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Thursday, December 27, 2007

QPR's Plymouth Loss - Further Reports and Comments

Leigterwood banned for THREE games after his post-match sending off.

Mikele Leigertwood will serve a three match suspension, as a result of his sending off against Plymouth Argyle on Boxing Day.
Leigertwood was given his marching orders for foul and abusive language after the final whistle at Home Park.
The midfielder will miss Saturday's trip to local rivals Watford, as well as the R's New Years Day fixture against Leicester City and the trip to Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup, third round. QPR

UPDATE: QPR's goal against Plymouth credited to Vine.
QPR Official Site: ROWAN'S GOAL
The Club can confirm that Rowan Vine has been credited with Rangers' goal against Plymouth Argyle on Boxing Day.
Today's national newspapers named Gareth Ainsworth as the R's goal-scorer against Plymouth Argyle, but Vine got the final touch to Martin Rowlands' cross for his fourth goal of the campaign at Home Park.
Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk this morning, skipper Adam Bolder said: "There's no way Gaz is going to take that off Viney.
"Rowan definitely got the final touch and therefore it's his goal.
"Unfortunately it was all to no avail, and that's desperately disappointing after the run we've been on." QPR

DAILY MAIL -The referee was totally to blame for our defeat at Plymouth, laments QPR boss De Canio
Luigi De Canio blamed referee Steve Bratt for Queens Park Rangers' last-gasp 2-1 defeat at Plymouth.
The QPR coach said: "His performance offended me and every sportsman. He was bad throughout the whole match.
When we lost at Stoke it was because of our own mistakes, but here the referee was mainly responsible for our defeat."
Sylvain Ebanks-Blake's double saw off Rangers after Gareth Ainsworth had struck early on. Mail

A late, late winner from Sylvan Ebanks-Blake moved Plymouth into the play-off places, sent QPR back into the drop zone - and left Mikele Leigertwood seeing red after the final whistle.
Newly-rich Rangers will have money to spend when the January window opens and their aim has been to stay in touch until they can start shopping.
They came into the game on a four-match unbeaten run, and things seemed to be going according to plan when the Plymouth defence failed to clear Martin Rowlands' cutback and Gareth Ainsworth stabbed in to give the visitors a first-half lead.
Ebanks-Blake, recalled after two games on the bench, equalised from the penalty spot on 50 minutes after a shot from the dangerous Peter Halmosi hit Martin Rowlands' arm.
Two minutes later Ebanks-Blake was squaring up to Simon Walton, a confrontation which saw both players booked and fired up the ex-Manchester United man.
Ebanks-Blake was a constant irritant to the Rangers back line, holding the ball up well and battling for everything. That hard work paid off in the fourth minute of stoppage time.
With the clock ticking down, he latched onto Romain Larrieu's long clearance to earn a corner, and when Halmosi's inswinger was cleared onto the crossbar, Ebanks-Blake was there to fire the rebound high into the roof of the net.
There was barely time for the restart before referee Steve Bratt blew for full time - with Rangers boss Luigi De Canio rushing onto the pitch to haul his fuming players away from the official.
He was not quick enough to prevent Leigertwood earning a straight red, although he could well understand the midfielder's fury.
De Canio said: "I don't want to comment on anything to do with the ref because it could cost me my job.
"We will think about the January sales when the time comes. Everyone is playing for their future, every game."
Pilgrims boss Paul Sturrock said: "Sylvan got involved in a wee fracas which I think shook him up a bit. For the next 25 minutes he was the best player on the pitch.
"Perhaps I'll slap him about before a game and we'll get 90 minutes of it." Mirror

TELEGRAPH - QPR's riches cannot save them in Plymouth
Queens Park Rangers manager Luigi De Canio is determined to remain focused on upcoming matches despite having multi-billionaire investor Lakshmi Mittal's money to spend in January.
"We'll think about the January sales when January comes," he said. "Right now we have got difficult games coming up."
QPR were sunk by Plymouth's recalled top scorer, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, who equalised Gareth Ainsworth's opener with a penalty and then struck during a goalmouth scramble in stoppage time."

RECALLED top scorer Sylvan Ebanks-Blake fired manager Paul Sturrock the perfect response after missing the last two games at Watford and Crystal Palace.
Ebanks-Blake bagged a vital brace to give Argyle a dramatic Boxing Day win over QPR after trailing to former Pilgrim Ákos Buzsáky's new team at half-time.
Sturrock is looking forward to helping the former Manchester United develop into a complete striker. Ebanks-Blake showed a bumper Home Park crowd his obvious potential with a coolly-taken penalty to equalize before slamming home the winner deep into
Sturrock said: "I feel there is a lot more I can get out of him as far as being a footballer is concerned. His response [to being left out] has been the proper one and the professional one.
"What I will say about Sylvan is that people point the finer at him at times as being a bit lazy and scoring goals is just the key to him.
"I think there is more to that lad than people give him credit for. I think he could be an all-round striker and they are very naughty. His linkage in the second half was excellent and took us up the pitch. He is obviously a goal-getter as well."
The manager also revealed an enterprising new approach to galvanizing Ebanks-Blake into producing more performances of this nature.
The former Manchester United had a fairly heated spat with Simon Walton immediately after bringing the scores level and subsequently took the match by storm - a reaction that may prompt Luggy into using slightly aggressive man-management in the future.
Sturrock said: "Sylvan got involved in a wee fracas that shook him up for a bit and for the next 25 minutes he was the best player on the pitch. Maybe I should slap him about before a game and we will get 90 minutes of that."
Sylv Tiff
Sylvan will rightly get the headlines but for every effective striker there is generally a top winger supplying the chances, and Petér Halmosi played that role today.
The Hungarian international winger terrorized Rangers full-back Bob Malcolm in the second period and ended up winning the penalty for handball against Martin Rowlands and supplying the corner for the last-ditch winner.
Sturrock said: "I felt Petér had been standing and crossing rather than getting at their full back. It could not tell if the right back was quick or slow, but in the second half I rattled his [Petér's] cage a bit or as much as he can understand, and told him I wanted to find out how quick this full back was.
"He had a go for the whole of the second half and he put us in a position to be attacking the ball in the box.
"These kind of penalties are happening more frequently in football where before it would have been waved away as accidental. It seems to me that referees are now giving these and it went for us today.
"In the end I thought time was going to run out but we looked very dangerous from every set piece we took today and I am very pleased we scored from a set piece we have been working on."
With the positives out of the way, Luggy was far from happy with another slow start from the Pilgrims, which is becoming a worryingly frequent habit.
He said: "I am disappointed with our starts - West Brom, Norwich, even Scunthorpe, obviously last Saturday and now today.
"We just don't seem to start with the right tempo. We were the home side today and we expected to put them on the back foot but we allowed them to slow the game down and we played at the pace they wanted to play at.
"That is too many games where we have come out slowly. I don't know about having a cunning plan [to deal with it] but I do have a plan.
"In the second half we played at the pace we wanted, which looked as if they were uncomfortable with and we got our rewards because of it.
"They scored with their only chance of the first half. We had two or three half chances and their goalie made a great save.
"I felt, because we did not play with the right tempo in the first half, that a draw was a fair result, but I thought we edged the second half. We did change things a bit for the second half with a few words and how we were looking to get around their box.
"They had a great chance where Romain has made a great save and we had some half chances where the ball spun around the box.
"Just before the winner the ball flashed across and three boys missed it. We worked very hard in the second half and we were always on the front foot.
"I have had games where we have dominated and lost one nothing. Today, Lady Luck has shone on us or she did not turn her bottom on us - let's put it that away."
Thoughts now turn to the visit of Stoke City and former boss Tony Pulis to Home Park on Saturday, and Luggy has again pledged to make changes.
He said: "I will freshen things up again dramatically on Saturday to give us fresh legs. At this time of the season it is not a team, it is a squad.
"One thing I can assure you of is, if we come out slowly on Saturday we are going to get our bottoms spanked." Plymouth


Plymouth Argyle came from behind to beat Queens Park Rangers 2-1 at Home Park yesterday - following a half-time lecture from manager Paul Sturrock.

They had trailed 1-0 at the interval after a goal from midfielder Gareth Ainsworth in the 20th minute of the Championship clash.

But striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, recalled to the starting line-up after two matches on the substitutes' bench, equalised from the penalty spot in the 49th minute.

And he then grabbed the winning goal in the fourth minute of stoppage time to seal three more points in Argyle's quest for the play-offs.

Sturrock, though, was far from impressed with the Pilgrims' performance, and especially the way they had started the Boxing Day contest.

Argyle have made a habit of conceding the first goal in games lately, including the 2-1 defeats away to Norwich City and Crystal Palace.

Sturrock said: "We just don't seem to start games properly, with the right tempo. We were the home side today and we would expect to put them on the back foot.

"But we allowed them to slow the game down in the first half and we played it at whatever pace they wanted to play it.

"In the second half, we came out and played at the pace we wanted to, and they had to play it, which they looked uncomfortable with. I think we got our rewards because of it."

Sturrock admitted some strong words had been spoken during the half-time break, before Argyle staged their comeback.

The Pilgrims' boss said: "There are games I have played in the past where we have dominated and lost 1-0. Today, Lady Luck shone on us.

"I got the reaction I was looking for in the second half after an excitable 10 minutes.

"But I don't think I should be having to do that on a regular occurrence, and we did change a couple of change things style-wise. We did play a wee bit differently in the second half."

One of the players who was on the receiving end of some criticism from Sturrock at the break was midfielder Peter Halmosi.

However, Halmosi responded by playing a part in both of Argyle's goals. First, it was his goalbound shot that was handled by QPR midfielder Martin Rowlands and led to Ebanks-Blake's successful spot kick.

And it was from the Hungarian international's corner that Ebanks-Blake scored the all-important winning goal - his 11th of the season.

Sturrock said: "I felt Peter had been standing and crossing in the first half, instead of getting at the full-back.

"But I rattled his cage a wee bit - as much as he can understand - and told him I wanted to find out how quick the full-back was.

"He had a go the whole of the second half and put us in a position to be attacking the ball in the box."

Sturrock had some sympathy with QPR over the handball decision against Rowlands, which led to Ebanks-Blake putting the Pilgrims on level terms.

He said: "These types of penalties are happening more and more in football.

"Before they would have been waved away as accidental, but it seems to me a lot of referees are now giving them. It went for us today."

Ebanks-Blake's second goal came after centre-back Krisztian Timar headed against the crossbar from a corner taken by Halmosi.

Sturrock said: "I thought time was going to run out, but we looked very dangerous from every corner we took today and I'm pleased we scored off a set piece we had been working hard on."

Ebanks-Blake was recalled to the Pilgrims' side following the pre-Christmas defeat by Palace.

Sturrock switched from a 4-3-3 formation to 4-4-2 for the game against QPR and Ebanks-Blake led the attack with Barry Hayles, with Jermaine Easter making way for him.

Ebanks-Blake was one of 10 players booked by referee Steve Bratt, receiving a yellow card in the 53rd minute after a clash with QPR's Simon Walton.

Sturrock said: "Sylvan got involved in a fracas which, I think, shook him up a wee bit and for the next 25 minutes he was probably the best player on the pitch.

"I will slap him about before games now and, hopefully, we will get 90 minutes of that!

"People point the finger at him at times and say he's a wee bit lazy and scoring goals is all he's about, but I think there is more in that laddie than he's given credit for.

"I think he could be an all-round striker, and ones who can play and score are very naughty.

"His linkage in the second half was excellent and took us up the football pitch and then, obviously, he's a goal poacher as well." Plymouth Herald


Argyle are up to sixth spot in the Championship after their last-gasp win against Queens Park Rangers at Home Park yesterday.

Striker Sylvan Ebanks-Blake fired home from close range in the fourth minute of stoppage time at the end of the Boxing Day clash to send the Green Army into raptures.

QPR had taken the lead in the 20th minute of a scrappy encounter with a goal from midfielder Gareth Ainsworth.

But Ebanks-Blake equalised for Argyle in the 49th minute when he converted a penalty after a shot from midfielder Peter Halmosi was handled by Rangers' Martin Rowlands.

Referee Steve Bratt obviously had a new pen and notepad for Christmas as he booked 10 players - three from Argyle and seven from QPR.

It looked as though both sides would have to settle for a point until Ebanks-Blake popped up with his 11th goal of the season, after defender Krisztian Timar had headed a corner from Halmosi against the crossbar.

Argyle were playing their first Boxing Day fixture at Home Park since 2004, when they beat QPR 2-1.

Pilgrims' boss Paul Sturrock had promised after the 2-1 defeat at Crystal Palace on Saturday there would be changes for the clash against Rangers - and there were three of them.

Paul Connolly took over at right-back from England under-18 international Dan Gosling.

Lilian Nalis returned to the centre of midfield, with Lee Hodges moving to left-back, where he replaced Gary Sawyer. And top scorer Ebanks-Blake was recalled to lead the attack with Barry Hayles in a 4-4-2 formation.

That meant Jermaine Easter, who had been on target for Argyle against Palace, was only included among the substitutes.

Gosling and Sawyer were also on the bench, as well as on-loan Manchester United winger Lee Martin.

Martin was added to the squad having been out of action since the 3-0 home win against Scunthorpe United on December 1 because of a torn hamstring.

QPR were without defender Damion Stewart because of a one-match ban.

He was sent-off in the 2-1 home defeat of Colchester United on Saturday and Simon Walton took over from him in the centre of defence.

One-time Argyle loan signing Dexter Blackstock was dropped as manager Luigi De Canio went with a 4-4-1-1 formation.

Rowan Vine was the lone striker for Rangers with former Argyle fans' favourite Akos Buzsaky, who scored both goals against Colchester, playing in the advanced midfield role.

Blackstock was on the bench for QPR as they went in search of only their third away Championship win of the season.

Argyle had beaten QPR 2-0 at Loftus Road on September 18 and there was a bumper attendance of 16,502 at Home Park as they tried to complete the double.

QPR left-back Chris Barker needlessly conceded a corner in only the second minute with a misplaced header.

Hungarian international Halmosi crossed to the near post and Nalis stabbed the ball wide, with his appeals for another corner waved away by Bratt.

Pilgrims' midfielder David Norris then shot across the face of goal following after a surging run into the penalty area.

Otherwise, it was a tame opening to the Championship encounter, with both sides battling for midfield supremacy.

Ebanks-Blake tried an audacious overhead kick but it was well wide of the target.

QPR were playing some neat, passing football and they took the lead in the 20th minute after a mistake from Connolly.

Connolly failed to cut out a pass from Buzsaky to Rowlands and the left-sided midfielder made the most of the error.

Rowlands raced to the by-line and crossed low into the six-yard area. The ball was missed by a couple of players before Ainsworth arrived at the far post and slotted home.

Norris had a header easily saved by goalkeeper Lee Camp as Argyle tried to respond to the setback.

Bratt then lectured Argyle midfielder Nadjim Abdou and QPR striker Rowan Vine after a tussle between the two players threatened to turn ugly.

Buzsaky was the first player to be booked by the referee after a challenge on Connolly in the 31st minute.

And Argyle almost equalised from the resulting free-kick as Nalis got a connection on Halmosi's curling cross but his first-time shot was saved by the feet of Camp.

QPR had the next chance as centre-back Zesh Rehman fired the ball high over the bar after a corner from Buzsaky.

Argyle could not get into any rhythm, with too many of their passes misplaced, and they lacked any penetration in the attacking third of the pitch.

Ebanks-Blake was off target with a wayward 20-yard shot as the Pilgrims continued to struggle to create any clear-cut chances.

There was a near miss, though, in the 42nd minute when Halmosi's corner spun up off the boot of Barker and went inches over the bar.

There were four minutes of stoppage time added on by Bratt at the end of the first half. But the only noteworthy incident was a late tackle on Norris by Rowlands, which earned the Rangers' midfielder a yellow card.

Sturrock had wanted his players to set a high tempo from the start of the game and force QPR onto the defensive. But they did neither in the first half and the Pilgrims' boss must have been hugely disappointed with his side's disjointed display.

However, Sturrock resisted the temptation to use any of his substitutes at the start of the second period.

And Argyle were level in the 49th minute when Ebanks-Blake scored from the penalty spot for the fourth time this season.

The former Manchester United striker drilled the ball low into the bottom right corner of the net.

Tempers started to fray as Ainsworth was booked for a lunge on Argyle centre-back Marcel Seip in the 51st minute.

Then Ebanks-Blake and QPR centre-back Simon Walton were both yellow-carded after squaring up to each other.

There was definitely more urgency about the home side and Halmosi, in particular, was posing a threat on the left-side with his strong running.

Centre-back Marcel Seip headed wide from a Halmosi free-kick as Argyle went in search of a second goal.

QPR sent on towering Danish striker Marc Nygaard as a 68th minute substitute for Rowlands, with Vine moving to the left side of midfield.

Midfielder Adam Bolder was the fifth QPR player to be booked after a foul on Ebanks-Blake two minutes later.

Argyle were still struggling to open up the Rangers' defence and Sturrock made a double substitution in the 73rd minute to try to change that.

Easter replaced Hayles in attack and Martin came on for Abdou.

There were still too many careless passes from Argyle and, although QPR were not really threatening themselves, they were defending with some comfort.

Nygaard was booked by Bratt for shoving over Easter before Blackstock was sent on for Buzsaky in the 78th minute.

Seip made a superb sliding tackle on Blackstock to concede a corner in the 80th minute, and the set piece almost resulted in QPR restoring their lead.

Ainsworth crossed deep to the far post and Blackstock's header was parried away by goalkeeper Romain Larrieu.

QPR were now playing 4-3-3 after the introduction of Nygaard and Blackstock and, for the first time, were starting to apply some pressure on the Pilgrims.

Easter squandered a chance for Argyle, though, when he failed to make proper contact with a cross from Halmosi.

The ball broke to Ebanks-Blake inside the six-yard area but he was immediately flagged offside as the home side's frustrating afternoon continued.

Argyle sent up loud penalty appeals for handball against Barker in the 85th minute after a cross from Martin, but Bratt let play continue.

Nalis became the eighth player to be booked, and the second for Argyle, after a clash with Nygaard two minutes later as the game became increasingly scrappy.

Bratt then showed a yellow card to Easter for dissent after awarding a free-kick to QPR.

When Hodges could not direct his header on target from an inswinging corner taken by Halmosi in the 90th minute it seemed as though the game would end up 1-1.

But, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Argyle snatched maximum points with another goal from Ebanks-Blake.

Halmosi's corner was headed against the bar by Timar and Ebanks-Blake pounced, giving QPR 'keeper Lee Camp no chance with a powerful shot.

It was all too much for QPR midfielder Mikele Leigertwood as, seconds later, he was booked for a foul.

Then, after Bratt had blown the final whistle, Leigertwood was shown a red card for foul and abusive language to compound a miserable end to the match for the west London club.

Argyle, though, could celebrate their 10th league win of the season, and their third in seven games since Sturrock's reappointment as manager. Plymouth Herald

Also: Earlier Reports & Comments: "At the Very, Very, Very End...QPR Lose to Plymouth - Reports and Managerial Comments"

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