Gorks Goal Snatches Late Win
Saturday November 7, 2009 - 3.00pm
LATVIAN international Kaspars Gorkss crashed home a header just minutes from time to help secure an excellent away win at Sheffield Wednesday.
Rangers were looking good value for their early lead when Jay Simpson rolled home after some clever play by Adel Taarabt.
Wednesday pegged Rangers back minutes later when pacey winger Jermaine Johnson got in behind the Rangers defence and stroke home off the upright.
An evenly fought game played in front of a vociferous home crowd was settled with Gorkss' late towering header, as Rangers maintain their playoff charge.
Radek Cerny continued in goal with Mikele Leigertwood, Kaspars Gorkss and Fitz Hall accompanied by Peter Ramage at left back with Gary Borrowdale sidelined with a stomach bug.
Gavin Mahon came in at the expense of Alejandro Faurlín, partnering Ben Watson at the heart of the Rangers midfield, with Adel Taarabt, Ákos Buzsáky and Wayne Routledge in behind Jay Simpson.
Wednesday lined-up with Lee Grant behind a back four of Frank Simek, Richard Hinds, Lewis Buxton and Tommy Spurr.
Jermaine Johnson and Marcus Tudgay occupied the flanks with James O'Connor, Darren Potter and Tommy Miller in the middle of the park and Luke Varney played the lone striker role.
Kick Off: Sheffield Wednesday v Queens Park Rangers
In a competitive opening to the fixture Rangers were asserting their impetus on proceedings, with Adel Taarabt and Ákos Buzsáky seeing much of the early possession.
By comparison Wednesday were looking to get a foothold on the game with their five man midfield, stifling the visitors before launching their own attacks.
Useful link-up play from Rangers on the edge of the area from Adel Taarabt and the returning Gavin Mahon created space for the lively Buzsáky.
The Hungarian international eked out some space on the edge of the area before letting fly right footed over the cross bar - space that Wednesday could ill-afford to keep conceding.
The R's were looking the better of the two sides in a fairly busy opening to the encounter, and the home crowd were growing visibly frustrated at their side's inability to keep possession.
QPR were rewarded for their positive early showing with a goal that owed much to the trickery of Taarabt on the edge of the area.
The Moroccan international was looking imperious as he glided forward, before retaining the ball and rolling a neat pass through to Jay Simpson.
The Arsenal loanee didn't need a second invitation and rifled a left-footed effort home from close range - a clinical finish into the bottom right hand corner.
GOAL: Sheffield Wednesday 0-1 Queens Park Rangers
Rangers were now looking full of confidence, keeping the ball and frustrating the vocal home crowd. Indeed they spurned another glorious opportunity to double their advantage.
More neat build up play involving the Tottenham loanee Taarabt saw Wayne Routledge in down the right. With only the keeper to beat his powerful effort came back off the left hand upright.
It was Routledge's second guilt edge miss following a disappointing effort against Crystal Palace previously when through on goal.
If Wednesday needed a wake up call, they certainly had it in the shape of that chance, and they launched a counter-attack of their own.
It was ultimately successful as Jermaine Johnson was fed by an excellent pass from former Liverpool youngster Darren Potter.
The Jamaican international coasted in behind Mikele Leigertwood before coolly rolling the ball home off the right hand upright to haul the Owls level.
GOAL: Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Queens Park Rangers
Wednesday were now looking ominous on the attack as they were cheered on by an encouraged Hillsborough.
There was a rare chance for Owls forward Luke Varney, who managed to pick himself up from the floor and carve out an opportunity.
The former Crewe man beat Fitz Hall, who remained on the floor in some discomfort, and after some neat interplay with Marcus Tudgay he drew a good save from Cerny, who tipped it onto his right hand post from point blank range.
Hall managed to soldier on for a while before having to leave the field with the injury complaint. He was replaced by the returning Matthew Connolly after a bout of glandular fever.
Rangers were by no means overshadowed, and despite a lull in their creative passing game Ben Watson managed to engineer himself an opportunity.
The Wigan Athletic loanee fired a venomous drive towards goal, deflecting into the path of Peter Ramage. The makeshift full back must have had a nosebleed being so far up the field as he nodded a looping header straight down Grant's throat.
Ramage himself was full of the typical drive and desire you'd come to expect from the former Newcastle United man - leading to him getting caught offside on a number of occasions.
More excellent work from Taarabt on the edge of the area as he slid through Routledge once more down the right. The winger again bared down on goal and brought a point-blank save from Grant once more.
That was the final chance of an evenly-fought first half, that owed much to the hard-working players in a game that lacked that final touch of class at times.
Half Time: Sheffield Wednesday 1-1 Queens Park Rangers
Brian Laws has never been afraid to read his side the riot act, as shown in recent games with Rangers and it was evident that his words were still ringing in his players' ears as they took to the field.
They attacked with great vigour from the off and looked to assert their advantage on a game that was finely poised at a goal a-piece.
Indeed Darren Potter went close in the early offing after some neat interplay, the combative midfielder dragged his effort wide of the upright in an early scare for Rangers.
Despite Wednesday's early dominance, Rangers nearly re-took the lead with a stroke of luck as Taarabt capitalised on poor clearance, only to fire his effort into the side netting.
Moments later Jay Simpson displayed his immense strength in hold up play, bullying three defenders off the ball before testing Grant low to his left in a rare opportunity for QPR.
The territorial advantage along with possession lied with the Owls as they continued to plug away at Rangers' goal. The assault on the R's goal continued with Tommy Miller going close.
The player who previously displayed his admiration for QPR boss Jim Magilton, having played alongside and under him at Ipswich Town.
He managed to create some space on the edge of the penalty area before curling an excellent effort towards the bottom left-hand corner. It bounced back off the upright to the dismay of the home crowd.
Alejandro Faurlín was introduced from the bench after 68 minutes, replacing Buzsáky - who in truth had a very quiet second period against former R's loanee Simek.
Rangers were attempting to continue playing football, but seemed to dig in where it mattered most as Faurlín and Simpson bundled their way through a line of defenders, and the Argentinean drew another smart save from Grant.
Richard Wood was introduced to the disgust of many Wednesday fans - the player not willing to pen a new deal with the club, and was roundly booed on his introduction.
The visitors were having their spell at the right time in the game, with Wayne Routledge tormenting Tommy Spurr, a reported former transfer target for Rangers.
Routledge teased his defender before firing a testing cross into the heart of the area. The Owls defence were breached, but Watson's clever flick rolled agonisingly wide of the left hand upright when many fans expected the net to bulge.
Mahon was looking imperious once again in the middle of the park, with Watson alongside him raising his game as the fixture wore on.
A killer pass from Mahon found Taarabt in the heart of the area, but he was denied a goal by a last ditch tackle from the Wednesday rearguard.
The R's fans sensed the momentum lie with their side and vocal chords were stretched to encourage their team over that final hurdle.
Excellent build up play saw Rangers thwarted and a corner was earned with just short of ten minutes remaining. The substitute Faurlín strode up to take the set-piece.
He whipped the ball in at the near post and prowling nearby was Latvian international Kaspars Gorkss to slam the ball home for Rangers second headed goal of the season but more importantly the advantage in this encounter.
GOAL: Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 Queens Park Rangers
Gorkss celebrated his first goal for QPR just a day after his birthday, and he and his defensive colleagues would now have to concentrate to make it the most special of gifts to the Latvian.
Wednesday threw the kitchen sink at Rangers in the dying stages but without Jermaine Johnson they had clearly lost the lynch-pin in their attack.
The decision to withdraw Johnson proved vital as very little was created on that flank since his withdrawal for former R's loanee Leon Clarke.
There were a couple of nervy moments in the later stages as Wednesday attacked and Rangers sought to keep the ball, and the chattering of teeth in the away end owed more to nerves than the bitter chill.
Gorkss and his team-mates saw out what was a gritty, hard-fought win against tough opposition, and that could prove to be a key victory as Rangers continue their assault on the promotion places.
Final Whistle: Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 Queens Park Rangers
Lee Grant, Frank Simek (Richard Wood 72), Lewis Buxton, Richard Hinds, Tommy Spurr, Marcus Tudgay, Tommy Miller (Sean McAllister 72), Darren Potter, James O'Connor, Jermaine Johnson (Leon Clarke 76), Luke Varney.
Queens Park Rangers
Radek Cerny, Mikele Leigertwood, Kaspars Gorkss, Fitz Hall (Matthew Connolly 30), Peter Ramage, Ben Watson, Gavin Mahon, Adel Taarabt (Rowan Vine 88), Ákos Buzsáky (Alejandro Faurlín 68), Wayne Routledge, Jay Simpson.
Some excellent ball play helped not only assist the first goal, but lay on two further chances for Wayne Routledge in the first half.
His influence continued to be felt in the latter stages as he looked to create a winner, and was instrumental in the corner from which Rangers scored.