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Queens Park Rangers 1 - Burnley 1

Loftus Road

Saturday 30th October 2010 @3pm Kick-Off

Attendance: 15,620

Clarets Get One for the Road at Loftus Road!

The Clarets got a well-earned point against QPR at Loftus Road on Saturday after drawing 1-1 to the club who were league leaders before this game and had not conceded a goal at home.

With Cardiff beating Norwich 3-1 at home, our result against QPR knocked them down to second place with the Welsh club now sitting proud at the top of the league. They are now 11 points clear of the Clarets who slip one place to 8th. We are now just one of a host of clubs fighting for one of the automatic places and play-off spots. Just three points separate Doncaster Rovers in 15th spot and Reading who are currently 6th. You would have taken a point before this game but with a bit more luck and less panic in front of goal we could have easily won this match, something we have still to achieve on the road in the Championship this season. You just sense somehow we are lacking something to really push for an automatic promotion place this season despite this excellent point.

Queens Park Rangers though look to have peaked too early and could become a busted flush now despite still being undefeated in the league this season. We certainly held our own against them and at times looked by far the better team especially in the first half. Cardiff City could well be the club to beat now but already 11 points clear of the Clarets it is going to be an uphill battle to catch them unless they hit a bad run of form. With QPR now in second place still having nine points more than Burnley, the automatic promotion place is looking increasingly out of our reach unless we can start playing consistently , win a few away games and stop stuttering at home like we did recently against Reading.

A mystery stomach bug hit the Burnley camp before this game and Brian Laws was forced to make a number of changes. It would appear up to six players were doubtful ahead of the match. It is unclear though who was eventually selected on merit and who played because somebody else was ill but either way the eighteen finally chosen had more of a feel of the Carling Cup Villa game in midweek than the last Championship match against Reading.

Leon Cort returned from a one-match suspension after sitting out the Villa match in midweek but he had to be content with a place on the bench. Andre Bikey too found himself on the bench with Michael Duff getting the nod in the centre of defence partnering Clarke Carlisle. Captain, Graham Alexander also retained his place in the team after a good, solid performance against Villa last Wednesday night. He took over his traditional holding midfield role with perhaps surprisingly Jack Cork not even in the starting eleven.

Brian Jensen was also on the bench with Lee Grant given his first chance to shine in a Championship game after only featuring in Carling Cup games until now. One can perhaps assume 'The Beast` was one of the players feeling under the weather, since he was denied playing his 100th consecutive league game for the Clarets. On the face of it, unless he was a bit unwell that seems a tadge harsh from Brian Laws .A number of Clarets fans though had been calling for Grant to start despite the fact that Jensen has not really done anything wrong this season despite being on the receiving end of four goals in our last league game at home to Reading.

Chris Eagles also returned to the starting eleven after being rested for the Carling Cup clash.

In summary we lined up as follows:

Grant,Mears,Duff,Carlisle,Fox,Alexander,Marney,Elliott,Eagles,Iwelumo,Rodriguez

Subs: Jensen, Cort, Bikey, Cork, Wallace, Paterson, Thompson

Berkshire referee got the match underway on a showery day in Shepherd`s Bush and it was the Clarets who came storming out of the blocks first in these early stages taking the game to the league leaders. The early pressure led to a couple of corners for the Clarets but both of them came to nothing.

QPR did not have their first real chance until the 16th minute. The Rs top scorer this season, Jamie Mackie latched onto a mishit shot from Derry and looked certain to score until Duff came from nowhere to rob the striker and rescue the situation.

Paddy Kenny then had to come to the Rs rescue at the other end midway through the first half. The keeper got a glove to Elliott`s curled attempt pushing the ball round the post. It was Kenny again a minute later who this time denied Jay Rodriguez after spilling a shot from Eagles from the edge of the area. Jay Rod latched onto the loose ball to shoot before Kenny blocked the shot to save his blushes.

Eagles looked like he might have earned the Clarets a penalty after 30 minutes after steaming into the box and being brought down under pressure from a challenge by Clint Hill. The ref though decided he had dived and Eagles earned a yellow card instead!

Three minutes later though and very much against the run of play QPR took the lead. Adel Taarabt created some space for himself before drilling home his unstoppable curled shot from 25 yards into the top corner of the net.

Neil Warnock`s men must have thought they would now have an easy ride to victory but they did not account for Burnley`s resilience and determination to get back into this game.

Eagles tried a long-distance daisy-cutter but it didn`t cause too much problem for Kenny who easily snuffed out the danger at his near post.

Just one minute before half-time though, the Clarets equalised at the best possible time after being awarded a penalty. Fox got in a deep cross to find Iwelumo in the box. He headed down for Dean Marney to pounce. Connolly though clumsily bundled Marney over in the area giving the referee this time no option but to award the spot kick.

Clarets fans were wondering who would now take the penalty. Chris Eagles had been taking them in the absence of Alexander and had a 100% record but Grezza was now back. There was an element of doubt though about Grezza taking it remembering he had missed his first one for the Clarets in the Bristol City game at Turf Moor recently before losing his place in the team.

It was Grezza though who elected to take the penalty and thankfully he had no psychological hang ups thumping the home into the top corner of the net in convincing style to make the scores level at half time.

Ross Wallace perhaps surprisingly replaced Chris Eagles for the start of the second half but Laws probably had some concern over Eagles yellow card and the fact the ref had also spoken to him a couple of times since. The Clarets could not afford to have him sent off so the change made logical sense.

The Clarets started the second half brightly just like the first. Rodriguez was certainly in the thick of things and he seemed to be able to do anything but score. He spun to shoot from 25 yards out but the ball flew wide of target. Jay Rod then saw another shot cannon off the bar but it would not have counted anyway with the ref indicating offside.

With fifteen minutes to go Iwelumo nearly put the Clarets ahead with a shot after Wallace had cut back the ball to him. The ball though went agonisingly over the angle from ten yards out.

On 80 minutes, it was Rodriguez again who came close after picking up a deflected ball from Elliott in the box. His shinned attempt to score though bobbled wide of Kenny`s right post.

QPR though now came back into it and gave Clarets fans an agonising time as the clock ticked down and five minutes of added time were announced. Gorkss first of all thumped a ball miles over the bar from 12 yards out and with two minutes of normal time to go Jamie Mackie nearly stole it for the Rs. Grant was at full stretch but his shot was screwed wide of target and the Clarets could once again breathe a sigh of relief.

Half way through added time, Rs substitute, Tommy Smith gave the Clarets some more jitters. He curled a magnificent attempt just wide of Grant`s far post but somehow we held on after sweating under the pressure in these last few minutes of the game.

It was a blessed relief when the final whistle blew but in the end it was a job well down as we once again came away with something from Loftus Road. We might not have won on this particular road but one of these days we will win one for the road!

Up the Clarets!

Match Stats

QPR: Kenny, Hill, Gorkss, Walker, Connolly, Derry, Taarabt (Smith 82), Faurlin, Ephraim (Agyemang 62), Mackie, Hulse (Clarke 74)

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Orr, Leigertwood, Rowlands

Goal: Taarabt 32

Booked: Yellow cards for Gorkss, Taarabt and Mackie

Burnley: Grant, Mears, Duff, Carlisle, Fox, Alexander, Marney, Elliott, Eagles (Wallace 46), Iwelumo (Thompson 83), Rodriguez

Subs Not Used: Jensen, Cort, Bikey, Cork, Paterson

Goal: Alexander (pen) 45

Booked: Yellow cards for Duff, Alexander and Eagles

Possession: 48% QPR, 52% Burnley (Source: BBC Sport)

Ref: Iain Williamson (Berkshire)

Star Player

This was another good team performance especially since we were playing against the league leaders away from home. No one player really shone out from the rest making our Star Player award difficult to allocate. The back four looked solid again with Michael Duff in particular having a good match along with Clarke Carlisle. I would give them both a nine out of ten but the player that just edged it for me was Dean Marney in the engine room. He ran rings round the QPR defence with an energetic display all afternoon and it was an excellent performance from him.




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The Journalist

Writer: turfmanphil Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday October 31 2010

Time: 11:40AM

Your Comments

Some achievement this really but yet again we wait for our first victory on the road and had we taken our chances we might have got all three in this one too! Good to be the first club to score against them at home though even if it was from the penalty spot.
turfmanphil
By the way, the official site match report says Cort came on to replace Carlisle in added time but I cant see any reference to this elsewhere and even the article doesn't record the sub change to the team wheareas the other two (Wallace and Thommo) are mentioned. Did I miss summat CP? Don't remember him coming on and being announced? Am I having a senior moment
turfmanphil
I'll settle for this draw, having felt before the match that we might get convincingly beaten. Have to say though, we aren't playing that badly away - just not taking the chances when they come along. An away win can't be far off....
Brompton Claret
Starting with Norwich next Saturday....;-)
turfmanphil
Official site now saying Laws chose Grant ahead of Jensen on merit not illness. Not sure that was the right thing to do in my opinion but I know some will like the change
turfmanphil
Great point this one! Was their any doubt over Grezza taking the penalty? I would assumed he would have gone straight to claim and take it? Did their appear to be a discussion on the pitch? Interesting one about Grant/Beast - Beast hasnt done a lot wrong, but Grant had a cracker at Villa Park - I think we may now see Grant as the recognsied number 1!
Claretdale
I definatley think Grant is the right way to go, he did have a cracker a Villa park. The main thing is that his kicking is so so much better than Jensen. Shot stopping I'd say their about the same. I'd have taken a point before the game, but we need to put together a run of about 3 or 4 wins in my opinion. Hopefully starting a Norwich.
skutter169
We were under the cosh a bit towards the end of the game and in that type of situation I always feel that Duff and Carlisle just concentrate on defending. Both were outstanding for me. Agree with TMP that Marney played well too but most of the team did yesterday though I still feel we lack a bit of pace up front. If we had some of that I think we would be more dangerous and turn some of our draws to wins and defeats to draws. However Grant was selected he did well and had no chance with the QPR's goal which was a belter. Much as I like The Beast I think the former Wednesday stopper deserves a chance now. And to answer Dale's point, I think Eagles fancied the penalty but Grezza seemed to pull rank and snatch the ball from him. Full marks to the veteran - shown as an Englishman in the programme - as he knocked it home confidently. Went for a few pints with some R's fans after the game and they agreed that a draw was a fair result. Onwards to Carrow Road..
RickersTwickers
It's far too early to say that anyone is too far ahead to catch - a decent run by any team will get them up there. Cardiff were well infront when we were promoted but ended up not even getting in the play-offs after losing 6-0 to Preston. It's when teams get injuies and suspensions later on that it gets hard and we have the luxury this year of a much bigger squad. We still have every chance of getting in the top two, we just need to keep going and turn some draws into wins, no need to panic yet.
ozjean
According to article on Official Site, RT. Eagles actually went up to Grezza and said 'You're the man' ;-)
turfmanphil
The trouble is ozjean we just about have the same number of points as we did two seasons ago, which was just about good enough to get us in the play-offs. Until we start winning away though I think automatic promotion will remain an elusive dream and really with all that money we got from the Prem we should BE one of those automatic promotion teams instead of finding ourselves on the same number of points as Pompey who apparantly did not go down stronger!
turfmanphil
That being the case TMP, fair play to Eagles!
claretdale
Im going to have to have a word with Eagles then - I had him at 7/2 to score at anytime during the game !!
RickersTwickers
I was confused by the mention of Cort coming on as a sub, and still am!
Couch Potato
Everyone is being given a chance by laws, If they make the team they must prove themselves worthy.
Grimsby Claret
Me too CP and as TMP is also unsure that makes three of us who didn't see Cort come on as sub. He's a pretty big bloke too so I'm sure we can't have forgotten.
RickersTwickers
Couldn't believe the Reading result after returning from holiday, but encouraging to read the reports about the Villa and QPR games. We're still in there although we need to hit that winning streak soon. Agree with the assesment on QPR after seeing them at the Liberty Stadium, but Cardiff are notorious for loosing the pace after early starts. It'll be interesting to see how they get on against the Swans without Bothroyd and Chopra . Still early days and I still think we'll keep climbing rather than drop further. It's our turn for a good run, it's gotta come.
WelshClaret
This I think is crunch time. We have the squad, all we need are results, we have come near and but for a bit of luck and finishing power we would have been up with the leaders. According to the Stats and what I heard from QPR fans we should have won this one. Between now and the year end we need to do it, if we are not in touch then with the leaders best hope for a play off place. The best way to get good luck is to work harder than the others for it.
cornwallclaret
Remember Stan use to say we will be there or there abouts at the end of the season, But we expect more than that now we have moved up a level.
Grimsby Claret
Too true GC, those words from the Board that we have gone down stronger are looking a little bit suspect at the moment with Portsmouth on the same number of points as the Clarets!
turfmanphil
 

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