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Sunday, January 13, 2008

QPR vs Sheffield United - Further Reports and Comments

SUNDAY TIMES/Alan Combes - Penalty row riles QPR
A THRILLING game at Bramall Lane came down to a critical decision in the game’s final minutes. It was hard to see how Akos Buzsaky’s blasted shot could not provide Rangers with a late equaliser, but Sheffield United centre-back Matt Kilgallon threw himself the length of the goalline and appeared courageously to head it clear. Rangers’ performance manager, Joe Dunbar, speaking in the absence of manager Luigi de Canio, was incensed by the incident. “I’ve seen the video and it was clear-cut hands,” he said. “Kilgallon caught it with his hand and then moved his head. I saw him laughing about it afterwards.”

It was a shame that such a fabulous advert for Championship football reached such a contentious conclusion, but in the end it was probably the right result. Buzsaky gave notice of a stellar performance in the offing when he tested out Paddy Kenny with a drive along the ground the keeper did well to hang on to. Kenny’s acrobatic save from Buzsaky’s free kick just outside the area was pure class, but gave further proof that Rangers were calling the early shots.

Gary Speed and David Carney were influential in restoring the Blades’ edge and when Fitz Hall brought down Rob Hulse, Lee Camp’s crossbar was narrowly cleared by Carney’s free kick.

Just before the break, the game came alive. First a cross by Matthew Connolly was trapped by Leigh Bromby, only for the ball to land at the feet of Rangers striker Patrick Agyemang. From five yards out, scoring was inevitable.

In the 64th minute United’s industry got its just deserts. A Lee Hendrie corner was driven goalwards by Bromby and produced a fantastic save from Camp. Martin Rowlands drove the loose ball against Damion Stewart and the rebound saw United level.

The excitement level was maintained as Carney and Billy Sharp combined down the right to create a strike that Hall brought to ground and held there between his thighs. Hendrie snaffled the ball away and from an oblique angle slotted it under the crossbar to snatch the lead.

For United manager Bryan Robson, this game was his sweetest taste of Sheffield life so far. “The fans made a fantastic atmosphere, the best since I’ve been here. Last year was a bad year but now we’ve turned the corner. Having Hulse and Hendrie back was like having two new signings. If we keep a fully fit squad we should have a surge. My target is still the top six.” The signing of Speed looks a masterstroke. The Speed effect galvanised Carney and Derek Geary in particular to produce service any striker would die for.

Star man: David Carney (Sheffield United)
Player ratings.
Sheffield United:Kenny 7, Bromby 7, Hulse 5, Hendrie 7 (Stead 69min), Carney 9, Speed 7, Kilgallon 8, Tonge 7, Armstrong 7, Sharp 7 (Shelton 90min), Geary 8 (Gillespie 84min)
QPR:Camp 6, Barker 6 (Blackstock 73min), Mahon 7, Stewart 6, Buzsaky 8, Rowlands 8, Connolly 7, Agyemang 7, Lee 6, Vine 7, Hall 7 Sunday Times

Matt Kilgallon made a dramatic last-gasp goal-line clearance to earn United the points.
But QPR's players were certain Hungarian international Akos Buzsaky's stinging effort was handled and pursued referee Neil Miller after the final whistle to make their point.
The team's performance manager Joe Dunbar, who attended the after-match press conference instead of his Italian boss Luigi De Canio, was certain his side had been denied a penalty.
"Kilgallon has got away with it. He was laughing about it afterwards," said Dunbar. "Take a look at the video. I've seen it and it's fairly clearcut. We feel disappointed not to have come away with a draw."
Feisty midfielder Lee Hendrie hit the winner after 68 minutes. The former Aston Villa man pounced on a mistake by Fitz Hall before firing in a blistering shot from a tight angle.
Rangers went ahead late in the first half. Matthew Connolly, on loan from Arsenal, made a fabulous break and his cross caught out defender Leigh Bromby for debutant Patrick Agyemang to fire the ball home.
United's equaliser came when Rangers keeper Lee Camp failed to deal with a shot and an attempted clearance from Damion Stewart deflected in off Martin Rowlands.
United boss Bryan Robson said: "We have hopefully now turned a corner and it was a terrific response for us to come back after going a goal down."
Sheffield United: Kenny 7 - Geary 8 (Gillespie,
84mins), Bromby 6, Kilgallon 7, Hobbs 6 - *CARNEY 9, Tonge 6, Speed 7, Hendrie 7 (Stead, 69mins, 6) - Hulse 6, Sharp 7 (Shelton, 90mins).
Qpr: Camp 7 - Connolly 7, Stewart 6, Hall 6, Barker 6 (Blackstock, 73mins, 6) - Lee 6, Mahon 6, Rowlands 7, Vine 6 - *BUZSAKY 8, Agyemang 7. Ref: N Miller 6. People

MAIL - We’re back on right track, claims relieved Robson
Bryan Robson believes his side have turned the corner after ending a dismal run. Sheffield United, with one league win in seven games, hit QPR with two goals in five minutes to cancel out Patrick Agyemang's opener seconds before the break.
United equalised in bizarre fashion in the 64th minute. After Michael Tonge's long-range strike was pushed away by Lee Camp,Martin Rowlands tried to clear but lashed it against Damion Stewart as the ball spun over the line. Lee Hendrie scored the winner in the 69th minute.
Robson said: "2007 has been a bad year for this club but we have got off to a good start this year and hopefully we have turned the corner."
Rangers were fuming at an 88th-minute goal-line clearance by Matt Kilgallon, who they claimed had stopped Akos Buzsaky's shot with his hand, not his head.
Performance manager Joe Dunbar said: "It's clear cut. Kilgallon got away with it and he was laughing afterwards." Mail

SHEFFIELD UNITED OFFICIAL SITE - Robbo applauds fans first
Bryan Robson insisted on giving the Blades fans in the crowd top billing after his team came back from a goal down to register a 2-1 home win:
"I thought the fans were absolutely brilliant today, made a fantastic atmosphere - the best since I've been here - and really helped the lads' confidence which grew throughout the game."
The Blades boss praised the team effort and was not afraid to tackle the two main talking points about the contest. The referee's failure to stop the game when Rob Hulse was lying injured occurred when Rangers opened the scoring, and Matt Kilgallon made a great goalline clearance from Buzsaky which the visitors thought was handball:
"Play should have been stopped and that's why I was a bit annoyed with the referee because Rob wasn't down for just a few seconds with a head injury, it must have been over a minute and they scored when he was down.
"Killa made a superb clearance and if it had been a penalty which they went on to score from I think it would have been a great injustice to us because we fully deserved to win.
"We haven't had much luck so far this season so I will be quite happy if that proves to be a turning point for us. 2007 was a bad year for Sheffield United, but that's two wins and a draw in an unbeaten start this year and we have shown what we can do - we have to do that week in, week out."
And Robson wasn't slow to single out individuals for their contributions to United's first home win since beating Barnsley last month:
"David Carney had a great game in the second half and Gary Speed was excellent, not just in his play but with the way he talks to people and organises them.
"Lee Hendrie can always conjure up or score a goal when he is fully fit and although Rob Hulse is still looking for a goal, you can see the danger he poses with the position he takes up.
"With a bit of luck he could have had four goals this afternoon, but he works very hard in training and when his match sharpness is right up to speed he will be knocking the chances away.
"Derek Geary was terrific, he showed great drive and his quality of pass, especially in the second half, was first-class. When he went down injured just in front of me he said 'Gaffer, my legs have gone', and that's what you need from your players - he was absolutely shattered from the effort he put in but told me so that we could make the change.
"We've had more than our fair share of injuries and I feel that if we can get those players back into contention we can still mount a play-off challenge. I am quite pleased with the way things are coming together." Sheffield United

Also: Earlier Reports and Comments on Sheffield United vs QPR

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