We Just Like Watching Clint Hill
VETERAN defender Clint Hill popped up to net the decisive goal in a tight encounter between Leeds United and Queens Park Rangers.
While former QPR stopper Paddy Kenny celebrated 600 first team appearances, one of his fellow signings in the Neil Warnock revolution stole the show.
Clint Hill, once rumoured to be a Leeds United transfer target, played poacher extraordinaire when a Joey Barton free-kick broke down in the area to drive home the visitors dominance.
While the visitors had the better share of play and opportunities, Whites' pressure on the ball and no-nonsense direct style did represent a threat in isolated spells.
None more so than at the finale of the fixture when Rodolph Austin sent a rasping volley goal-bound only to see it skim the upright and ultimately see Rangers travel back to London with three points.
Harry Redknapp went with an unchanged line-up from the side that defeated Bolton Wanderers in the last Championship outing.
Rob Green started behind a defence of Danny Simpson, Nedum Onuoha, Richard Dunne and Clint Hill. The midfield comprised of Gary O'Neil, Joey Barton, Karl Henry and Shaun Wright-Phillips with Charlie Austin partnering goalscorer Andy Johnson.
Leeds United made one change from the side that defeated Ipswich Town at Portman Road with Scott Wootton coming in for his debut after signing from Manchester United, replacing Tom Lees at the heart of defence.
The hosts lined up with Paddy Kenny behind a defence of Lee Peltier, Wootton, Jason Pearce and Stephen Warnock. Paul Green featured at the base of a diamond with Rodolph Austin and Luke Murphy in advanced positions - Ross McCormack played in behind Luke Varney and Noel Hunt.
KICK OFF: LEEDS UNITED v QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Two sides that faced off knowing one would be top of the league come the end of this clash. The hosts, Leeds United were backed by a typically strong home crowd, and like Rangers were undefeated coming into the fixture.
Paddy Kenny received a good ovation from both sets of supporters following his 600th appearance, a stalwart in Rangers' 2011 promotion winning side. The home support were in a typically vociferous mood in the early offing.
They saw Paul Green's early sighter fly over the bar before Shaun Wright-Phillips surprised himself when the ball dropped onto his head from a wide cross - his glanced header didn't represent any real problems for Kenny.
Not long afterwards the visitors had the ball in the back of the net. A flowing move culminated in Gary O'Neil cutting the ball inside for Joey Barton, who showed excellent composure to roll home - it was incorrectly ruled out for offside by the assistant referee.
In a half rather devoid of action both teams were strong in the tackle and vied for possession. Rodolph Austin in particular was stern in his efforts, notably putting in a thunderous challenge on Wright-Phillips.
Several crosses being traded into the area but with both defences holding firm, there was little for forwards to feed off on either side. Danny Simpson sent in a number of crosses for the visitors only to be denied by debutante Wootton and ex-Portsmouth man Jason Pearce.
Mr Atwell had very little to do in truth but persistently broke up play with needless whistling and raised the ire of supporters in doing so. Wright-Phillips was involved if a little ineffective and had one of the better chances of the half when he surged forward only to place a shot well-wee of the left-hand upright.
Rangers were looking the better of the two sides, albeit not by a great distance, with Austin and Johnson both seeing speculative drives blocked by a stubborn home rearguard. Little to report in terms of action in a half devoid of genuine content, but a goal away from igniting the fixture.
HALF TIME: LEEDS UNITED 0-0 QUEENS PARK RANGERS
Barely a minute into the second half and Rangers had a great opportunity to open the scoring. A ball over the top saw Austin give chase and fend off his marker. He brought the ball in from the right-hand by-line but saw his effort from an acute angle saved well by Kenny.
The visitors were playing good possession football, but without ever really troubling the hosts. At times it seemed the hosts were only able to attack when they were gifted the ball by some ill-advised and over-elaborate attempted balls from Barton.
Brian McDermott looked to change his fortunes by completely changing his front line ten minutes into the half. Dominic Poleon and giant Matt Smith replacing Luke Varney and Noel Hunt - it roused the interest of the home crowd which remained silent by and large for the fixture.
Poleon immediately got himself into the thick of the action, but failed to test Rob Green, fluffing his lines in front of goal and getting caught offside a couple of times in close succession. More promising sides for the home side however.
Speculative drives from O'Neil, Austin and Barton never threatened to trouble Kenny, but rather started to dictate the flow of the fixture in favour of the visiting side. O'Neil was replaced by Junior Hoilett and a brave change from Redknapp saw him withdraw Henry for Alejandro Faurlin.
Faurlin - a fans favourite - hardly covered himself in glory in a dismal team performance midweek against Swindon Town - but nevertheless had his chance to impress. He immediately made positive strides, winning the ball in the air and playing intelligent passes.
Austin nearly gave Rangers the advantage when Faurlin's corner dropped to the far post for the former Burnley front-man. He attempted to curl the ball around the ample frame of Kenny, who saved comfortably.
Eventually however the tide told in a one way second period. Barton's free kick was well-placed to the far post and with the ball rolling tantalisingly away from Austin and Onuoha, CLINT HILL
seized on the Kenny parry to power the ball into the roof of the net.
A priceless advantage at a place where not many will achieve points, as the visiting few were given much to cheer about at the fixture wore on. Leeds then elected to make a change with Green coming on and a man once described as a 'sewer rat' (but then signed him) by Neil Warnock took to the field.
For those that aren't aware, Diouf was bearing over Jamie Mackie while he was a Blackburn Rovers player and trying to pull him to his feet - Mackie would have found this difficult having fractured his leg at the time.
Leeds were rather predictably going long - this time shifting their focal point from the channels to the centre of the park - Matt Smith the focal point with Poleon sniffing around for any loose balls in evidence.
In truth Rangers came closer to grabbing a second when Johnson's cross saw Hoilett steaming onto the header, only to nod narrowly wide with Kenny rooted. Johnson was withdrawn for Jermaine Jenas as the visiting side looked to run down the clock with five minutes added on time signalled by referee Atwell.
Hoilett could have rounded the game off nicely when his enterprising run culminated in a wayward shot that failed to test Kenny or the scorers when well-placed. Rodolph Austin meanwhile could have levelled in sensational fashion when his effort from distance clipped the apex of the post and bar in the remaining seconds.
It was the visiting side that deservedly took the spoils in what was a relatively uneventful encounter - it will matter little for Redknapp and his men who remain undefeated in the Championship and moved top of the league for a short time at least.
FULL TIME: LEEDS UNITED 0-1 QUEENS PARK RANGERS
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