Comeback R's Hammer Irons
Saturday 15th March 2008 @ 3:00pm
GOALS courtesy of Martin Rowlands, Patrick Agyemang and Rowan Vine secured a victory for the Super Hoops, who had to come from behind to take all three points in an evenly contested affair at Loftus Road.
Grant McCann had put the Iron ahead with a free-kick, but this was cancelled out by a first half penalty scored by Martin Rowlands, then second half strikes from Agyemang and then Vine in injury time sealed the win giving the Iron`s survival hopes a big blow.
Luigi De Canio opted to name an unchanged line-up from the side that stumbled over the line against Blackpool. The only change was to the bench, Zesh Rehman made way for the returning Damion Stewart.
Nigel Adkins was forced into two changes from the side that beat Plymouth at home on Tuesday night. Influential striker Martin Paterson failed the race against time to make the R`s fixture owing to a hamstring injury, and Ian Morris missed out in the important clash through illness. This paved the way for Paul Hayes and Matthew Sparrow, the latter returning from a three-match suspension.
KICK OFF: QUEENS PARK RANGERS v SCUNTHORPE UNITED
Rangers looked to start in a positive vein at Loftus Road, kicking towards the Loft, they created the first real chance of note, when Patrick Agyemang picked up the ball on the left flank, his cross was met by Dexter Blackstock, however the striker could only connect with his knee and it was mopped up by keeper Joe Murphy.
The referee then displayed an air of naivety when a long ball over the top was evenly contested by Fitz Hall and Geoff Horsfield, the veteran striker showed his experience making a back for the ex-Wigan defender and winning a contested free-kick. There was no mistake however about the way the free-kick was dispatched.
In an excellent position, slightly left of centre, just outside the area, Grant McCann lifted the ball over the wall and past the despairing dive of Lee Camp. An excellently taken set-piece, which drifted into the side of the goal which Camp himself was covering to send the travelling fans into raptures.
QUEENS PARK RANGERS 0-1 SCUNTHORPE UNITED
Barely two minutes later and Rangers thought they had levelled after asserting a bit more pressure on the Iron defence. Patrick Agyemang seized upon a goalkeeping fumble by Joe Murphy after Martin Rowlands` effort; however the strikers well placed finished was ruled out for offside.
The aforementioned Horsfield was causing real problems to the Rangers rearguard, using his experience to give him an extra yard and winning free-kick`s in crucial areas. The man on-loan from Sheffield United was helping the Iron forget about the loss of Martin Paterson. Horsfield had a chance from another set piece by McCann, this time nodding over the bar.
That man again McCann, recently signed from relegation rivals Barnsley, came close again from a free-kick from distance, but his well-placed curling effort was plucked out of the air by Lee Camp at his top left hand corner.
Rangers had another great chance to put themselves back in the game, when Akos Buzsaky`s good work down the right flank of Agyemang, the striker got his close range volley away, but it was well saved with some excellent instinct reactions by Murphy.
The R`s started to look potent in attack, and some good work by Buzsaky and Vine gave marauding full-back Damien Delaney a chance, the defender broke into the box and his well-placed left-footed drive drifted wide of Murphy`s left-hand upright, as Rangers looked to force the issue.
The Iron were back on the attack as man of the moment Grant McCann thrashed a half volley over the Rangers cross-bar, before the same man curled a right-footed effort high and wide as Rangers afforded the ex-Barnsley man too much space on the left-flank. These efforts sandwiched a good effort on the half volley from veteran midfielder Jim Goodwin, some tentative defending saw the Irishman strike a fearsome effort into the side netting of the right hand post, another let off for the R`s.
Rangers were rewarded for their persistence when they received a 43rd minute penalty when Izzy Iriekpen was adjudged to have brought down Rowan Vine from behind in the area, when the winger was about to pull the trigger. Another in a catalogue of debatable decisions from official Mr. Thorpe. This brought furious protests from a number of Iron players, Andy Crosby was booked for his protest, and Joe Murphy can count himself lucky he wasn`t given his marching orders after a stunning verbal tirade directed at the official. With his fists pumping and his veins throbbing he was lucky to have a barrier from the referee in the guise of the experienced Jim Goodwin; he received a yellow for his troubles.
Skipper Martin Rowlands stepped up to the plate, under pressure from the weight of expectancy, and Andy Butler constantly infringing the box trying to engage in some mind games by stating the ball wasn`t on the spot. Rowlands brushed off the pressure and placed a right-footed effort down the middle, comfortably beating Murphy.
QUEENS PARK RANGERS 1-1 SCUNTHORPE UNITED
The half ended with Rangers asserting much of the pressure on their relegation threatened opponents, with the referee opting to add on two minutes of injury time, with the penalty decision taking three minutes alone.
HALF TIME: QUEENS PARK RANGERS 1-1 SCUNTHORPE UNITED
If the first half was entertainment personified the second half started off as a damp squib. There wasn`t much action to go on in the early stages with the crowd becoming increasingly frustrated by the dogged defending of Scunthorpe.
The Iron had the best chance of the early stages when Horsfield won another free-kick in a similar vein as before, it was taken quickly by Goodwin, an intelligent pass found Horsfield on the left-hand side of the area, his drive was well saved low by Lee Camp.
Rangers were constantly coming up against a brick wall, and seemed unable to make that all important incisive pass to unlock a tightly knit defence. The passing and retention of the ball was overall quite poor from a Rangers perspective as they constantly surrendered the ball in vital areas to their opponents.
A talking point in the second period was prior to a corner from Akos Buzsaky. There was shoving between Fitz Hall and Andy Crosby in the box, but the referee deemed that Hall must have been shoving himself and booked the defender with no other player being spoken to.
Rangers finally created a chance of note in the second period, Mikele Leigertwood fired wide after an excellent ball from Martin Rowlands, a rare opportunity for the R`s in attack, and that taste spurred them on to more chances.
Akos Buzsaky was next in line to have a chance from the R`s, his right-footed far post volley drifted wide of the target and Rangers were looking once again to assert some pressure in search of that all-important second goal as the game was on a knife-edge.
The goal finally came in the 79th minute and Patrick Agyemang was the man. A goal that owed much to the enterprise of the aforementioned Buzsaky, as he played a neat one-two with Agyemang scything the Iron defence wide open, Agyemang was composed infront of goal, taking his time before thrashing a right footed drive into the roof on the net to put the R`s infront. A moment of class in an all too familiar scrappy second half.
QUEENS PARK RANGERS 2-1 SCUNTHORPE UNITED
Scunthorpe sensing they had nothing to lose in their current plight brought on Ben May and Kevan Hurst in favour of Grant McCann and Paul Hayes. The Iron then laid siege to the R`s goalmouth, with Camp saving well from a close range effort from Matt Sparrow, and Rangers defenders throwing themselves in the way of shots to protect an all-important lead at Loftus Road.
The comeback was complete in the four minutes of injury time added on through the visitors time-wasting tactics. Rangers were evidently looking for the corner flag whilst on a counter-attack, when substitutes Kieran Lee and Gavin Mahon combined to float the ball over the top for Rowan Vine, who evaded the slide of ex-Ranger Ian Baraclough, to clip the ball over the oncoming keeper. The perfect finish to a game which for the majority was evenly poised.
QUEENS PARK RANGERS 3-1 SCUNTHORPE UNITED
The result catapulted the R`s into the top half of the table, and left Scunthorpe six points from safety, Rangers now travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers next Saturday; whilst Scunthorpe face the same opposition on the preceding Tuesday.
FULL TIME: QUEENS PARK RANGERS 3-1 SCUNTHORPE UNITED
Lee Camp: 7/10
Michael Mancienne: 6/10
Damien Delaney: 7/10
Fitz Hall: 7/10
Matthew Connolly: 6/10
Akos Buzsaky: 7/10
Rowan Vine: 8/10
Mikele Leigertwood: 6/10
Martin Rowlands: 8/10
Dexter Blackstock: 5/10
Patrick Agyemang: 7/10
Contributed a good assist and some excellent distribution in the latter stages. Definately in line for a starting place.