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Saturday, March 15, 2008

QPR's Crazy Season Continues...Scrape Home Against Scunthorpe...Virtually Safe (De Canio Disputes This)...and 7 Points from Playoffs!

With 7 games remaining, QPR now have 51 points after their come-from-behind 3-1 at home to relegation rivals, Scunthorpe. QPR's goals from Rowlands, Agyemang and Vine. QPR SHOULD be safe, but it's a crazy season, and possibly QPR will need a couple more points to be assured.


Martin Rowlands, Patrick Agyemang and Rowan Vine were all on target, as the R's came from behind to send Scunthorpe United spiraling towards League One.

Rangers trailed to Grant McCann's fine free-kick, only for the hosts to respond courtesy of a debatable Rowlands spot-kick.

Agyemang put the R's in front when he smashed home Akos Buzsaky's classy 79th minute through ball, before Vine put the icing on the cake with a well-taken third goal in stoppage time.

Following hot on the heels of Tuesday's 3-2 victory against Blackpool, De Canio named an unchanged starting XI.

Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins opted for experienced front-man Geoff Horsfield in attack, which meant former Millwall striker Ben May had to make do with a place amongst the substitutes.

Buoyed by their impressive recent home record, the R's - kicking towards the Loft End - made a positive start.

Patrick Agyemang's cross was met by the on-rushing Dexter Blackstock in the fourth minute, but he could only knee the ball into the grasp of Iron custodian Murphy.

But it was Scunthorpe who grabbed a surprise eighth minute lead, when Fitz Hall was harshly penalised for a foul on Horsfield and McCann stepped up to curl a sublime 25-yard free-kick in to the bottom right hand corner.

The R's responded in the only way they know how, peppering the Scunthorpe rearguard with a series of balls into the box.

They were very nearly rewarded in the ninth minute, only for Agyemang's strike to be ruled out for offside, after Murphy failed to hold on to Martin Rowlands' initial deflected effort.

As the R's continued to throw men forward, Murphy came to Scunthorpe's rescue, diving full stretch to his left to tip Agyemang's close range volley wide, after Akos Buzsaky fed the ball in from the right flank.

Damien Delaney was getting forward at every available opportunity and when Buzsaky and Rowan Vine combined to devastating effect, the R's full-back thrashed a left footed drive inches wide of Murphy's left hand upright.

At the other end, Jim Goodwin fired into the side netting, but it was Rangers who continued to pose the greater attacking threat heading into the break.

The inevitable equaliser arrived three minutes before half-time, when Izzy Iriekpen was harshly adjudged to have sent Vine tumbling to ground inside the box and Rowlands stepped up to send Murphy the wrong way from the spot.

Each and every Scunthorpe player bemoaned referee Mr Thorpe's decision, and both Andy Crosby and Murphy were booked for their part in the protests.

The second half took time to catch fire, as Scunthorpe continued to frustrate the R's with their impressive work ethic and dogged determination.

The major talking point of the early exchanges centered around a brief altercation in the 64th minute, which eventually resulted in Hall picking up a yellow card for his involvement.
The R's faithful were made to wait until the 72nd minute mark to see Rangers create a chance, as Mikele Leigertwood fired wide after expertly bringing down Rowlands' neatly disguised pass.

Buzsaky went close soon after with a back post volley, as Scunthorpe became encamped in their own half.

Rangers' continued to knock at the door and in the 79th minute Buzsaky found the key to unlock it.

Picking up possession from Rowlands, the Magical Magyar played a double one-two with Agyemang, which resulted in the latter facing a one-on-one contest with Murphy.

The R's hit-man took one touch to set himself, before firing into the roof of the Scunthorpe net, for his ninth goal in QPR colours - and his 13th of the campaign.

Scunthorpe rallied briefly, but Camp was in the right position to save with his feet, as Matt Sparrow fired a late effort goalwards.

Vine put the seal on the R's comeback when he delicately lofted the ball beyond Murphy, to cap a scintillating second half display from De Canio's men.

QPR: Camp, Delaney, Mancienne, Blackstock, Buzsaky (Mahon 81), Rowlands (Stewart 92), Connolly, Agyemang (Lee 93), Vine, Hall, Leigertwood.

Subs: Pickens, Balanta.

Scorers: Rowlands 42 (pen), Agyemang 79, Vine 94

Bookings: Connolly 55, Hall 64, Leigertwood 80

Red Cards:

Scunthorpe United: Murphy, Crosby, Iriekpen, Sparrow, Goodwin, Hayes (Hurst 87), Baraclough, Horsfield, Cork, McCann (May 83), Butler.

Subs: Hobbs, Lillis, Horlock.

Scorers: McCann 8

Bookings: Crosby 42, Murphy 42

Red Cards:

Referee: Mr M Thorpe

Attendance: 14, 499
Match Report

De Canio


Luigi De Canio praised his players 'attitude and resilience,' after seeing them come from a goal down to ease past sorry Scunthorpe.
Goals from Martin Rowlands, Patrick Agyemang and Rowan Vine cancelled out Grant McCann's opener, as the R's returned to the top half of the table in convincing style.
"The attitude of the squad was first class," he told www.qpr.co.uk.
"On several occasions this season we've been very complacent, but today the attitude was fantastic.

"The players really wanted to win the game and we were resilient in our approach right up until the final whistle when Vine scored our third goal."

De Canio continued: "I don't think anyone can have any complaints with the final scoreline.

"We played very well and took full advantage of the clear-cut chances that we created.

"They (Scunthorpe) made us work very hard for the three points and their Manager deserves a lot of credit for the way he set his side up.

"But our players were excellent and the fighting spirit told in the end."

The win lifted Rangers to within seven points of the play-off's, but De Canio refused to be drawn upon a late charge to the top-six, commenting: "We're reaching new heights all the time, but it seems impossible to me.

"I am happy with the direction we are heading in, but it is important not to get too carried away." QPR

De Canio remains wary of drop March 15 2008

QPR boss Luigi De Canio insists his team are not yet safe from relegation following their 3-1 win at home to struggling Scunthorpe.

Grant McCann put the visitors ahead but Martin Rowlands equalised with a penalty, and second-half goals from Patrick Agyemang and Rowan Vine left 12th-placed Rangers seven points away from the top six.

But De Canio said: "I didn't think reaching the play-offs was possible before this game and I haven't changed my mind.

"And while some might say relegation is not possible either, I know from personal experience that is not yet the case.

"When I was at Siena in Italy, we were bottom of Serie A and Bologna were in the UEFA Cup places. We stayed up and in the end it was Bologna that went down."

Scunthorpe went in front against De Canio's side when McCann curled a 25-yard free-kick into the bottom corner.

Agyemang then found the net but was denied a goal by an offside flag, before Rangers eventually equalised in controversial circumstances.

Vine seemed to be tackled fairly by Izzy Iriekpen as he attempted to latch onto Rowlands' through ball, but a penalty was awarded and Rowlands made no mistake with his spot-kick, sending keeper Joe Murphy the wrong way.

Rangers improved after the break but had to wait until 11 minutes before half-time for their all-important second goal.

It came when Agyemang exchanged passes with Akos Buzsaky before firing past the onrushing Murphy for his first goal in seven matches.

And Scunthorpe's fate was sealed in injury time, when former QPR man Ian Baraclough failed to cut out Mikele Leigertwood's crossfield ball and Vine nipped in to score.

"We have given away leads several times this season so it was good to come from behind this time," De Canio added.

"At times we have gone ahead and got complacent, but this time the attitude of the players was exactly what I wanted it to be.

"I never lost faith in them - even when we were 1-0 down. They played the way I wanted them to and showed real desire to win the game."

Scunthorpe boss Nigel Adkins claimed referee Mike Thorpe's decision to award Rangers a penalty changed the complexion of the game.

Adkins said: "It wasn't a penalty. We were doing well and then that decision went against us, but I have to be careful what I say.

"It's not the first time this season that kind of thing has happened to us and we are very disappointed indeed.

"Consistently this season we have played good football and yet again a decision has gone against us. We've not had much luck.

"We want to play football the right way and have shown we can do that and compete in this division, but it's all about winning and picking up points.

"The turning point today was the penalty. We feel hard done by." ITV.com

Updated Table

BBC - QPR 3-1 Scunthorpe
Late goals from Patrick Agyemang and Rowan Vine saw QPR come from behind for a third consecutive home win.

Relegation-threatened Scunthorpe took the lead on eight minutes with Gavin McCann's curling 20-yard free-kick.

A Martin Rowlands penalty two minutes before half-time put the Hoops level, and in the 79th minute Agyemang fired into the roof of the net from 18 yards.

Vine sealed the win deep in the fourth minute of injury time with a well-taken finish from 12 yards.

QPR: Camp, Mancienne, Buzsaky (Mahon 81), Connolly, Delaney, Vine, Leigertwood, Rowlands (Stewart 90), Hall, Agyemang (Lee 90), Blackstock.
Subs Not Used: Pickens, Balanta.

Booked: Connolly, Hall, Leigertwood.

Goals: Rowlands 43 pen, Agyemang 79, Vine 90.

Scunthorpe: Murphy, Iriekpen, Crosby, Baraclough, Butler, Sparrow, McCann (May 83), Goodwin, Cork, Hayes (Hurst 87), Horsfield.
Subs Not Used: Hobbs, Lillis, Horlock.

Booked: Murphy.

Goals: McCann 8.

Att: 14,499

Ref: Mike Thorpe (Suffolk). BBC


QPR vs Scunthorpe
Queen's Park Rangers Football Club
3 - 1
Scunthorpe United Football Club
Loftus Road
M Thorpe

United's Championship survival hopes took a big blow at Queens Park Rangers, as they were defeated 3-1.

They were the better team in the first half and were rewarded with Grant McCann's early free-kick, which was his first-ever strike for the club.

However, the hosts were handed a chance to get back into the game just before the half-time interval when Izzy Iriekpen was harshly judged to have fouled Rowan Vine in the penalty area.

Martin Rowlands promptly dispatched the spot-kick, and the hosts won it with twelve minutes remaining as Patrick Agyemang slammed home the winner.

The North Lincolnshire side pressed late on, but Vine capitalised on a defensive mix-up to calmly clip the ball past Joe Murphy, and finish the match off.

Scunthorpe are now six points adrift of safety with eight matches remaining after Leicester were victorious at West Bromwich Albion.

The Iron entered the game making two changes from the side which defeated Plymouth Argyle 1-0 in midweek.

Martin Paterson (hamstring) and Ian Morris (illness) both missed out, so Paul Hayes and Matt Sparrow came into the team as manager Nigel Adkins opted to line up with a 4-5-1 formation.

The fixture started in a frenetic manner with both teams battling for supremacy in the middle of the park during the opening five minutes. Both sides had threatened on the break, with the hosts registering a couple of tame efforts on target.

Scunthorpe had to wait until the seventh minute for their first chance, and they made sure they took it. Geoff Horsfield was fouled by Fitz Hall on the edge of the penalty area and, as a result, United won a free-kick.

Jim Goodwin and McCann sized up the opportunity, and from 25 yards the former Barnsley man curled in a sublime left-footed effort which left Hoops stopper Lee Camp helpless. The ball nestled into his bottom left-hand corner and the Iron contingent behind the goal erupted. It was his first goal in a United shirt.

Two minutes later, QPR thought they had levelled, but Akos Buzsaky was ruled to be in an offside position when he slotted home a loose ball.

United's change in tactics seemed to work in the opening stages. They were having the best of the attacking possession and Horsfield was proving a more than useful foil for the pace of onrushing pace of Sparrow, Hayes and Cork. The on-loan Sheffield United man also won a number of free-kicks.

The target man headed over the crossbar from a McCann corner on 18 minutes and then the latter came close again with a free-kick three minutes later. This time it was from 30 yards but it forced a spectacular save from Camp low to his left.

Iron keeper Murphy was forced into action on 24 minutes when Patrick Agyemang's shot from point-blank range was tipped out low to his left. It was a superb save from the Republic of Ireland international.

It was an all-action affair, and McCann had another opportunity on 26 minutes, but his volleyed effort from the left-hand side of the penalty area, after Hayes' cross, cleared the crossbar.

Then, at the other end, former Hull man Damien Delaney came close on the break with a low effort struck across goal from the left-hand side of the penalty area, which Murphy seemed to have covered as it went wide of goal.

On 33 minutes, Goodwin had Scunthorpe's next chance with a blockbuster of an effort from the edge of the 18-yard box after the ball had only been partially cleared. His stinging volley just cleared Camp's top left-hand corner.

McCann, thriving in the space afforded to him, then curled another effort just over the crossbar from the left-hand side of the penalty area as the visitors continued attempting to extend their lead.

Despite the Iron's attacking intent, the home team were to level on 43 minutes - after referee Mick Thorpe pointed to the penalty spot following Iriekpen's' foul' on Vine. It was a contentious decision, which brought furious protests from Scunthorpe.

Andy Crosby and Murphy were both booked as a result, and Rowlands calmly stepped up to send the United goalkeeper the wrong way with a side-footed effort. It proved to be the last action of an entertaining opening half.

The away side had their first chance of the second period on 47 minutes when Goodwin took a short free-kick, which allowed Horsfield the space to drive in a low angled shot from the left, which Camp was equal to.

The second half was not being played in the same vein as the first, with both teams struggling to get the ball down. In truth, it was still frantic, hurried stuff, but few chances were being created by either side.

QPR had the best opening of the second period so far when Agyemang bustled through on the right to volley in a low effort which hit Murphy's right sidenetting.

And it was the former Preston frontman who was to dash the Iron's hopes with a 78th-minute strike. The marksman played a neat one-two with Buzsaky before thrashing the ball past Murphy from ten yards.

Scunthorpe made their first changes of the afternoon in the final ten minutes, with Ben May replacing McCann, and Kevan Hurst coming on for Hayes. They failed to have the desired effect though.

They had a decent opportunity before full-time - with Sparrow's shot, after a goalmouth scramble, getting blocked on the goal-line and cleared away to safety.

They pressured QPR late on, but there were no more chances, and United were left to rue what might have been once more.

And just as referee Mick Thorpe was about to blow for full-time, the home side made it three when Vine capitalised on a defensive mishap to find himself one-on-one with Murphy, and he clipped the ball home.

Eight matches remain, with the Iron visiting Wolverhampton Wanderers on Tuesday night. Scunthorpe.

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