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Sunday, April 06, 2008

QPR 2 Preston 2: More Reports and Comments...Congratulation to Ex-QPR, Gary Waddock

QPR are 8 points clear of a relegation spot (with a couple of teams below having a game or two in hand) and 7 points away from a playoff spot (which makes one think about various points we've dropped!).

Meanwhile congratulations again to our ex-player, coach and manager, Gary Waddock: His Aldershot team (which includes ex-QPRs Bull and Donnelly) are 17 points clear at the top and are returning to the football League. (Mathematically "Gary Waddock's side require just five points to secure the championship title." Aldershot/Table

Sunday People/Ian Gibb - QPR 2-2 Preston
GARETH AINSWORTH spends more play time these days with his beat group Dog Chewed the Handle than he does on the pitch with QPR.
But he still had enough action in the last three minutes to hit an unlikely first for Rangers and then supplied the centre for Dexter Blackstock to grab the most unlikely point the club will steal this season.
Ainsworth came off the bench on 66 minutes but could do nothing right as he tried to rally a Rangers team who looked well out of it at 2-0 down.
But the veteran never gives up and has also turned into a valuable mouthpiece for Italian manager Luigi De Canio.
Preston boss Alan Irvine saw his team give away a two-goal lead built by Neil Mellor and his second-half replacement Tamas Priskin.
But then Preston have gone on a remarkable run to safety from rockbottom on New Year's Day. If they'd still been in trouble, he might have wanted to strangle a few.
De Canio said: "We've suffered quite a few comebacks from other teams this season - finally we've had one of our own.
"Gareth is without a doubt an extraordinary individual and the spirit and the heart of QPR identifies itself in a player like him.
"Apart from his ability on the field I use him to communicate to the players in the dressing-room that bit quicker than I can do."
Irvine said: "I'm very disappointed because undoubtedly we were the better team and should have won.
"But I don't think we lost our nerve and I wouldn't have felt any worse if we'd let QPR finish like that when we were still in trouble.
"We'd set 54 points as our safety target, which we have now achieved.
"But the players are devastated - so that shows they still want to win games." Mellor volleyed Preston into a 37th-minute lead from a flick-on by defender Yal Mawene.
Then Priskin squeezed the ball inside the near left post on 64 minutes from Chris Sedgewick's centre.
Ainsworth flicked a Michael Mancienne centre into the left corner of the net on 89 minutes.
Three minutes later he produced the perfect centre for Blackstock to nod into the corner of the net.
QPR: Camp 6 - Mancienne 7, Hall 6, Stewart 5, Connolly 6 - Leigertwood 6, *ROWLANDS 8, Mahon 5 (Ainsworth, 66mins, 5), Ephraim 5 (Balanta, 60mins, 6) - Blackstock 7, Agyemang 5.
PRESTON: Lonorgan 7 - Jones 7, *MAWENE 8, St Ledger 7, Davidson 7 - Sedgwick 7, McKenna 7, Carter 7, Whaley 7 - Mellor 7 (Priskin, 45mins, 7), Brown 7. Ref: C Fenton 6. Sunday People

PRESTON OFFICIAL SITE Irvine: I'm Disappointed But We Move On
Alan Irvine was clearly disappointed after watching his side concede two late goals at Loftus Road, as he admitted that they deserved to take all the spoils from the 2-2 draw with QPR.
Preston may have reached the 54 point mark that the Gaffer set them back in January but there could have been an extra two on their tally had Gareth Ainsworth and Dexter Blackstock not struck with only a mater of minutes remaining.
At the post-match press conference, Irvine said: "We missed four good chances before we scored, I felt we should probably have had a penalty in the second half and we were good value for being 2-0 up.
"The players are obviously incredibly disappointed about what's happened but we move on. We'll approach the last four games in the way that we have been doing and hopefully we'll get some results before the end of the season.
"I didn't think that we lost our nerve, I think that quite simply QPR started to throw all things forward. Obviously they put Fitz Hall further up the park as everyone would do. You know you are going to have to stand up to a bit of an onslaught at the end and I didn't think that we were going to get carved open but the ball can always drop to someone.
"QPR had nothing to lose at the stage and clearly they were going to get the ball forward as soon as possible.
"I'm disappointed but we move on and the great thing is that the players are down there disappointed. The players are devastated yet we've reached that figure that we have all been talking about."
With the score at 2-1, goalkeeper Lee Camp vacated his goal to join a late attack. North End broke and Tamas Priskin took the option of running the ball forward instead of playing a difficult cross-field pass to the galloping Sean St Ledger who had an open goal ahead of him. When asked whether he felt the Hungarian made the right or wrong decision, Irvine revealed: "It's easy for us because we can see the whole picture but he was running with somebody chasing him at the same time. Obviously we can try to advise him to shoot at the point but it would have still been a difficult goal to score."
The Gaffer also explained that he hoped Neil Mellor's injury wasn't too serious after the striker was forced to withdraw from the match at half-time with a hamstring problem.
Irvine added: "His hamstring was very tight and we hope he has not pulled it. He made a run just before half time and it gave a little bit of a jerk so we got him in, had a look at it and it was clear that we would have been taking a big risk to put him back out there again. Quick players and hamstrings are not a good combination." Preston

Two last-minute goals robbed Preston of three points at Loftus Road as QPR fought back to nick a 2-2 draw.
Goals from Gareth Ainsworth and Dexter Blackstock in the dying moments cancelled out Neil Mellor's opener and Tamas Priskin's second half strike for Preston.
The result may have extended North End's unbeaten run to seven games and reached Alan Irvine's target of 54 points, but the way in which they were denied the extra two points was heartbreaking.
It was an eventful clash in West London, as North End put in another dominant performance that's been evident in recent weeks and it was only in the final few minutes when QPR threw caution out of the window that the home side only really looked like troubling a solid Preston outfit.
The draw may have killed off any slight chance that the Lilywhites may have had of reaching the Play-Offs but ultimately it was another point chalked off in their ever likely bid for Championship survival.
If it isn't broke then don't fix it was Alan Irvine's message prior to kick-off as he selected the same starting XI and substitutes from last Saturday's fine victory over Sheffield United. That meant that Tamas Priskin had to settle for a spot on the bench in his final game before his loan deal expires with Neil Mellor partnering Chris Brown in attack.
In a lively opening, North End started the brighter and were rather unlucky not to take the lead with only a few minutes on the clock when Lee Camp raced off his line to deny the in-form Neil Mellor, who had broke the offside trap. The No. 33 opted to take a touch and drill in a left-footed shot but the former Derby County stopper produced a fine save to divert the effort over the crossbar.
North End had to wait only a further five minutes for their second chance with Camp again producing another excellent stop to prevent Simon Whaley from opening the score. Chris Brown's expertly weighted pass fed the wide-man in down the left and as Whaley tried to beat Camp at his near post, the keeper saved with his legs.
There was real fluidity to Preston's play and the same two players combined again to create an opening for Chris Sedgwick halfway through the first period. Whaley got away on the left flank, stood a cross up to the far post but the on-rushing Chris Sedgwick could only drag his shot back across goal. Darren Carter tried to hammer home the rebound but he didn't make a true connection and it sliced a few yards over the bar.
The pacey Patrick Agyemang was causing a few problems in the opening half hour, with his most notable contribution being a square pass that played in Dexter Blackstock. The striker looked destined to score until Youl Mawene made a fantastically timed interception to rescue the situation inside the PNE box.
Andy Lonergan had his first say in the game when he produced a tremendous save to prevent Blackstock from making it 1-0. The ex-Southampton man capitalised on Youl Mawene's heavy touch, took the ball in his stride and let rip from the edge of area but Lonergan dived to his right and repelled the ball away.
Preston went straight up the other end and did register the first goal of the afternoon through Neil Mellor, who volleyed home in fine style. Paul McKenna's outswinging corner was flicked on by Youl Mawene and Mellor made no mistake striking the ball first time past the helpless Camp.
The QPR faithful vented their frustration at their team's performance in the opening half, however they almost had something to cheer about when Mancienne came close to levelling on the stroke of half time. The right-back cut in from his defensive role, ventured into midfield and with nothing else really in the offering he fired inches wide from 30-yards out.
It was the last action of the before the interval, as Preston retreated back to the dressing rooms with a 1-0 lead under their belts.
Alan Irvine had to replace Neil Mellor at the break with the goalscorer seemingly picking up a muscle strain in the moments leading up to half-time. Tamas Priskin was his replacement and it wasn't long before the Hungarian international was in the thick of it, taking a tumble inside the area under a dubious looking challenge from Fitz Hall on 50 minutes.
The referee deemed the challenge to be legitimate although the PNE fans and players were in complete disagreement.
Mr Penton's decision didn't dishearten the Lilywhites who still looked good value for their lead, attacking whenever possible.
That lead was doubled on 64 minutes when Tamas Priskin bundled the ball across the line from close range. Chris Brown had kept possession well down the left when waiting for his team mates to arrive in support. Sedgwick joined the attack, showcased a few dummies before curling in a right-foot shot from the edge of the area that hit a QPR player and as the ball rebounded out, Priskin prodded in from a matter of yards.
The substitute almost doubled his tally for the afternoon a few minutes later when leapt like a salmon to direct a header on target from Paul McKenna's corner. It was a decent attempt from Priskin but unfortunately Camp was alert enough to make a good save.
QPR were offering sporadic moments of attacking play but whenever they got in a position of promise, their final touch let them down.
Blackstock was arguably causing the biggest threat, firstly having a long range shot well held by Andy Lonergan and then tapping agonisingly wide from ten yards out.
As the half progressed there was no sign of Preston letting off the gas. The midfield duo of Paul McKenna and Darren Carter continued to fight for every challenge, with the captain even picking up a gash on his head for his troubles.
With eight minutes remaining, the Hoops had the chance to half the deficit, however Blackstock couldn't find the finishing touch to Ainsworth's cross as the PNE backline hesitated for a split second or two.
Further attacks followed with Mawene clearing with his head from underneath his own bar and Martin Rowlands' heavy touch letting him down as QPR tried to get themselves back into the game.
Luigi De Canio's men did find the net just as the fourth official indicated there to be four minutes of stoppage time.
Former Preston midfielder Gareth Ainsworth's speculative lob from the edge of the box had enough weight to drift over Andy Lonergan's head and into goal.
And Rangers didn't finish there, as Blackstock grabbed an equaliser deep into stoppage time to salvage a point after North End had spurned a chance to capitalise on goalkeeper Lee Camp's last-gasp venture upfield.
The tall striker's glancing header from Ainsworth's right wing cross was enough to seal a frantic comeback by the men from Loftus Road." Preston

Also Previously:
QPR's Comeback - De Canio Praises QPR and Ainsworth and Ainsworth as Coach... Preston's Irvine: Preston Better Team Should Have Won

Role Reversal! - QPR Score (Twice) At The Death to Draw Against Preston!! - De Canio: Ainsworth "Heart and Soul of this Club"

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