QPR 3 Scunthorpe Utd 1
PUBLISHED: 15:18 17 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:14 24 August 2010
By Ben Kosky MAYBE it s a sign of the changing times that, when QPR cleared the 50-point hurdle that usually ensures Championship safety, it barely registered. In a season where all 24 clubs are clustered so tightly together, Rangers total of 51 may not
By Ben Kosky
MAYBE it's a sign of the changing times that, when QPR cleared the 50-point hurdle that usually ensures Championship safety, it barely registered.
In a season where all 24 clubs are clustered so tightly together, Rangers' total of 51 may not yet be enough to be certain of survival - but, after the investment of January, expectations and targets have shifted beyond that.
Perhaps there was less cause for exhilaration because the Rs rarely looked comfortable against a side second from bottom and were helped back into the game by a dubious penalty decision from referee Mick Thorpe.
Rowan Vine, who was Rangers' best attacking player throughout, went down after contact with the Iron defender Izzy Iriekpen, and Martin Rowlands gratefully accepted the opportunity to level from the spot.
But for that slice of good fortune, the outcome might have been different, although manager Luigi de Canio declared: "I think we deserved to win the game.
"We came up against a very tough team, but we kept the game moving, passed the ball and when we had the opportunity we took it. The attitude of the team is the best thing to take from that performance, more than the actual win.
"On several other occasions we'd take the lead and it would look as though the team were satisfied with that - today the guys wanted to win right up to the end and they tried to do so."
Rangers were stunned in the eighth minute when Geoff Horsfield won a free-kick just outside the area and Grant McCann clipped the ball through the wall and into the bottom corner of the net.
Patrick Agyemang put the ball in the Scunthorpe net almost immediately, following up after Joe Murphy parried a deflected Rowlands drive, but the striker was ruled offside.
Lee Camp then leapt across to catch another curling McCann free-kick, but his opposite number produced a spectacular save to deny Agyemang from close range after a superb Akos Buzsaky cross.
Damien Delaney is fast gaining a reputation for joining the attack and he also went close with a low effort across the penalty area, but QPR still found themselves trailing as half-time approached.
That changed when Vine went tumbling and, once the Scunthorpe protests had fizzled out, the QPR captain sent Murphy the wrong way from the spot.
Rangers were unable to develop any momentum in the second half, though, with Buzsaky marooned too often on the right wing and De Canio seemed strangely reluctant to try unlocking the stalemate by introducing teenager Angelo Balanta.
Mikele Leigertwood slammed a chance just wide and Vine, galloping in from the left, picked out Buzsaky at the far post, but his volley fell in that window between cross and shot.
However, De Canio's patience was justified with 12 minutes left as Agyemang played a one-two with Buzsaky and cracked a confident finish into the roof of the net for his first goal in seven games.
The Iron were now forced to gamble and Camp spilled a deep cross under pressure, but recovered to make the block from Matt Sparrow - and Rangers broke to clinch victory deep into injury time.
Gavin Mahon sent a ball into the Scunthorpe area and ex-Ranger Ian Baraclough's lunge deflected it into the path of Vine, who coolly chipped Murphy to take the Rs back into the top half of the table.
QPR: Camp; Mancienne, Hall, Connolly, Delaney; Buzsaky (Mahon 81), Rowlands (Lee 90), Leigertwoodl, VINE*; Blackstock, Agyemang (Stewart 90). Subs not used: Pickens, Balanta.