också ha placerat en okänd summa på klubbens konto. Sannolikt för att underlätta för spelarinköp.

Målsättningen är klar: QPR, just nu på nittonde plats The Championship, ska snabbt tillbaka till Premier League.

Svärsonen Amit Bhatia tar plats i Rangers styrelse.

Han är väl medveten om att svärfar inte snålar när han väl bestämt sig för att satsa. När Amit gifte sig med sin Vanisha kostade bröllopet 385 miljoner kronor. Då ingick bland annat ett framträdande av Kylie Minouge.

Queen's PR förde fram till slutet av 60-talet förde en tynande tillvaro i skuggan av lokalkonkurrenterna Chelsea, Fulham och Brentford. Men triumfen i Ligacupen 1967, som division tre-lag, blev starten till något nytt. Efter en misslyckad debutsäsong i högsta serien 1968-69 var man tillbaka på allvar 1973-74. Tre år senare var QPR ligatvåa efter ett stjärnspäckat Liverpool.

1982 spelade man FA-cupfinal mot Tottenham, förlorade efter omspel. Och vid två tillfällen i början av 90-talet var QPR faktiskt bästa Londonlag i Premier League. 1992-93 slutade man femma.

Men klubben missköttes och när QPR åkte ur Premier League 1996 rasade ekonomin. Spiken i kistan var köpet av Vinnie Jones två år senare. Han kostade en miljon pund och försvann snabbt som en avlöning till Hollywood och en framgångsrik skådespelarkarriär.

Under en period administrerades klubben av en konkursförvaltare.

Italienaren Gianni Paladini dök några år senare upp som ny ägare. Hans år vid makten präglades av total oreda. Kulmen nåddes för två år sedan då han pistolhotades inne i styrelserummet av en av klubbdirektörerna och polis fick tillkallas.

Nu blåser förändringens vindar. Plågade hemmafans vädrar en ny storhetstid. På måndag öppnar transferfönstret.

Anders Lundqvist, anders.lundqvist@dn.se


Headline: "Indian multibillionaire wants some competition for Chelsea"

"With the fattest wallet the world of football has seen Roman Abramovitj bought Chelsea and cleared their debts in 2003, he then bought a team that won the premiership two years in a row. But now the russian gets some competition. The indian steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal, the world's fifth richest person, bought into local rivals Queen's Park Rangers the days before Christmas."

"Rangers stadium Loftus Road is only 5 kilometers from Stamford Bridge. You can see Mittals buy as a proper product placement. QPR really has everything to build a strong and successfull football business. The trademark is still strong, eventhough they are at the bottom of the second division. The club is cult/has a cult following. The geography is perfect, the stadium Loftus Road is only 3 underground stations from celebrity area Notting Hill Gate, where for example Madonna resides, and six underground stations along the Central Line from Oxford Street.

That no one has bought the economically almost bankrupt club earlier is a mystery, considering the hidden values in the club.

It was first earlier this autumn that something happened. Formula 1 profiles Bernie Ecclestone and Flavio Briatore took the club over for about 200 million swedish kronor. Around 14 million for the shares and the rest to get rid of the clubs debts. On top of that Ecclestone and Briatore put 65 million more into the club (ed. 1 british pound is about 13.7 swedish kronor).

The newsworthiness of the club went up at once with Briatore bringing his ex-girlfriend and super model Naomi Campbell to the matches.

Ecclestone, on his part, had earlier made business with Lakshmi Mittal. Two years ago he sold his house in Kensington to Mittal for unbelievable 70 million pounds (more than 900 million kronor), which is world record for a house.

Now he convinced his friend to do business again. This time it was much cheaper for Mittal.

57-year old Mittal is 5th on Forbes magazines list of the worlds richest. His fortune is about 250 billion kronor, which is almost twice as much as Roman Abramovitj has.

According to our sources he now payed 21 million kronor for 20% in QPR. On top of this he supposed to have invested an unknown sum into the club. Presumably to make it easier to buy some players.

The goal is clear: QPR, now placed 19th in the Championship, are going to get back to the Premier league.

Son in law Amit Bhatia takes a seat on the Rangers board. He is well aware of his father in laws spending habits, when he has set his mind to something. When Amit married his Vanisha the cost was 385 million kronor and among other thing there was a performance by Kylie Minouge.

Queen's PR had an anonomys existence until the late 60-ies in the shadow of local competitors Chelsea, Fulham and Brentford. But the triumph in the League cup in 1967, as a 3rd division team, was the start of something new. After failing as debutants in the highest league 1968-69, they were back for real in 73-74. Three years later QPR were second only to Liverpool who had a team of stars.

1982 they played the FA-cup final agianst Tottenham, they lost after replay. And twice in the early 90-ies they were in fact the top London club. 1992-93 they finished 5th in the Premier league.

But the club was mismanaged and whe QPR were relegated in 1996 the economy broke down. The nail in the coffin was the buy of Vinnie Jones two years later. He cost one million pound and disappeared fast as a wage/pay (/payday?) to Hollywood for a successfull acting career.

During one point in time the club was in administration. The italian Gianni Paladini came on as a new owner a couple of years later. His years in power was chaos. Two years ago he was threatend by gunpoint by one of the club directors, police had to be called in.

Now the winds of change are blowing. Hard done by home fans are now waiting for a new era of success. On monday the transfer window opens.

Article by: Anders Lundqvist"

Thanks again to my Swedish contributor!

Argentina's Rusculleda Coming to QPR?

Rumours about QPR signing an Argentinean have been hinted at on the QPR messageboards over the past couple of weeks.

QPR are on the verge of signing Argentinian midfielder Sebastian Rusculleda, according to the player's agent.
Rangers boss Luigi De Canio is planning a January spending spree with the cash promised from the recent investment of the billionaire Mittal family.
And agent Norberto Arismendi claims 22-year-old Rusculleda, who currently plays for Argentine club Tigre, is set to be among the first new faces through the entrance doors at Loftus Road.
"We will meet QPR officials and set a financial agreement," Arismendi told Clarin newspaper.
"We will also meet the Tigre officials soon to negotiate his departure. I don't think there will be any problems as they are good people and they gave Sebastian the opportunity to play and prove himself." Sporting Life

Looking to Leicester

Next: It's Ian Holloway's Leicester at Loftus Road, New Years Day, with another QPR victory certainly not out of the question! (If QPR do win, it will be only the second time this season that they have won two consecutive games.) On Saturday, Leicester were leading at home to Charlton, only to concede another late goal - sounds familiar! Leicester ending up in a 1-1 draw.

Leicester are currently once place above QPR with the same number of points, but Leicester have the superior goal difference. Leicester's Away record is: 2 wins - 7 draws - 3 defeats. Scored 11; conceded 13. (QPR's home record is 3 wins - 4 draws - 5defeats. Scored 9. Conceded 14.) See also Leicester Results this season and Leicester's Squad
This is Local London/Simon Mail - Buszaky looks to Leicester
AKOS Buzsaky quickly turned his attention to the crucial match with Leicester after his goal helped QPR beat Watford 4-2.
The Hungarian came off the bench to hit Rangers' last goal in the win yesterday but claims the match on New Year's Day against the Foxes is more important.
He was surprisingly rested for the clash but still managed to hit his sixth goal of the season for the club in the victory.
Buzsaky said: "The manager told me I was being rested because the Leicester game is very important. I was just happy to see the team get the win.
"The problem we have had is against teams around us. So we have to win the Leicester match to prove we are better than our current league position." This is Local London

Ian Holloway - Leicester Official Site
Ian Holloway said he couldn't have asked for anymore from his players following the 1-1 draw with Charlton Athletic at the Walkers Stadium on Saturday.
The Foxes had gone into the game looking to record back-to-back home wins for the first time since August 2006.
And it had looked a distinct possibility when they took the lead in the 78th minute - Stephen Clemence heading home a Matty Fryatt cross.
But a last minute goal from former City defender Paddy McCarthy meant that it was honours even on the day - leaving Holloway to reflect on what might have been.
He said: "I think that was a brilliant performance against one of the so called big teams in this division. I thought that we were terrific in the second half.
"We were a little bit nervous in the first half. We have got a couple of young gentlemen out there who need a little bit more confidence, but in the end I couldn't have asked for anymore than they gave me.
"We were just one header and one punch from getting a fantastic double victory.
"There is a transition of play when you defend and when you attack. We got that slightly wrong at the end and that cost us.
"We have got to learn how to shut up shop and get what we deserve.
"We got rocked early on and we had to bring on two relatively inexperienced lads. That knocked us a little bit because it ruined our balance.
"People have to remember that I am asking players to play out of position because of the injuries and the suspensions that we have actually got.
"One or two things were said at half time and I thought that the response I got was terrific. We have actually taken the game to Charlton and in the end we were desperately unlucky not to have got all three points.
"We have been beaten by an overhead kick from a centre half that used to play here. How many times is he ever going to do that again? It's really frustrating and the tide has got to turn.
"If we could have got three points again today then that would have made a big difference to us, but I can't ask for anymore than what the players have given me over the last three games. They have worked their socks off." Leicester

QPR's Win at Watford - Compilation of Match Reports

SUNDAY TIMES/Richard Lewis - Woe for Watford Watford 2 QPR 4
He is 13 matches into his reign at Queens Park Rangers and Luigi De Canio is fast proving that Italians who do not speak English are capable of translating their ideas. QPR made it three wins from five games with a superb victory against a Watford team who look a shadow of the side that was set for Championship domination.
At the end of October, when De Canio took over as manager, the mission statement was straightforward: ensure survival. The team was bottom of the table and heading in only one direction. The prospect of outclassing leaders Watford was probably a distant hope, such had been the start that Aidy Boothroyd’s team made to the season.
Watford, relegated from the Premier League last season, were eight points clear at the top and primed for an instant return to the top flight. How times change. Watford were a jumble of confusion yesterday as QPR took them apart in the first half.
Having not won at home since October 20, and with leading scorer Marlon King relegated to the bench, strikers Darius Henderson and Nathan Ellington were making no impression. The fact that Watford have an outstanding away record of eight victories fails to mirror what is happening at Vicarage Road. Beforehand Boothroyd said Rangers would arrive here fancying their chances, and how right he was.
They played with ease as Watford toiled with the type of pressure that arises after six matches without winning at home. By half-time, make that seven, after an extraordinary 45 minutes where QPR showed just how revitalised they are.
QPR took the lead in the 13th minute after Jordan Stewart, the Watford left-back, brought down Dexter Blackstock in the area. Stewart did not even receive a yellow card for a foul that might have brought a red, but from the penalty, Martin Rowlands sent Richard Lee the wrong way.
Watford did little to show much intent and in the 29th minute QPR increased their lead. Rowlands fired in a corner from the left, which centre-half Damion Stewart met with a superb header to score.
QPR were hardly playing with the concerns of a team in trouble and they moved 3-0 in front in the 39th minute as Rowlands found space inside the left edge of the area to score with a low shot that gave Lee no chance.
At the break, Watford’s players left the pitch to boos and jeers from fans and Boothroyd responded by replacing centre-half Matt Jackson with Danny Shittu. Indeed, whatever Boothroyd had said at the break breathed fresh life into his side and within seven minutes they had scored. An outswinging corner from the right by Lee Williamson eventually made it over the line. Though Francis was credited with it, the ball seemed to have hit goalkeeper Lee Camp as his defender Damion Stewart tried to clear.
Watford were back, not that they were anywhere near showing signs of salvaging much from this match. Camp was forced to make a fine save to turn away shot from Francis but nine minutes from time Rangers moved further in front when Rowlands found Arkos Buzsaky, who took his time to score from inside the six-yard box.
Watford snatched a second as Shittu fired home from close range, yet Boothroyd was left once more wondering just what has gone wrong with his side.
Star man: Martin Rowlands (QPR)
Player ratings. Watford: Lee 5, Doyley 5 (O’Toole 79min), Demerit 4, Jackson 4 (Shittu ht, 5), Stewart 5, Smith 5, Williamson 5, Francis 5, McAnuff 5, Henderson 4, Ellington 5 (King 68min)
QPR: Camp 6, Barker 6, Rehman 6, Stewart 6, Malcolm 6, Bolder 7, Rowlands 8, Ainsworth 6 (Vine 64min), Balanta 7 (Buzsaky 73min), Nygaard 7 (Walton 90min), Blackstock 6
Scorers: Watford: Francis 52, Shittu 84
QPR: Rowlands 13 pen, 40, Stewart 29, Buzsaky 80
Referee: C Foy Attendance: 18,698 The Times

INDEPENDENT/Paul Newman - Watford 2 QPR 4: Rampaging Rowlands puts the skids under Watford
They say the table never lies, but the Championship chart was looking conspicuously economical with the truth last night. This match featured teams which began the day in second and 23rd places and it ended with the promotion contenders suffering an embarrassing defeat.
For Watford it was an all too familiar story. Since mid-October they have lost five and drawn two matches at Vicarage Road and early hopes that Aidy Boothroyd's team could make an immediate return to the Premier League are looking over-optimistic. Were it not for their away displays, this would surely be relegation form.
Rangers provide a mirror image. Their place among the strugglers is hardly a fair reflection of their form, a four-match unbeaten run having been ended on Boxing Day only by Plymouth's injury-time winner. The arrival of Luigi De Canio as first-team coach two months ago has transformed their fortunes. The Italian believes in adapting tactics and formations to the opposition and his game plan here worked a treat. Bob Malcolm, Damion Stewart and Zesh Rehman formed a three-man defence and with Gareth Ainsworth and Chris Barker as wing backs Rangers took full advantage of their superior numbers in midfield. Martin Rowlands in particular broke forward to devastating effect.
There was little wrong with Watford's play in the final third, where they regularly had the Rangers defence at full stretch, but elsewhere, in the face of such slick passing and movement, they looked cumbersome.
There had appeared little wrong, either, with Watford's confidence in the opening exchanges, but everything changed after 12 minutes when Jordan Stewart brought down Dexter Blackstock as the Rangers striker raced into the penalty area. Stewart was perhaps lucky to escape any punishment other than a penalty, which Rowlands converted.
After 28 minutes, Rangers scored again, Damion Stewart heading home Rowlands' corner at the near post. Rowlands was involved in most of Rangers' best work and the midfielder was rewarded with the best goal of the game six minutes before the break. Blackstock flicked on Adam Bolder's pass and Rowlands, breaking into the area, scored with a smart shot.
If replacing one defender, Matt Jackson, with another, Dan Shittu, smacked of rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, Boothroyd's faith in his forwards was rewarded within six minutes of the restart as Watford pulled a goal back, Damien Francis bundling the ball home after his header had caused confusion in the Rangers defence.
There could be no faulting Watford's spirit for the rest of the match, but Rangers defended well and the suspicion that they still had something up their sleeves was confirmed after 79 minutes. Watford had just taken off Lloyd Doyley and Akos Buzsaky took advantage of the space to drive home yet another telling pass by Rowlands. Shittu capitalised on a loose ball five minutes later to score but it was scant consolation.
De Canio was delighted with his team's display, while Boothroyd was happy with his team's attacking play. However the Watford manager was unhappy about the "schoolboy errors" that he felt had been his team's downfall and he will have to seek defensive reinforcements in the transfer window. Independent

The OBSERVER/Jason Tomas - Rowlands leads rout of Watford
Watford's habit of slipping up at home continued in particularly embarrassing fashion as they slumped to a 4-2 defeat against QPR. It increased their run of Vicarage Road games without a win to seven, and they have taken only two points from these fixtures.
It seems difficult to believe that Watford were nine points ahead at the top a couple of months ago. Now, following West Bromwich Albion's 5-0 demolition job on Scunthorpe, they trail the West Midlands club by three points.
The start of Watford's latest home downfall came after 13 minutes, when Jordan Stewart brought down Dexter Blackstock in the penalty area and Martin Rowlands converted the spot-kick. Damion Stewart then headed in a Rowlands corner and Rowlands scored his second goal just before half time. Damien Francis pulled one back, but Akos Buzsaky restored QPR's three-goal advantage. Watford's second goal came from Danny Shittu. QPR's win was the first time this season that they have scored more than twice and pushed them from 23rd to 19th in the table. Observer


Watford's Vicarage Road meltdown continued as the QPR revival rolled on to pile the pressure on Aidy Boothroyd's misfiring promotion chasers.
While Luigi De Canio has guided his basement battlers on a path to safety, there seems no end to the Hornets' misery in front of their home fans as their bid to return to the Premier League was dealt another blow.
Akos Buzsaky killed off Watford's hopes of a late fightback when he came off the bench to put the game out of reach. But it was man-of-the-match Martin Rowlands who was the real hero with two goals and a hand in both his side's other strikes.
It was Rowlands who set up Buzsaky to settle the contest with Rangers' fourth goal 10 minutes from time. Watford were already beaten when Danny Shittu smashed home a late consolation that reduced the embarrassment.
With just two points out of 18 in their previous six home matches, Watford clearly have issues playing at home - and the mayhem continued in a disastrous first half against Rangers.
Rowlands completed a perfect opening 45 minutes for the men from Loftus Road when he lashed home a peach of a goal to make it 3-0 at the break - his clinical finish wrapping up a slick move that carved Watford open with ease.
Full credit to Rangers for playing creative football, but the Hornets struggled to recover from conceding an early penalty that looked harsh.
Chris Foy immediately pointed to the spot when Jordan Stewart's shoulder challenge on Dexter Blackstock was deemed over-aggressive. And Rowlands put Rangers ahead when he coolly sent Richard Lee the wrong way.
Rowlands had a hand in just about everything the visitors created before the interval and his near-post corner served up the second goal for Damion Stewart to head home on 29 minutes.
Watford's woes continued with a series of misses at the end of the half, Lee Williamson hitting the post and Jobi McAnuff's vicious cross stabbed wide by Darius Henderson.
It was a different Watford that emerged after Boothroyd's half-time team talk, with Shittu replacing Matt Jackson at the back and the Hornets buzzing up front.
But Watford failed to maximise the pressure that saw them get off the mark with a 52ndminute header from Damien Francis after an attempted clearance by Zesh Rehman.
Marlon King missed a chance to reduce the arrears further when he came off the bench and blasted over before McAnuff had a shot well saved by Lee Camp.
Lee 6; Doyley 6 (O'Toole 5), De-Merit 6, Jackson 5 (Shittu 5), Stewart 6; Smith 6 Williamson 6, Francis 6, McAnuff 7; Henderson 6, Ellington 6 (King 5).
Manager Boothroyd 6
Camp 6; Malcolm 6, Stewart 7, Rehman 6, Barker 6; Ainsworth 6 (Vine 5), Bolder 7, ROWLANDS 8, Balanta 6 (Buzsaky 6); Blackstock 6, Nygaard 6 (Walton 5).
Manager De Canio 7
Referee C Foy 6
MAN OF THE MATCH MARTIN ROWLANDS Involved in everything Sunday Mirror

SUNDAY PEOPLE/Ann Gripper - No home comfort for Aidy - RANGERS PILE ON AGONY
Bob Malcolm will hope for a better defence than leaky Watford showed yesterday when he faces drink-drive charges in the new year.
The on-loan defender was suspended by Derby after being arrested on the M1 on Thursday but was included in the Rangers team which moved back out of the drop zone.
Without a home win since beating Hull on October 20, Aidy Boothroyd's problems at Vicarage Road are now far more than a blip.
Already three behind by half-time after what gaffer Boothroyd called "schoolboy" errors, Watford showed more fight after the break.
But the home side never looked like matching their Boxing Day comeback against Cardiff when they managed a late, late leveller.
Rangers boss Luigi De Canio had no doubts about sticking with Malcolm.
He said: "Derby have suspended Bob for when he returns to Derby.
"We haven't condemned Bob - we asked him to explain himself.
"We have never spoken about whether he will stay on when his loan is up - we will discuss that with the board after January 1."
De Canio, who is set to invest some of QPR's new riches in January, is delighted with the improvement he has seen in the current squad.
He said: "Today we managed to transform that extra chance we were given so those losses of attention we sometimes have didn't cost us as much as usual."

The Hornets conceded a penalty after 12 minuteswhich was converted by Martin Rowlands after Dexter Blackstock had fallen under pressure from Jordan Stewart.
And things got steadily worse as centre-half Damion Stewart glanced in a corner after 17 minutes to double the lead then Rowlands fired home from 12 yards to make it three.
Watford finally rattled Rangers at the back with Lee Williamson hitting a post before half-time.
The Hornets pulled back a goal after 52 minutes when Zesh Rehman cleared Damien Francis's header straight back to him for the midfielder to finish at the second attempt.
Substitute Marlon King went close and Rangers keeper Lee Camp saved a stinging McAnuff drive, but sub Akos Buszaky killed off Watford as he rounded Lee before firing in.
Danny Shittu pounced on a Darius Henderson knock down in the 84th minute to give the scoreline a bit more respectability but Watford had given themselves too much to do.
Despite the result, Boothroyd insisted he was pleased with his side's performance - bar the problems at the back.
He said: "There was no shouting or ranting and raving. I've never been in a position where we're 3-0 down and had to come back.
"Statistically, that's the best we've started for a long time.We dominated for long periods in the first half and came in 3-0 down because we made basic defensive errors.
"To concede two set-plays, one an error leading to a penalty and the other with somebody losing their marker, is schoolboy stuff.
"Before today I might have thought there was a psychological problem with playing at home but I don't think there is,
"The attitude, application and what we've worked on in training is all there. But it's defensive individual errors you can't legislate for."
Watford: Lee 6 - Doyley 5 (O'Toole, 80mins), DeMerit 5, Jackson 5 (Shittu, 45mins, 6), Stewart 5 - Smith 6, Williamson 6, *FRANCIS 7, McAnuff 7 - Henderson 5, Ellington 6 (King, 68mins, 6)
Qpr: Camp 7 - Malcolm 6, Stewart 7, Rehman 6, Barker 6 - Ainsworth 7 (Vine, 63mins, 6), Bolder 6, *ROWLANDS 7, Balanta 6 (Buzsaky, 73mins) - Nygaard 6 (Walton, 90mins), Blackstock 7. Ref: C Foy 6. People

Adam Bolder heaped praise on team-mate Martin Rowlands following the midfielder's deadly double against Watford.
Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk at the final whistle, the R's skipper said: "Rowly was different class.
"He's performed to a consistently high level all season long and he was immense for us again today.
"It's the first time in a while that he's played in the middle of the park and he shone from the first whistle to the last."
With his tongue firmly in his cheek, Bolder added: "It obviously helps that I'm in there alongside him to do all his running, but he scored two and made two, so I've got no complaints."
Bolder also reserved special praise for the 2000-plus R's fans that made the short trip to Hertfordshire, commenting: "The fans were excellent.
"They sung their hearts out and we were just delighted to be able to celebrate with them at the final whistle.
"Derby victories mean an awful lot for the spectators, as well as the players, and we knew we had a job to do after our late defeat to Plymouth on Boxing Day." QPR

This is Local London/Kevin Affleck - Shittu makes his point
AIDY BOOTHROYD defended his decision to name Dan Shittu on the bench yesterday (Saturday).
Shittu helped Watford salvage a point against Cardiff on Boxing Day and many fans expected him to be recalled against his former club.
The mountainous defender, who has not always seen eye to eye with the manager, was eventually summoned into the action at half-time after Matt Jackson struggled to cope with two matches in three days. Jackson was beaten in the air for QPR's second goal and his ageing legs were exposed by the movement of the visiting forwards.
Shittu helped shore things up at the back and once again provided a focal point in attack, lashing home his fifth of the season to give the scoreline some respectability.
"I didn't pick him and that's my job to decide the right team to pick," countered Boothroyd. "I thought Matt Jackson's organisation might have helped. Danny has been out of sorts but then he came on and did very well."
Surprisingly, Boothroyd was not too downcast after a fifth defeat in seven home matches and does not appear to be alarmed as some fans by the manner of his side's performances.
"The attitude, application and what we have worked on in training is all there," he said. "But we expect defensive jobs to be done and they weren't." This is Local London

ALSO - EARLIER COMPILATION: "QPR's Watford Victory: Reports and Comments"

Saturday, December 29, 2007

QPR's Watford Victory: Reports and Comments

QPR took a 3-0 Half-time lead and ended up winning 4-2 at Watford. QPR moved out of the bottom three (and 11 points out of a playoff spot!)
Blackpool 25 30
Leicester 25 27
QPR 25 27
Norwich 25 27
Scunthorpe 25 26
Sheff Wed 23 25
Preston 25 24
Colchester 25 22
League Table

Watford manager Adrian Boothroyd blamed his side's poor defending for prolonging their miserable home record against QPR.
Martin Rowlands - with a brace - Damion Stewart and Akos Buzsaky fired lowly Rangers to an amazing 4-2 win at Vicarage Road.
The Hornets, who were nine points clear at the top of the Championship a couple of months ago, are still without a home victory since October 20 and have slipped three points behind leaders West Brom.
But Boothroyd dismissed suggestions his side are suffering a bout of stage fright performing in front of their own fans.
"We dominated for long periods in the first half and yet ended up 3-0 down at half-time," he said.
"I was pleased with our attacking play but not some of the defending. It was schoolboy stuff."
The Hornets self-destructed in spectacular fashion from the moment Jordan Stewart upended Dexter Blackstock to concede a 13th-minute penalty which Rowlands converted.
Stewart headed his fourth goal of the season on the half hour, and Rowlands doubled his tally when he lashed the ball home from 10 yards to put Rangers three up five minutes before half-time.
Damien Francis struck from close range after the break as Boothroyd's men briefly threatened a second-half comeback.
But substitute Buzsaky stole in and rounded Richard Lee to hit a fourth for the visitors before Rangers old boy Danny Shittu's late goal completed the scoring.
"There was no ranting or raving at half-time, we just talked about what we had to do to try to get back into it," added Boothroyd.
"We got back into it and then left ourselves open.
"I don't think it's psychological. I might have done before today but the attitude and application is all there. But individual defensive errors you just can't legislate for."

[QPR's De Canio]
While Watford have won just three of their last 12 games, the future looks bright for Rangers after pocketing three more three points to climb out of the relegation zone ahead of their anticipated spree in the January sales.
But manager Luigi De Canio preferred to dwell on his current batch of players, rather than any potential raft of new signings.
"I think the team is playing better and better. Today we managed to take our chances which meant the losses of concentration we sometimes have didn't cost us," said the Italian.
"In the dressing room we only talk about our opponents, not what might happen tomorrow or in January.
"Everyone needs to do his duty, that is a sign of maturity and each one of these players has that."
De Canio sprung a surprise by sticking with on-loan defender Bob Malcolm, who was on Friday suspended by parent club Derby over a drink-drive charge.
Malcolm's spell with Rangers comes to an end on New Year's Day, when he will have to head back to Pride Park.
"Derby have suspended Bob from when he returns," added De Canio.
"We haven't condemned Bob. We asked him to explain himself and his explanation satisfied us."
Asked if he would attempt to extend the Scot's stint at Loftus Road, De Canio said: "We will discuss that after January 1." Sporting Life

Rangers ran riot at Vicarage Road, as goals from Martin Rowlands (2), Damion Stewart and Akos Buzsaky clinched a stunning 4-2 victory against Championship front-runners Watford.
The R's stormed into a three goal lead at the break.
Rowlands opened the scoring from the spot, before he turned provider to set up Stewart who headed home to make it two.
The outstanding Rowlands capped a cameo individual display with a third from Angelo Balanta's threaded through ball, and although a Lee Camp own goal temporarily allowed the Hornets back into the tie early in the second period, substitute Akos Buzsaky guaranteed the win eight minutes from time.
Remarkably, there was still time for R's old-boy Danny Shittu to notch a late second for the Hornets, but it was Rangers' day - and how!
R's First Team coach Luigi De Canio made wholesale changes for the trip to Vicarage Road.
Under-18 hot-shot Balanta came in for his full first team debut, while Dexter Blackstock, Marc Nygaard and Stewart all returned to the starting XI.
Rowan Vine, Buzsaky and Simon Walton all dropped to the bench, while Mikele Leigertwood was absent, at the start of his four match ban.
Watford boss Adrian Boothroyd left Marlon King out of the starting line-up, while former R's defender Shittu also had to make do with a place on the substitutes' bench.
In a frantic opening, it was Watford who spurned the first opportunity in the fourth minute.
Nathan Ellington rose unmarked at the back post to meet Jobi McAnuff's cross, but his header lacked power and direction, as it trickled past Lee Camp's left hand upright.
Despite the Hornets' fast start, it was Rangers who opened the scoring in the 13th minute, after referee Mr Foy awarded a penalty.
Balanta's fine through ball landed in front of Blackstock, who was sent crashing to ground by Jordan Stewart inside the box.
Rowlands stepped up from 12-yards and made no mistake, sending Richard Lee the wrong way, for his third goal of the campaign.
Watford should have been on level terms six minutes later though, only for Ellington to blast high and wide from eight yards out.
At the other end, Blackstock's scuffed volley was tipped wide by Lee, but there was nothing the home custodian could do to prevent the visitors from doubling their advantage from the resultant corner.
Rowlands' set-piece was flighted towards the edge of the six-yard box and Stewart rose unchallenged to glance his header in off the underside of the bar.
The home faithful were silenced, but the same could not be said for the supporters in the away end, who immediately broke into a vocal rendition of "2-0 to the Billionaires."
Lloyd Doyley was the recipient of one of the craziest bookings of the season as the half reached its conclusion.
The Hornets full-back appeared to hear a whistle as he retrieved possession inside his own half and inexplicably picked the ball up. Mr Foy had very little choice but to book the player, who was perhaps lucky to stay on the park, having thrown the ball away too.
Rangers finished the half with a flourish, as Rowlands bagged his second of the match to sensationally put the R's 3-0 up at the break.
The goal had class stamped all over it, as Adam Bolder, Nygaard and the tricky Balanta exchanged intricate passes deep inside the Watford half, before Rowlands took one touch to control the ball and then thrashed a fearsome left footed drive past the sprawling Lee.
Undeterred, the Hornets came within a lick of paint of pulling a goal back in the 43rd minute, when Lee Williamson smashed a 20-yard strike off the post, before Camp smothered the ball to safety.
Buoyed by the introduction of Shittu at the break, Watford pulled a goal back in rather bizarre circumstances in the 52nd minute.
The former R's defender rose tallest to meet McAnuff's corner and as Zesh Rehman attempted to hack the ball off the line, the unfortunate Camp saw the ball ricochet off his foot and into the back of the net.
Rowlands' performance went from strength to strength as the half progressed, with the combative midfielder leading by example alongside the ever-efficient Bolder.
De Canio made his first change of the afternoon soon after, as Vine replaced Gareth Ainsworth, whose first half head injury led to him wearing a Terry Butcher style bandage for his hour long stint.
Boothroyd responded by throwing on King, and the master poacher nearly made an immediate impact.
Darius Henderson's lay-off fell invitingly for the Watford number nine, who fired a rising shot inches over the angle of post and crossbar.
Camp was in the right place, at the right time, to deny King again in the 78th minute, before Buzsaky put the icing on the cake for the R's with a fourth goal three minutes later.
A neat passing move eventually saw the ball bounce to Rowlands, who played in the Magical Magyar.
Buzsaky's sublime close control saw him drag the ball past Lee, before he calmly slotted the ball home from an acute angle.
Shittu ensured a nervy finale when he volleyed the ball past the exposed Camp to make it 4-2, but it mattered little, as the R's clinched a handsome away victory, at the home of one of their nearest rivals.
Watford: Lee, Jackson (Shittu 46), Stewart, DeMerit, Francis, Henderson, McAnuff, Doyley (O'Toole 80), Williamson, Ellington (King 69), Smith.
Subs: Mariappa, Ainsworth.
Scorers: Camp (o.g) 52, Shittu 85
Bookings: Doyley 34, Smith 75
Red Cards:
QPR: Camp, Barker, Stewart, Bolder, Blackstock, Ainsworth (Vine 63), Rowlands, Malcolm, Rehman, Nygaard (Walton 92), Balanta (Buzsaky 74).
Subs: Cole, Moore.
Scorers: Rowlands 13 (pen) & 40, Stewart 29, Buzsaky 82
Bookings: Nygaard 44, Barker 60, Bolder 87
Red Cards:
Referee: Mr C Foy
Attendance: 18, 698

De Canio's Official Site Comments - SMILES BETTER!
Luigi De Canio praised the R's fighting spirit and determination following the 4-2 victory against high-flying Watford.
Goals from Martin Rowlands (2), Damion Stewart and Akos Buzsaky clinched a stunning win for the R's on their travels.
"I'm very proud of the players. There is still more to come from this group, but this is a significant victory," he told www.qpr.co.uk.
"The result reflected the performance and that hasn't necessarily always been the case in recent weeks, when we've not had the rub of the green with some big decisions.
"We've been playing a lot better in recent weeks and this was a result we'd been threatening.
"The players are responding to what I am trying to install here and we're progressing."
De Canio also shed some light on potential new arrivals in the January transfer window, commenting: "We will be investing in new players in January.
"There are still certain areas of the side that need strengthening and we will do everything we can to bring players in that will improve the playing personnel." QPR

SPORTING LIFE/PA Sport - Andy Sims - Watford 2 QPR 4
Watford's woeful home form plumbed new depths as Martin Rowlands, Damion Stewart and Akos Buzsaky fired lowly QPR to an amazing win at Vicarage Road.
The Hornets, who were nine points clear at the top of the Championship a couple of months ago, are now without a home win since October 20.
And Adrian Boothroyd's men self-destructed again in spectacular fashion from the moment they conceded an early penalty which Rowlands converted.
Stewart headed home his fourth goal of the season on the half-hour, and Rowlands doubled his tally to put Rangers 3-0 up before half-time.
Damien Francis struck after the break as the Hornets briefly threatened a second-half comeback, but substitute Buzsaky hit a fourth for the visitors before Danny Shittu's late goal.
Watford have now won just three of their last 12 games and are in danger of slipping off the pace.
For Rangers, the future looks bright after gaining another three points ahead of their anticipated spree in the January sales.
Boothroyd opted to drop top-scorer Marlon King to the bench, while Rangers chief Luigi De Canio left out Buzsaky in favour of 17-year-old Angelo Balanta.
De Canio sprung a further surprise by sticking with on-loan defender Bob Malcolm, despite the Scot being suspended by parent club Derby over a drink-drive charge.
Watford gifted Rangers a 13th-minute lead. Nathan Ellington had come close to putting the hosts ahead with an early header, but they went behind when Balanta's fine cross-field pass sent Dexter Blackstock charging towards goal, only to be felled by Jordan Stewart in the area.
Referee Chris Foy had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Rowlands stepped up to blast the penalty past Hornets keeper Richard Lee.
The visitors struck again in the 29th minute after Blackstock's snap-shot had been palmed behind by Lee.
Stewart met Rowlands' corner with a firm header which flew past Lee and in off the underside of the crossbar.
With Watford's frustration mounting, Lloyd Doyley earned a bizarre booking when he appeared to deliberately handle the ball inside the centre-circle.
And the shellshocked hosts found themselves three down when Rowlands burst into the area and fired past the helpless Lee in the 40th minute.
Lee Williamson rattled the post as Watford staged something of a rally, but they trudged off to a chorus of boos at the interval.
The comeback looked set to begin in earnest, however, when Francis finished from close range after his initial header had been blocked on the line seven minutes into the second half.
Tommy Smith and Darius Henderson shot wide as Watford poured forward before Boothroyd threw on King.
The 10-goal striker was immediately in the thick of the action, firing narrowly over from the edge of the area.
But with Watford leaving gaps at the back, substitute Buzsaky stole in and rounded Lee before firing home an angled drive.
Rangers old boy Shittu poked in a late second for Watford but Boothroyd's jittery side were beaten. Sporting Life

AIDY Boothroyd struggled to hide his frustration after the final whistle as his side extended their winless streak at home to seven games.
Three sucker punches in the first half from a struggling Queens Park Rangers side were enough to put the Hornets out of sight, despite a second half rally from the home team.
"Another home defeat is disappointing," said Aidy, "yet despite the result I think in many ways there were a lot of bright spots there. The stats from the first half alone say that QPR got into our half four times and scored three times.
"Massive domination for us in the first half saw us start as well as we have this season, but go on to find ourselves three nil down at half-time because we just can't defend, because we don't do the fundamentals well and we get caught out with a simple run in between the centre back and the left back; that in itself is disappointing.
Nathan Ellington
"Sometimes when you look to chase the game you can get caught out on a counter attack and that's exactly what happened and we ended up getting done, there you have it."
Boothroyd made one tactical change at half-time bringing on former Ranger Dan Shittu for Matt Jackson. The move yielded a goal from the domineering centre-back, but was the boss prepared to make more changes at the break?
"I was, yes, but I thought there was enough in there and that is was just the defensive frailties that cost us; some of our attacking play was very good in the first half and on a another day we would have scored, but we didn't.
"I think the two wide players did very well, and I couldn't say anybody had an absolute nightmare, but in the second half I had to make changes."
The Hornets remain second in the table but Boothroyd is not brushing anything under the carpet, despite the elevated position.
"We can't keep relying on everybody else, I've got some work to do, the players have got work to so and our home form has got to improve drastically." Watford

THREE first half goals from Rangers, the first from the penalty spot and all three against the run of play, gave the visitors an undeserved lead at the break.
Martin Rowlands' brace and Damion Stewart's header saw the Hornets shell-shocked and unable to recover.
Lee Camp's own goal did little to turn Watford's fortunes as a Jay DeMerit own goal at the other end with ten minutes to go killed the game off, despite Dan Shittu's consolation just minutes later. Killed off indeed in a game which Watford had strangely bossed from start to finish.
It was second top against second bottom and Aidy Boothroyd chose to make two changes to the side which shared the spoils with Cardiff City on Boxing Day.
Darius Henderson and Lee Williamson came into the starting line up at the expense of Marlon King and John Joe O'Toole.

It was Watford who had the first of the chances in front of goal. Jobi McAnuff swung the ball into the far post where Nathan Ellington was waiting, but sadly his weak effort missed the target and bobbled past the post.

Lee Williamson

There was a scare for the Hornets in the fifth minute when Ellington then went down holding his calf, but after the magic sponge had done its job, he was back in the thick of the action.

It seemed that most of the talking points were injuries as Richard Lee's low dive at the feet of Dexter Blackstock saw him grounded and with no keeper on the bench there was a tense few moments to see if he would recover.

Tommy Smith then attempted to carve out an effort with one of his stereotypical by-line runs, but the throng of QPR players occupying the box made it impossible for him to work his magic.

Rangers remained camped in their own half as one after the other, it seemed as though all of the Watford players had at least one attempt on goal.

Damien Francis' effort went straight down the middle, but wasn't placed well enough to trouble Camp.

Tommy Smith

With eleven minutes gone, the referee pointed to the spot when Dexter Blackstock was brought down in the box by Jordan Stewart. When Rowlands stepped up and sent Lee the wrong way, to say it was an injustice would be somewhat of an understatement.

Normal service was resumed from there on in as Watford returned to battering the QPR goal. Ellington blazed Williamson's ball over as he shot on the turn and then Gareth Ainsworth returned to action sporting a Terry Butcher head bandage.

Then followed a succession of shots from Watford men, Henderson, Smith, Ellington and then Francis all rained shots in on the QPR goal - how they were staying out one can only wonder.

With 29 minutes gone, Lee had his first open play work to do, palming away Blackstock's effort for a corner. From the ensuing set piece, Stewart rose to head home into the roof of the net.

Marlon King

This was a 2-0 massacre - a massacre from Watford however. They say football's a funny old game. Not so funny when you're on the receiving end.

Matt Jackson was the next to try his luck, but his header took a deflection and sailed wide for a corner. One after the other the Hornets lined up to attack Camp's goal and a combination of poor finishing and dogged defending kept the Golden Boys at bay.

With their third attack, Rangers went 3-0 up. Rowlands gathered his brace with a superb finish, shooting past Lee from just inside the box after neat build up play involving youngster Angelo Balanta and Adam Bolder.

Camp then has to go full stretch to deny Williamson from scoring from outside the area, batting his effort away for a corner.

Half time couldn't come quick enough for Watford as it looked as though they would need a serious talking to.

The major change made at the break was the introduction of Shittu for Matt Jackson. The arrival of the former Rangers man saw clapping from all corners of the ground.

With five minutes of the second half gone, Watford gave themselves a chance of getting back into the game. Doyley's cross had to be cut out by Stewart and from the resulting corner, Zesh Rehman's hashed clearance seemed to ricochet off of Camp and into the back of the net.

Darius Henderson

What had started out as a game with Watford playing their football steadily, hoping the goals would come, descended into desperate battling from both teams. Watford knew they were on the brink of nicking something if they kept it up and Rangers were even more dogged knowing that the game could slip away from them if they weren't careful.

The outcome of which saw both teams fighting scrappily out of frustration and desperation on Watford's part and fear on QPR's.

With 68 minutes gone, Boothroyd introduced King into the fold in the hopes that he would find the back of the net. He every nearly did as his first shot flew just over the bar.

Henderson was the next to go close as he somehow chested the ball into Camp's hands.

The Watford battering ram didn't let up and Camp's hands were stung again as McAnuff searched for his third goal in as many outings.

But when it's a bad day at the office, it really is. As substitute Akos Buzsaky searched for the goal, DeMerit tried desperately to deny him and in doing so, stuck the ball into the back of his own net as he tried to turn it away from goal.

Shittu struck back with seven minutes to go against his old club when he latched on to a knock down in the box and drilled home in dramatic fashion.

Blackstock had a great chance to grab a fifth but he dragged his effort well wide after showing a fresh pair of legs to the Watford defence.

A bad day indeed and as the clock ran down, Watford were left bitterly disappointed from this unfathomable game.

WATFORD (4-4-2): Lee; Doyley (O'Toole 79), DeMerit (c), Jackson (Shittu 46), Stewart; Smith, Williamson, Francis, McAnuff; Henderson, Ellington (King 68). Subs not used: Mariappa, Ainsworth.

QPR (4-4-2): Camp; Barker, Malcolm, Rehman, Stewart; Bolder (c), Rowlands, Ainsworth (Vine 63), Balanta (Buzsaky 74); Blackstock, Nygaard (Walton 90). Subs not used: Cole (gk), Moore.

BOOKINGS: WATFORD; Doyley (unsporting behaviour, 34), Smith (75). QPR; Nygaard (foul, 44), Barker (dissent, 55), Bolder (85).


GOALS: WATFORD; Camp OG, 52, Shittu 83. QPR; Rowlands 12, 38 Stewart 29, DeMerit OG 80.


ATTENDANCE: 18,698 (2,279 QPR supporters) Watford

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