Date:Saturday September 20 2008
AN ELLIOTT Ward first half penalty was enough to condemn their R`s to the second defeat of the season, as Rangers will look to a lack of cutting edge as an evident problem.
Despite a spirited second half performance, with the R`s retaining the vast majority of the ball they simply could not break down resolute Sky Blue`s defence marshalled by goal scorer Ward.
Wave after wave of attack and excellent retention of the ball wasn`t enough for the R`s despite their domination in the second period.
Rangers will look to key chances for Blackstock and Ledesma as they faltered to defeat at the Ricoh Arena.
Rangers made one enforced change from the side that battled its way to victory against Norwich at Carrow Road. Supsended Matthew Connolly made way for Latvian international Kaspars Gorkss, with Fitz Hall taking his place on the bench.
The R`s once again lined up with one up front, the in form Dexter Blackstock, supplemented by wingers Emmanuel Ledesma and Lee Cook, with skipper Martin Rowlands the attacking option in a central three.
Coventry remained unchanged from the side that picked up a point against Sheffield United. The potent strike force of Freddie Eastwood and Clinton Morrison was complimented by Leon McKenzie who played wide left.
The Sky Blues could once again look to a decent bench with Maltese Michael Mifsud, nicknamed `the mosquito` named amongst the substitutes.
Kick Off: Coventry City v Queens Park Rangers
Rangers started by far the brighter side, as they eclipsed the side that put in a tepid display last year, and yet somehow earned themselves a point. Lee Cook had the ball at his feet and space at his disposal, which is certainly a dangerous combination, as he knocked it sideways for marauding full back Damien Delaney who cut inside and drilled a powerful shot narrowly over the bar.
The early stages were played out in tentative fashion with both sides looking to retain possession and bring the ball forward. Coventry were looking dangerous in wide areas with the danger-man Clinton Morrison peeling off to dig out an outstanding far post cross, Peter Ramage dealt adequately despite the attentions of strike partner Freddie Eastwood.
Rangers nearly went behind moments later when more good work down the right flank, saw Elliott Ward marginally close from heading the Sky Blues home from the near post. He managed to fend off central defender Kaspars Gorkss to glance a header, which R`s stopper Radek Cerny saved well.
Coventry had their chance to take the lead courtesy of a penalty decision granted by referee Dean Whitestone. In his first Championship game of the season, Whitestone had no option to blow when Leigertwood mindlessly bundled over midfielder Jay Tabb in the area.
In truth Leigertwood was nowhere near the ball, as Tabb managed to earn himself the spot-kick by putting his body between the man and the ball. Central defender Elliott Ward, who had missed a penalty last time out at Bramall Lane, stepped up and drilled an effort towards the target. Czech stopper Cerny got a hand to it, but couldn`t stop the ball from trickling over the line as the Sky Blues had the advantage after 13 minutes.
Coventry City 1-0 Queens Park Rangers
Rangers in truth were looking second best in every department in the early stages, but a mystifying decision to give a free-kick on the edge of the area, handed Coventry the chance to double their lead. Iain Dowie signing Daniel Fox fired a free-kick which deflected off the top of the wall and dipped narrowly over Cerny`s cross bar.
Rangers had a good chance to pull back the deficit as Peter Ramage was found wide by Gavin Mahon following a useful build up on the edge of the area. The former Newcastle United defender picked out a classy first time cross to the far post where the in form Dexter Blackstock was prowling, only an excellent defensive header from Elliot Ward denied the R`s forward.
Coventry were beginning to look rampant as they took the ball wide, and some scything crosses were inches away from finding their designated target. In almost a carbon copy to an initial chance, Freddie Eastwood made some space for a cross wide right, and Rangers arch-nemesis Clinton Morrison nearly made it six goals in six fixtures against the R`s, once again Ramage was on hand to scoop the ball away.
The R`s for all their difficulties in some departments, should have had the equaliser courtesy of Emmanuel Ledesma. The winger on loan from Genoa, found himself in acres of space after an excellent guided ball from Leigertwood. He coasted into the box, but his placed shot was met by Keiren Westwood, who smothered the Argentinean`s tame effort to keep the R`s goalless.
As has happened so many times in recent history Rangers were nearly punished on the counter attack. More good work by Morrison down the right created a chance for Jay Tabb bursting through the middle but his effort was tame, and once again smothered by Cerny, who was finding the going tough and refusing to be budged from the comfort of his line.
Mr. Whitestone drew the half to a close, in which Rangers flattered to deceive but elements of play going forward, certainly promised for much improvement in the second period. It was Coventry who had the advantage and rightfully so going into the break.
Half Time: Coventry City 1-0 Queens Park Rangers
Rangers began in slightly tentative fashion early in the second period, as they sensed they had a job on their hands to break down a resilient Coventry backline, with former West Ham United defender Ward in particularly good form.
Icelandic central midfielder Aron Gunnarson teed himself up delightful and drilled a volley narrowly wide in the early stages. The shot flew narrowly wide of Cerny`s right hand upright as the Coventry fans sensed a second period to emulate the first.
That was as good as it got for City as here on in Rangers took control. Ramage got forward from the right once again to send in another testing cross, skipper Rowlands managed to flick the ball on for Dexter Blackstock, who was marshalled well by Ward who cleared to safety.
From the resulting corner Martin Rowlands worked himself some space on the edge of the area to fire a right footed drive that deflected through a pack of players to fall to defender Damion Stewart. The big Jamaican drilled a left footed shot inches over the bar from just inside the area.
Dowie`s attacking midfield ploy began to spark positive mutterings from the away following, 1,700 Rangers fans doing their club proud from start to finish. Real Madrid loanee Daniel Parejo took to the field along with the Magical Magyar Akos Buzsaky. A move that saw Mikele Leigertwood revert to right back for the injured Peter Ramage.
After a lacklustre first period, Lee Cook broke out of his shell and started to dazzle full back Isaac Osbourne with his brand of technique and breathtaking skill. The self-professed QPR fan worked his way into the box, before his deflected shot looped over goalkeeper Westwood for a corner. Such was the R`s luck in the second period as the ball could have gone anywhere.
A similar situation ensued moments later as some excellent midfield play culminated with Dexter Blackstock poking the ball towards the target, it took a deflection and once again left the former Carlisle stopper dumfounded as it flew over his bar. Rangers began to threaten but lady luck refused to shine.
Rangers were looking rampant, and they displayed such excellent possessional play in the midfield with seemingly wave after wave of attack ensuing, as the Coventry fans were beginning to grow restless. In fact there were brief moments of booing as Rangers harried and hassled their opponents to play the ball back to Westwood.
The Sky Blues simply could not retain the ball and they looked over the top persistently to substitute Michael Mifsud, whilst looking live-wire, never looked like he was going to receive the ball to his feel, with Damion Stewart in truly outstanding form, accompanied ably by Kaspars Gorkss.
Such was Rangers luck deflections and moments of mystifying luck gave them the opportunity to clear. At one point a defender had three chances to clear the ball when his initial two efforts struck nearby players and returned straight to his feet.
Credit to Coventry however as they were not to be broken, despite the best intention of the Rangers midfield quintet with substitute Patrick Agyemang looking to make an impact after replacing Dexter Blackstock late on.
Some shameless time-wasting became all the more embarrassing when Keiren Westwood threw himself to the floor after being sandwiched between a pack of players. Westwood was down for a good five minutes before taking to his feet in sprightly fashion and blasting a goal kick up the field.
The stunt had its desired effect as the R`s took another five minutes to get back into their stride, but they soon got back into the groove and created chances at will, with the Sky Blues seemingly unable to keep the ball as the home supporters grew frustrated.
Rangers were looking excellent going forward, retaining the ball and knocking it wide for impressive wingers Lee Cook and Akos Buzsaky running the rule over their full back opponents. But for all their possession they lacked that killer instinct in front of goal to break down a stubborn defence that would not give an inch.
In the dying stages Rangers fans were palpably close to that equalising goal they craved for so long in the second period. Spanish starlet Daniel Parejo had wowed the Ricoh Arena, with some audacious touches and passing in a seemingly effortless fashion, he managed to create some space on the edge of the area before chipping the ball delightfully towards toward the top left hand corner.
The effort rippled the side netting as R`s fans saw their final chance in succession bring a frustrating and disappointing day to an end. A bitter pill to swallow for the R`s ample following, but it was a losing return for Iain Dowie and Tim Flowers at the Ricoh Arena.
Full Time: Coventry City 1-0 Queens Park Rangers
Coventry City:Westwood, Fox, Ward, Dann, Doyle, Eastwood (Best 75), Gunnarson, McKenzie (Mifsud 79), Osbourne, Morrison, Tabb (Beuzelin 84).
Subs not used: Marshall, Hall.
Rangers: Radek Cerny, Peter Ramage (Daniel Parejo 56), Damien Delaney, Damion Stewart, Kaspars Gorkss, Emmanuel Ledesma (Akos Buzsaky 53), Lee Cook, Gavin Mahon, Mikele Leigertwood, Martin Rowlands, Dexter Blackstock (Patrick Agyemang 76).
Subs not used: Camp, Hall.
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Date:Saturday September 20 2008
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