12th February 2008 @ 8pm
The Clarets pulled off an amazing win last night at Loftus Road, coming from two goals down to win 4-2 thanks to a Andrew Cole hat-trick plus a goal from Ade Akinbiyi. QPR were shell-shocked as the Clarets came away with their 8th victory on the road this season and probably their most sweetest and impressive.
The victory adequately provides the revenge for being beaten by the Rs at Turf Moor back in December. QPR, then foot of the table have had a remarkable run since they defeated us at home and of course have found a source of cash in which to improve their team. They had risen steadily to fifteenth in the table only five points behind the Clarets before last night`s match, they had just be boosted by an away win at Southampton and were looking to win their fifth consecutive match at Loftus Road.
After 30 minutes of this match, with QPR already 2-0 up (Goals from Gavin Mahon and Patrick Agyemang) and looking dangerous, it seemed like it was going to be a very bad night for the Clarets with a tonking looking a distinct possibility. Somehow however we held firm and managed to get back in the game just before half-time when Cole got his first goal of the night thanks to a little bit of luck with a deflection from a Gudjonsson free kick.
2-1 at half-time therefore and Owen Coyle then made probably his most inspirational decision of the night by bringing on Ade Akinbiyi to partner Andrew Cole from the start of the second half. Ade Akinbiyi was in awesome form and managed to forge an excellent understanding with Cole, his former strike partner from his Bristol City days.
The Ade & Andrew show pulled off an amazing display by getting another three goals between them with Andrew Cole getting his first hat-trick for the club to make it four goals in two games. The victory saw us move up to 7th place on 47 points still just one point behind Ipswich who also won away last night 1-0 at Crystal Palace and prevented the Clarets being in the play-off positions.
Owen Coyle`s team selection for the start of this match did not hold too many surprises although it was perhaps slightly disappointing based on recent performances that he choose Robbie Blake to partner Andrew Cole rather than Ade Akinbiyi who returned to the bench. After today`s result it will be difficult to not persevere with the Cole/Akinbiyi partnership up front!
David Unsworth was laid low with a bug before this match and was sidelined along with McCann, Mahon, Carlisle and Jones all still trying to shake off their injuries. The absence of Unsworth gave a chance for Captain Caldwell to make the starting eleven for the first time in three matches.
The team selected therefore was as follows:
Jensen, Harley, Caldwell, Varga, Alexander, Lafferty, J O'Connor, Gudjonsson, Blake, Cole.
Subs: Kiraly, Akinbiyi, Randall, Spicer, Jordan.
Referee, Kevin Friend (Leicestershire) got the match underway and it was soon clear that the home side were up for their fifth consecutive home win and they were quickly out of the blocks looking the livelier and sharper of the two sides.
Akos Buzsaky took an early free kick but this got deflected wide of the post It was then the turn of Hogan Ephraim but his 25 yard thunderbolt was thankfully off target. However it didn`t long after that for QPR to take the lead on 14 minutes. That man, Agyemang a different player since arriving from Preston took out Jon Harley with a crafty back heel to find Buzsaky and his accurate cross was powerfully headed in by Gavin Mahon from six yards out. The Clarets had no answer to the onslaught as the pressure continued.
The Clarets gradually found their feet but their first real attempt only came about midway through the first half when Joey Gudjonsson tried a 30-yard volley which sailed upwards and over into the cheering Rangers crowd.
Blake then found Wade Elliott but his cross was deflected away from danger with both Andrew Cole and Kyle Lafferty rushing in.
However, QPR were not going to lie down and charged back into the attack to secure their second goal after 30 minutes. A mistake by James O'Connor on the edge of the Rs box led to a counter attack with Damien Delaney finding Agyemang. He simply walked round Brian Jensen to score his eighth goal from six matches. The Clarets were now really under the cosh and most fans feared a tonking might be on the cards as QPR continued to look dangerous with every attack.
Buzsaky nearly made it 3-1 and was only inches away with a powerful drive.
Somehow though we survived and miraculously with only four minutes of the half remaining we pulled a goal back with a little bit of fortune on our side. Robbie Blake was fouled and Gudjonsson`s resulting free kick from 35 yards out got a neat little deflection by Andrew Cole and the ball flew high into the net. A lifeline and a lucky one as the sides went in at half time with lots to think about.
Owen Coyle decided to change things at half-time and what an inspired decision it was to bring on Ade Akinbiyi in place of Robbie Blake for the start of the second half.
The partnership with Cole was soon to blossom and on 55 minutes, Cole after some deft football found Akinbiyi on the edge of the box and Cole made no mistake from Akinbiyi`s cross volleying the ball into the net to make it 2-2 with the Clarets now appearing to have turned the game round.
Elliott nearly made it three soon after receiving the ball from Lafferty. His thunderous shot from distance easily beat Lee Camp in the Rangers goal but the ball hit the upright.
The Rs were not however about to give up this game which developed into an entertaining end-to-end match. Rowan Vine came close but dragged his shot wide.Rangers substitute, Mikele Leigertwood then powered in a low shot but Jensen took it safely in the stomach!
Amazingly the Clarets then took the lead on 77 minutes
Harley picked up the ball after Rangers failed to clear and his cross found Akinbiyi who headed home his eight goal of the season.
But that was not going to be the end of the Clarets fans celebrations.In the 87th minute, Elliott was fouled and from the free kick, Alexander put in a low ball to the near post to find Cole who slotted home to make it a perfect night for the 36-year old.
It was no surprise that hat-trick man Cole got a standing ovation when he was replaced by Mark Randall with little time left on the clock although here was still time to also replace James O`Connor with John Spicer in the dying seconds of the match.
Oh what a night and what a victory!
QPR: Camp, Connolly (Mancienne 90), Stewart, Rehman, Delaney, Buzsaky, Rowlands (Leigertwood 39), Mahon, Ephraim (Blackstock 68), Vine, Agyemang.
Subs Not Used: Pickens, Lee.
Goals: Mahon 14, Agyemang 30.
Burnley: Jensen, Alexander, Caldwell, Varga, Harley, Elliott, Gudjonsson, James O'Connor (Spicer 90), Lafferty, Blake (Akinbiyi 46), Cole (Randall 89).
Subs Not Used: Kiraly, Jordan.
Goals: Cole 41, 56, Akinbiyi 77, Cole 86.
Ref: Kevin Friend (Leicestershire).
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