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Monday, March 10, 2008

QPR's Sheffield Wednesday Loss...Next: Two Crucial Home Games

After QPR's loss on Saturday to Sheffield Wednesday (match reports and comments below), QPR have 45 points with 9 games remailing QPR have two home games: Blackpool (tomorrow) and Scunthorpe (on Saturday). Win at least one of them and QPR will be virtually secure for the season. Failure to win either....On Saturday, Blackpool drew 2-2 at home to Southampton.

De Canio Post-Match Comments
QPR Official Site - DE CANIO'S DESPAIRPosted on: Sat 08 Mar 2008
Luigi De Canio blamed some 'fundamental refereeing decisions' for the scenes which marred the end of the R's 2-1 defeat against Sheffield Wednesday.
Rangers midfielder Hogan Ephraim saw red in added time, before an ugly melee ensued at the full-time whistle.
"It is never nice to see a situation like the one that escalated at the end of the game, but the referee made some fundamental errors and we saw what happened as a result," De Canio told www.qpr.co.uk.
"The referee's parameter of judgement changed rapidly in the second half. He showed a lack of personality."
De Canio added: "He (Hogan) reacted in the wrong manner, but the referee could have easily cooled things off moments earlier. He allowed the situation to escalate."
Rangers opened the scoring early on at Hillsborough, but two goals in a six-minute purple patch either side of half-time saw Wednesday emerge victorious.
De Canio added: "It was a typical game of two halves.
"Our tempo was exceptional for 40 minutes and I'm amazed with what occurred in the second half.
"If we had finalised our opportunities in the first half we would not have lost the game.
"Conceding just before the break hurt us and gave them a big lift.
"We lacked continuity in the second half and the penalty kick early in the half galvanised them but finished us off." QPR

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Brian Laws
Laws: 'I Got It Wrong'

Laws: 'I Got It Wrong'
Posted on: Sun 09 Mar 2008

Sheffield Wednesday manager Brian Laws looked to shield the two players he substituted before half time by admitting he made the wrong team selection to start the match against QPR on Saturday.

With the Owls 1-0 down, little seemed to be going right for his team until Wednesday replaced Enoch Showunmi and Ronnie Wallwork with Deon Burton and Sean McAllister 39 minutes into the Hillsborough encounter.

But Laws insisted the blame should not fall at the feet of the players he withdrew from the match as Wednesday went on to win 2-1 courtesy of a header from Graham Kavanagh and Burton's penalty.

"I am very disappointed with that first half hour because we are in the mire, we are in the bottom three and that performance wasn't going to get us out," Laws said after the game. "But, having said that, I'll take responsibility because I pick the team and today I hold my hands up and say I got it wrong.

"It's not just the two players (who were substituted) that were at fault but it was the whole performance, but I will take responsibility for that, not the players.

"The second half performance was much more like it, it gave us the energy in the middle of the park while Deon Burton gave us the quality in holding the ball up.

"We needed a spark and we didn't get one in the first half and I felt we needed to give the crowd a lift as well. Call it brave, call it stupid, call it what you like I will take responsibility, I got it wrong.

"I thought it sent a message to show we are not down and out and we are prepared to take the risk at that particular time because we weren't good enough.

"My coaches weren't really wanting me to do that (make the double-substitution) at that time but I thought it might just give us some impetus and rather than have the crowd booing us at half time I wanted to give them a lift."

Thankfully for Wednesday, the change did pay off, with new loan recruit Franck Songo'o dinking a delightful ball over the top for Kavanagh to head over the onrushing Lee Camp in the QPR goal just before half time.

Burton went on to convert a penalty after McAllister was brought down in the box seven minutes after the restart and the Owls could have scored again before a feisty finish to the match with substitute Hogan Ephraim seeing red for the visitors.

"We got a goal and got back in it," Laws said. "We got a goal in the second half and we were very unfortunate not to get more goals today. No matter what other results go on around us - and that is the other calmness we have to have (ignoring other results) - we must put in performances that will win us games.

"There were some good positives to take into the next match and it is a big week for us. There are three games and they are all winnable, if we put in that commitment and desire then we have a chance of winning the games. We could have lost this game and with the results around us it could have left us too far adrift and that would've killed everybody." Sheffield Wednesday

Hogan Ephraim is adamant he didn't deserve to see red in the R's 2-1 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough.
The R's winger was given his marching orders in added time, after referee Mr Neil Swarbrick adjudged him to have 'elbowed' Owls loanee Franck Songo'o.
Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk, Ephraim said: "I didn't feel it was a sending off.
"The referee said I elbowed him, but I don't know where he got that from.
"Our feet clashed and I think that is what he gave the free-kick for initially.
"The crowd were buzzing at the end and that probably played a part in the referee's decision."
Ephraim, who entered the fray as a second half substitute, added: "It's a really hard defeat to take after the way we dominated the first half.
"We should have been home and dry after half an hour, but we paid the price for missing our chances." QPR

Sunday Mirror - Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 QPR
Michael Morgan Brian Laws came up trumps with a brave double substitution as his struggling Owls racked up a desperately needed win.

Wednesday were heading nowhere when boss Laws dragged off Ronnie Wallwork and Enoch Showunmi just five minutes before the break.

But subs Sean McAllister and Deon Burton injected a new spring into their step and helped grab a crucial equaliser which acted as a springboard for the Owls to go on and win the game.

That looked unlikely, though, when Wednesday fell behind to Damien Delaney's 15th-minute opener for Rangers.

Delaney steered a low drive across keeper Lee Grant and into the far bottom corner of the net after good work from Martin Rowlands and Rowan Vine.

The Hoops should have increased their lead 10 minutes later, but hitman Patrick Agyemang was unlucky to see his shot on the turn rebound off the foot of a post.

Then Laws made his decisive switches and Wednesday equalised in first-half injury time.

Franck Songo'o brilliantly lifted the ball over the Rangers defence and Graham Kavanagh planted a header over keeper Lee Camp from 10 yards.

Then the Owls grabbed the winner on 52 minutes when Burton fired home from the penalty spot after Camp had brought down McAllister.

Rangers suffered further when Hogan Ephraim was sent off for flattening Songo'o.


Sheff Wed Grant 6, Hinds 6, Kavanagh 7, Tudgay 7, Beevers 7, Wood 7, Small 6, Showunmi 5 (Burton 7), Spurr 6, Wallwork 5 (McAllister 7), Songo'o 6.

Manager Laws 7


Camp 6, Delaney 7, Stewart 6, Mancienne 7, Blackstock 6, Buzsaky 7 (Balanta 6), Rowlands 6, Connolly 7, Agyemang 6, VINE 8 (Ephraim 6), Leigertwood 6 (Mahon 6).

Manager De Canio 6

Referee N Swarbrick 6

Best player on view until his surprise substitution

Sunday Mirror

QPR Official SIte - Sheffield Wed vs QPR
The Owls' hoodoo sign over QPR continued, as Brian Laws' men came from behind to clinch a crucial victory in their quest to pull away from the Championship drop-zone.
The 2-1 defeat, which leaves the R's just six clear of safety, means Rangers have now failed to beat Sheffield Wednesday, home or away, since our promotion party at Hillsborough four years ago.

Damien Delaney gave Luigi De Canio's men a dream start with his first goal in QPR colours in the 15th minute, only for Wednesday to hit back on the stroke of half-time courtesy of Graham Kavanagh.

And when Lee Camp was penalised for sending Sean McAllister to ground six minutes into the second half, substitute Deon Burton made no mistake from the spot to complete an unlikely turnaround.

Hogan Ephraim saw red late on for raising his arms in the direction of Franck Songo'o, as the R's day went from bad to worse.

De Canio made two changes from the midweek draw against Coventry City.

Damion Stewart and Dexter Blackstock returned to the starting XI, at the expense of Fitz Hall and Ephraim respectively.

Midfield general Gavin Mahon was named amongst the substitutes, after a spell on the sidelines with a medial ligament injury.

Wednesday boss Laws handed loan signing Franck Songo'o his first Owls start, but there was no place in the match-day squad for former R's loanee Ben Sahar (hamstring).

Owls front-man Enoch Showunmi drilled the ball high and wide in the opening exchanges, while at the other end, Rowan Vine thrashed Akos Buzsaky's clever free-kick high and wide.

Vine made amends on the quarter hour though, laying the ball on a plate for the on-rushing Delaney, who applied the simplest of finishes from the edge of the six-yard box to hand the R's a deserved lead.

Having silenced the Hillsborough crowd, Rangers went in search of a second, with Blackstock unlucky to see his fearsome strike drift inches wide of the post midway through the half.

Delaney was proving a constant threat to the Wednesday rearguard and when he broke through again two minutes later, only the foot of the post saved Laws' men from falling further behind as Agyemang turned Mark Beevers on a sixpence before firing the ball against the woodwork.

With jeers ringing in their ears, Wednesday were fortunate not to concede a second goal 10 minutes before the break.

Vine's jinking run concluded with him letting fly from the edge of the 18-yard box, but with Lee Grant seemingly beaten, the ball faded just over the crossbar.

Sensing his side were in danger of capitulating altogether, Laws made a double substitution in the 40th minute, with Burton and McAllister replacing the unlucky Showunmi and Ronnie Wallwork.

It proved to be a tactical masterstroke from Laws, who saw his side draw level in the first minute of added time, when Songo'o's chipped through ball found Kavanagh, who deftly headed the ball over the exposed Camp from 10-yards.

It was the first goal Rangers had conceded in 327 minutes of Championship action and the timing would've angered De Canio, who had seen his side totally orchestrate proceedings for the previous 45 minutes.

Undeterred, Rangers started the second period on the front foot. Vine's fine sole run resulted in him pulling the ball back from the by-line to Blackstock, who was only denied by a stunning parry from Grant at his near post.

But disaster struck seconds later when Camp was adjudged to have sent McAllister sprawling to ground inside the box and Burton stepped up to send the R's keeper the wrong way from the spot.

Wednesday were rampant by now and with Burton and Songo'o in full flow, the R's struggled to maintain their free-flowing hosts.

Kavanagh planted a free-kick just wide of Camp's left hand post, before De Canio made two changes in as many minutes, introducing Ephraim and Mahon to the fray.

Blackstock was denied again by Grant midway through the second half, when his glancing header from Delaney's cross was well gathered by the Owls custodian.

At the other end, Camp denied Kavanagh with a stunning full-stretch save, before Ephraim was given his marching orders for raising his arms at Songo'o.

Sheffield Wednesday: Grant, Hinds, Kavanagh, Tudgay, Beevers, Wood, Small (O'Brien 90), Showumni (Burton 40), Spurr, Wallwork (McAllister 40), Songo'o.

Subs: Boden, Burch.

Scorers: Kavanagh 45, Burton 52 (pen)

Bookings: Tudgay 82

QPR: Camp, Delaney, Stewart, Mancienne, Blackstock, Buzsaky (Balanta 75), Rowlands, Connolly, Agyemang, Vine (Ephraim 63), Leigertwood (Mahon 65).

Subs: Pickens, Rehman.

Scorers: Delaney 15

Bookings: Stewart 71, Delaney 83

Red Cards: Ephraim 92

Referee: Mr N Swarbrick

Attendance: 18, 555 QPR

Sheffield Wed vs QPR
Sheffield Wednesday Football Club
2 - 1
Queen's Park Rangers Football Club
N Swarbrick

Wednesday came from behind to earn what could prove a priceless three points against QPR on Saturday.

Quickfire goals either side of half time from Graham Kavanagh and substitute Deon Burton overturned Damian Delaney's early opener as the Owls turned the screw on their relegation rivals.

SWFC made three changes from the team that lost in dramatic style to West Brom in midweek. Suspended duo Adam Bolder and Jermaine Johnson gave way to Ronnie Wallwork and Franck Songo'o - who stored an immediate start after joining on loan from Portsmouth on Friday - while Burton O'Brien dropped to the bench to accommodate returning winger Wade Small.

The game was three minutes old before the first shot went in but Enoch Showunmi's long ranger failed to cause Rangers keeper Lee Camp any problems. Kavanagh then sent in a daisycutter from distance and again Camp was untroubled.

Debutant Songo'o almost created havoc with his first cross, stroking over a defence-splitting ball that this time called Camp into action and his fingertip touch proved crucial in denying onrushing Owls duo Small and Marcus Tudgay.

But Wednesday's early pressure counted for little as Rangers stole into the lead on the 15-minute mark. Skipper Martin Rowlands fed Rowan Vine down the left flank and the pacy midfielder slipped in a neat ball for defender Delaney to net his first goal of the season.

Clearly buoyed, Rangers continued to press and almost doubled their lead ten minutes later. Patrick Agyemang turned Mark Beevers a yard inside the penalty area and his bobbling shot bounced back from the post and straight into the grateful arms of Lee Grant.

Showunmi burst through on goal 32 minutes after good work from Tudgay but two R's defenders quickly thwarted the danger. QPR went on the counter a minute later following a Wednesday corner and Dexter Blackstock thumped over Grant's crossbar.

The Owls made a double substitution six minutes before the break to spark what was a lacklustre first half performance. Showunmi and Ronnie Wallwork came off, replaced by Burton and Sean McAllister respectively.

The changes had the desired effect too as Wednesday upped the ante, particularly in the final third, where Tommy Spurr had an angled piledriver charged down before,
right on half time, SWFC drew level. New boy Songo'o chipped a delightful ball into the path of Kavanagh, who broke free of the Rangers rearguard to plant a firm header over Camp and into the net.

Wednesday came flying out of the traps after the resumption but the first real chance fell to the visitors. Dangerman Vine broke clear down the left flank and teed up Agyemang, who lashed in a fierce snapshot from close range that Grant did well to parry to safety.

On 51 minutes, though, the hosts stormed into the lead. Tudgay's header was spilled by Camp, McAllister nipped in to profit and the keeper caught the substitute as he nicked the ball away. Referee Swarbrick pointed to the spot and Burton stepped up to casually send Camp the wrong way from 12 yards.

The pendulum was swinging Wednesday's way and Kavanagh went close with a curling free kick from 20 yards. Tudgay went closer still moments later, spotting Camp off his line before launching a dipping effort that landed just the wrong side of the keeper's upright.

Rangers responded with a glancing header from Blackstock that forced Grant into a diving save while at the other end, Camp produced the save of the game to keep out Kavanagh's long range curler.

QPR were camped in their own half in the closing stages and Songo'o almost made it three on 84 minutes but the Frenchman's rasping free kick deflected off the defensive wall for a corner. Spurr headed narrowly wide from the resulting flag kick and Small fired a vicious shot wide before late drama involving Wednesday unfolded for the second Saturday running.

Rangers substitute Hogan Ephraim - leading with the elbow - charged in on Songo'o and immediately saw red, sparking a melee that ended with the referee calling time on the contest and the Londoners down to ten men.

Owls (4-4-2): Grant; Hinds, Beevers, Wood, Spurr; Songo'o, Wallwork (McAllister 39), Kavanagh, Small (O'Brein 90); Showunmi (Burton 39), Tudgay

Unused substitutes: Burch, Boden

QPR (4-4-2): Camp; Delaney, Stewart, Mancienne, Connolly; Buzsaky (Balanta 75), Leigertwood (Mahon 66), Rowlands, Vine (Ephraim 63); Agyemang, Blackstock

Unused substitutes: Pickens, Rehman

Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Attendance: 18,555

Kavanagh and Burton see off R's

Match Information

* Match Stats
* Line-ups

Sheff Wed QPR
Goals : 2 1
Possession : 52% 48%
Shots On Target : 6 2
Shots Off Target : 6 8
Corners : 6 1
Fouls : 9 10
Most Fouls : Kavanagh (3) Mancienne (3)
Yellow Cards : 1 2
Sheffield Wednesday

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