Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Match Report

Queens Park Rangers 3-2 Blackpool

What goes up must come down, so says the dictum, but Rangers’ rise under the guidance of Luigi Di Canio currently shows no sign of abating. There was, however, more than an element of up-and-down to their defeat of midtable rivals Blackpool, who resurrected their challenge after going three goals in arrears – as well as to Akos Buzsacky’s opening strike, which set Rangers on the road to eventual victory after just ten minutes.

Hungarian international Buzsacky has now picked up nine goals from his position on the right wing, and he could have moved into double figures here with a couple of fizzing volleys. In the end he had to settle for the delicate flick which looped into the top corner of Paul Rachubka’s goal after Patrick Agyemang’s deep cross.

“It came a little bit behind me and I hit it first time. I have not scored one like that before, but I didn’t have a choice so I just tried it,” said the 25-year-old when asked if the effect had been intentional. “Only one in 10 of those goes in.”

Despite scoring twice in the first-half while letting Blackpool do most of the running, the west Londoners were never entirely comfortable, and when Martin Rowlands added a third, to go with a finely taken Rowan Vine effort, the home team suddenly appeared keen to hit the self-destruct button.

“We go three-nil up and then start panicking and anything could happen,” observed Busacky. “There were a lot of positives, but also things to improve. The main thing is we can play some really good football and score goals, although when we are in the lead we can also lose goals, so we need to plan for that. We got the three points and that’s what mattered.”

In the end, Blackpool may have felt they deserved something from the game, with Wes Hoolahan working tirelessly on both wings, and the away support often drowning out the Rangers faithful. Conceding so soon after half-time was crucial, admitted Tangerines boss Simon Grayson: “When you give any team a two-goal start you are up against it. But at half-time we said if we could get the next goal we'd be right back in it – but unfortunately we didn't.”

Goals from substitute Ben Burgess and Stephen McPhee were all Blackpool could muster, and the game meandered towards its conclusion as Rangers made several tactical changes in the final twenty minutes.

Di Canio was understandably pleased to see Rangers move into the top half of the table for the first time since taking over – their rise coming at the expense of Blackpool who slip to 13th – but he stressed the need for his team’s continued progress.

“I am quite upset because what could have been a triumph turned into a stuttered win. This slightly slows down the growth of our confidence and self-belief, something which is fundamental in the development of a team.

“I am more interested that the team plays well and expresses what they are trying to do, and this is more important than a point more or a point less.

“Really good work has been done both with the players who were here at the start and the players who have arrived. By becoming more of a team we can get even better”

Written as a piece of coursework for my journalism diploma. With thanks to Ian Cole for the press pass.

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