QPR 1 Burnley 2
PUBLISHED: 12:32 18 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:24 24 August 2010
GERARD FARRELL / DZ PICS
By Ben Kosky IT was only a handful of QPR fans who rebuked referee Andy Woolmer as he departed Loftus Road on Saturday evening. But that clutch of supporters were clutching at straws if they seriously blamed Woolmer for the Rs second home defeat of the s
By Ben Kosky
IT was only a handful of QPR fans who rebuked referee Andy Woolmer as he departed Loftus Road on Saturday evening.
But that clutch of supporters were clutching at straws if they seriously blamed Woolmer for the Rs' second home defeat of the season, by play-off rivals Burnley.
True, the match official rejected two penalty appeals in the second half - at least one of which looked a strong claim - but what about all the 50-50 decisions that have gone in Rangers' favour this season?
Remember the sendings off of Southampton and Cardiff players at pivotal points in their respective games, the dubious spot-kick award on the opening day, or the handball shout against Gavin Mahon at Reading?
Never mind the excuses - the fact was that, aside from a highly promising first half-hour, Burnley's passing and movement was superior to that of a QPR side who have begun to improve going forward, but not enough.
"For 30 minutes we were the better side," stated Rangers' caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth. "We got more crosses in than we have for a long time and Dexter [Blackstock] scoring again was another positive.
"I thought there were two penalty decisions and the second one was a stonewaller. In my opinion it's a penalty and that probably changes the game for us.
"We had chances and could have nicked a draw at the end, but we've tasted defeat at home and it's not nice. But this is a minor blip in our Championship season."
It looked as if the game would be anything but that after 13 minutes when Blackstock latched onto a pass from Lee Cook and steered his seventh goal of the campaign past Brian Jensen.
The Clarets goalkeeper tipped a Blackstock header over soon afterwards and Martin Rowlands tested Jensen from distance as Burnley struggled to impose themselves on the game.
But that changed 11 minutes before half-time when Chris Eagles and Joey Gudjonsson combined to set up Robbie Blake, who swivelled and thumped a left-foot rocket past the startled Radek Cerny.
When the sides met here last season, Rangers had been cruising until a Burnley goal turned the contest - and it was déjà vu as the visitors tore through a sluggish Rs midfield.
Graham Alexander, Wade Elliott and Chris McCann all forced stops from Cerny, while Chris Eagles sent a chance whistling just over - but it was his replacement who scored Burnley's second on the hour mark, just minutes after entering the fray.
Elliott's cross was weakly headed out by Fitz Hall to Alan Mahon, who had only been on the pitch for a few minutes, but had clearly warmed up sufficiently as he drilled a left-foot finish across Cerny.
Either side of that goal, Blackstock went crashing to earth under the challenges of ex-Rs defender Clarke Carlisle and, more convincingly, left-back Stephen Jordan, but Woolmer waved both appeals away.
Cerny beat away a Gudjonsson effort that could have wrapped up the points for Burnley and, while Rangers pushed Fitz Hall up front in the closing stages, their delivery into the box was rarely good enough.
Blackstock and Stewart both sent headers wide and Patrick Agyemang almost snatched a point in added time, pouncing on Michael Duff's slip to hit a powerful half-volley, but Jensen's fingertip save foiled him.
QPR: Cerny; Ramage, Hall, Stewart, Connolly (Delaney 45); Ephraim (Agyemang 63), Rowlands, Tommasi (Mahon 53), Cook; BLACKSTOCK*, Di Carmine. Subs not used: Cole, Ledesma.
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