QPR 1 Blackpool 1

By Ben Kosky IT S a new season, a new start – but QPR s problems are exactly the same as they have been for the last few years. This is the fourth transfer window to have opened since the Loftus Road coffers began to bulge, yet Rangers have consistently f

By Ben Kosky

IT'S a new season, a new start - but QPR's problems are exactly the same as they have been for the last few years.

This is the fourth transfer window to have opened since the Loftus Road coffers began to bulge, yet Rangers have consistently failed to address their severe lack of attacking options.

They have no forward capable of leading the line, holding the ball up and scoring goals as consistently as Paul Furlong did not so long ago - and, make no mistake, Heidar Helguson is not the answer.


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The Icelander appeared to lose interest around the time that his loan move from Bolton became permanent at the turn of the year and it was astonishing to see Jim Magilton select him instead of Patrick Agyemang against Blackpool.

Agyemang's pace would surely have been a better bet against a Seasiders defence that was physically strong, but lacking in speed - yet Helguson was allowed to flounder for nearly an hour before making way for Akos Buzsaky.

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So for all their possession and pretty approach play, it was no surprise that the Rs needed an unlikely goalscoring hero in Peter Ramage to rescue them from the ignominy of beginning the season with a home defeat.

Ramage's 86th-minute equaliser may have been an intended cross that sailed over the head of Paul Rachubka, but the right-back thoroughly deserved it after putting in a good shift in defence and getting forward to good effect.

On the other flank, Gary Borrowdale did well enough on his belated competitive debut for the Rs, while Martin Rowlands was typically tigerish in midfield before an ankle injury forced him from the field.

Blackpool's new boss and Loftus Road legend Ian Holloway admitted it would have been a 'robbery' if his team had clung on to Ben Burgess' goal seven minutes before half-time.

Burgess had gone narrowly wide with a carbon copy situation just minutes earlier, but was spot on as he pounced on Gary Taylor-Fletcher's lay-off to slide a left-foot finish past the unsighted Radek Cerny.

Until then, Rangers had dominated, with Angelo Balanta picking out Helguson for a volley that he swung over and Rachubka foiling both Adel Taarabt and Wayne Routledge after a series of one-touch moves.

In between those incidents, Routledge got around the back and crossed for Helguson, who could only poke the ball against the crossbar with Rachubka helpless.

Balanta struck both the side netting and a post either side of half-time, the latter after the Blackpool keeper had back-pedalled furiously to scoop Fitz Hall's header from under the bar.

Magilton's wise double change, introducing Buzsaky and Rowan Vine, soon became a triple one as Agyemang replaced the injured Rowlands, but opportunities continued to come and go.

Buzsaky's free-kick flew wide, Kaspars Gorkss headed Ramage's cross over and Vine was off target with the best of the lot, a volley from Agyemang's cross, before releasing Ramage for the punt that spared his side's blushes.

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