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  • QPR 1-1 Blackburn Rovers: Helguson great-chip, Samba header

    Blackburn Rovers came from a goal down to draw 1-1 against Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road in a result that is unlikely to alleviate the pressure on manager Steve Kean.
    Rovers fans have repeatedly protested against the Kean regime in recent weeks and even did so during a friendly match against Pune FC in owners' Venky's native India this week. They had further cause for complaint after 16 minutes when a cross from Heidar Helguson looped inside the far post to give QPR the lead.

    After collecting only four points from seven games to sit 19th in the table, Kean would have been under fierce scrutiny with another defeat, but captain Chris Samba came to the rescue of his manager after 24 minutes when scoring with a header from Jason Lowe's corner.

    A dismal second half provided little in the way of entertainment and the draw was the right result. QPR move into tenth place with the point, but Rovers are now bottom after Bolton's victory over Wigan.

    QPR boss Neil Warnock responded to a 6-0 defeat at Fulham by transforming his attack. Captain Adel Taarabt was dropped after departing Craven Cottage early and Jamie Mackie and Helguson were both handed their first starts of the season in an unexpected front two.

    Inside 16 minutes Warnock was rewarded for his tinkering when Helguson opened the scoring. The Iceland international saw his initial header from an Alejandro Faurlin corner inadvertently blocked by a team-mate, but then recovered the ball and chipped in a cross to the back post. Fortunately for Rangers it floated over Paul Robinson and nestled inside the far post, where Michel Salgado should have been on duty to head clear.

    Having scored his first Premier League goal since February 2008, Helguson could have doubled his tally soon afterwards when only just failing to connect with a deflected shot from Joey Barton that fizzed across the face of the Rovers goal.

    The under-fire visitors, with just one win to their name all season, were a sporadic threat, and had almost opened the scoring after 14 minutes when Anton Ferdinand sliced an attempted clearance onto the top of his own crossbar.

    After 24 minutes Rovers found themselves level through Samba. The defender had already posed problems with his height from set-pieces and outmuscled Fitz Hall at the penalty spot to meet a Jason Lowe corner with a towering header that looped in at the far post. Shaun Derry, like Salgado before him, had vacated his position.

    In a first half short of finesse, Shaun Wright-Phillips relied on power when rifling a shot just inches wide for QPR. When Junior Hoilett did display some craft with a jinking run that took him past two defenders, Ferdinand cleared off the line from his subsequent shot.

    A pretty dismal second half was enlivened on 64 minutes when Taarabt was summoned from the bench. The playmaker gave QPR more potency and he should have scored on 72 minutes when nipping in ahead of Salgado to control with his chest. Though the path looked clear for Taarabt to drive into the box, he instead opted to take an early shot and saw his effort bobble horribly off target.

    Blackburn also summoned David Goodwillie from the bench four days after the forward had scored for Scotland against Spain, and he too made an impact. After Luke Young was robbed of possession at right-back, Goodwillie twisted and turned before rolling in a low cross for Olsson, who was unable to get a clean shot away under pressure.

    Taarabt was busy again after 84 minutes and could have won a penalty. Tommy Smith hung a deep cross to the back post and the playmaker controlled, only to be brought to his knees by a clumsy challenge from Salgado. The Spaniard was fortunate to escape punishment.

    In a brief flurry of action in an otherwise forgettable 45 minutes, Olsson then forced Paddy Kenny into a smart stop when he received a pass from Hoilett, drove into the box and pulled the trigger.

    However, both sides were forced to make do with a point after a dreary draw in West London.
    Tom Adams (on Twitter @tomEurosport) / Eurosport
    Source: eurosport

    Teams Line-up:

    QPR: Kenny, Hall, Ferdinand, Young, Traore, Derry, Faurlin, Barton, Wright-Phillips, Helguson, Mackie. Subs: Murphy, Orr, Puncheon, Taarabt, Buzsaky, Smith, Bothroyd.

    Blackburn Rovers: Robinson, Salgado, Samba, Givet, Dann, Nzonzi, Petrovic, Lowe, Olsson, Hoilett, Roberts. Subs: Bunn, Hanley, Vukcevic, Formica, Yakubu, Rochina, Goodwillie.


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