Ipswich Town 2 QPR 0
PUBLISHED: 12:55 05 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:24 24 August 2010
By Ben Kosky NOMADIC Jon Stead is hardly one of the game s hottest prospects, but how QPR must wish they could turn to a marksman of his means. Stead and fellow frontman Pablo Counago came off the bench to settle a fairly even contest, but Rangers are so
By Ben Kosky
NOMADIC Jon Stead is hardly one of the game's hottest prospects, but how QPR must wish they could turn to a marksman of his means.
Stead and fellow frontman Pablo Counago came off the bench to settle a fairly even contest, but Rangers are so short on strikers that they brought Dexter Blackstock on to replace their only other forward rather than assist him.
The Rs now average less than a goal a game in the Championship - yet they were the better side during the first half and would certainly have improved their tally but for ex-England goalkeeper Richard Wright.
Wright flung himself low to his left to keep out a textbook header from QPR skipper Martin Rowlands and also pushed away a Daniel Parejo free-kick, while Lee Cook's free-kick grazed the crossbar.
"It wasn't as if we weren't creating chances," observed caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth. "The difference was that we didn't take our chances and they did."
Wright kept out Cook's effort early on, but was helpless as the winger's flighted ball sailed over his head and struck the woodwork after Samuel Di Carmine had won the free-kick.
And Parejo's cross to the head of the onrushing Rowlands looked odds-on a goal, but Wright rescued his side - who struggled to find any rhythm - with an unbelievable save.
It wasn't until half-time became imminent that Ipswich began to threaten, but Fitz Hall's magnificent block foiled Owen Garvan and Radek Cerny was equal to efforts from David Norris and Jon Walters.
It was a different story after the break as desperate defending by Hall denied Norris and Walters scooped a chance over, while Kevin Lisbie fired straight at Cerny after a misunderstanding between Damien Delaney and Damiano Tommasi.
All Wright had to do in the second half was palm Parejo's inswinging corner over the bar and, while yet another scoreless draw would probably have been fair overall, Stead had other ideas.
The on-loan Sheffield United striker had only been on the field for four minutes when Counago flicked a free-kick into his path and, although Cerny parried the initial shot, Stead nodded the rebound in from virtually a sitting position.
And the game was effectively over three minutes later when Stead rose to take advantage of poor marking and head Garvan's corner, this time from a more conventional height, past Cerny.
It was then only a question of whether Town would go to town with more goals and Walters squirted another chance over before Counago stabbed wide from a cross that had eluded everyone else in the box.
Blackstock went close to a consolation in added time, glancing a header wide from Parejo's cross, but there was still time for a post to deny Stead his hat-trick as a thunderous free-kick cannoned back into play.
"We switched off from two set-pieces and that's disappointing," added Ainsworth. "I hate tasting defeat, as do all the lads, but in the cold light of day I'm sure I'll have learnt from the experience."
QPR: Cerny; Connolly, Stewart, HALL*, Delaney; Buszaky (Ledesma 68), Rowlands, Tommasi, Cook; Parejo; Di Carmine (Blackstock 57). Subs not used: Cole, Mahon, Gorkss.
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