Crystal Palace 0 QPR 2
By Ben Kosky NO disrespect towards Damion Stewart, but his horrendous injury may have indirectly helped to banish QPR s lingering fears of relegation. Thankfully, the Jamaican international is stable in hospital after his brutal clash of heads with Calvin
By Ben Kosky
NO disrespect towards Damion Stewart, but his horrendous injury may have indirectly helped to banish QPR's lingering fears of relegation.
Thankfully, the Jamaican international is stable in hospital after his brutal clash of heads with Calvin Andrew, just seconds into Saturday's crucial derby clash.
It prompted a reshuffle that worked to perfection as Peter Ramage excelled alongside Kaspars Gorkss in the heart of defence, Mikele Leigertwood moved to right-back to negate the threat of Darren Ambrose, and Akos Buzsaky, switched to a central role, produced one of his best performances for some time.
Left-back Dusko Tosic turned in a highly promising display on his debut and, quite simply, not one Rangers player put a foot wrong as they totally dominated Neil Warnock's former team.
And the game also illustrated the motivational skills of the two managers - Warnock had his men visibly fired up while Paul Hart, to the surprise of few QPR fans, appeared incapable of inspiring the woeful Eagles.
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Rangers quickly seized control after Stewart's enforced departure, taking an 11th-minute lead when Hogan Ephraim's cross was half-cleared and Tamas Priskin teed up Buzsaky for a 25-yard volley that zipped between the startled Julian Speroni and his right-hand post.
Jay Simpson, who replaced Stewart, might have doubled the lead when he ran onto Buzsaky's pass and held off two defenders, but steered the finish wide.
Rangers were first to the ball every time and Buzsaky and Taarabt, both gifted too much space by a lacklustre Palace, fired further chances over as the game drifted towards half-time.
It was hard to tell if Radek Cerny, making his first appearance in three months, was showing any signs of rust - he had nothing to do apart from clawing away a hopeful Clint Hill drive late in the first half.
There was a brief scare for the visitors soon after the restart when Danny Butterfield played Neil Danns through, but the Palace midfielder dragged his chance wide with just Cerny to beat.
And the Eagles were sunk when Kaspars Gorkss doubled the Rs' lead just before the hour, beating Speroni with ease as he headed home Taarabt's corner.
From that point on, a first away win against Palace for 21 years was never in doubt - the only question was whether jubilant Rangers could rub their hosts' noses in it.
Tamas Priskin should have added a third goal, finding himself in space but delaying the finish too long, while Simpson stabbed an opportunity fractionally wide from Taarabt's low cross in the last minute.
More importantly, though, Rangers never lost concentration at the other end of the pitch and restricted their hosts to half-chances for Danns and Scannell, neither of which really caused Cerny to break sweat.