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Warnock's Rangers on the march - History
Thursday, 14th Sep 2017 13:43 by Clive Whittingham

Ahead of Saturday's trip to Middlesbrough, we look back at a rare QPR win on Teeside which moved Neil Warnock's team a step closer to the league title.

Memorable Match

Middlesbrough 0 QPR 3, Saturday February 26, 2010, Championship

While a trip to promotion-chasing Middlesbrough on a blustery Friday night isn't the fixture Neil Warnock and QPR would have chosen to return from the international break to, the Riverside Stadium was the scene of one of the finest moments of his first spells in charge.

Christmas had been tough for league-leading Rangers. A remarkable, record-breaking 19 game unbeaten run at the start of the season had laid the platform for what would, as we now know, turn out to be a fabulous title-winning campaign. But Watford caught QPR cold at Loftus Road in a live BBC game at the end of December and that was swiftly followed with second and third defeats of the league season at Leeds and Norwich as well as a draw at home to lowly Bristol City.

Coming, as it did, just as Norwich and Swansea were kicking their promotion charges into fifth gear – not to mention Billy Davies' Nottingham Forest and their seventeen games in hand – there was a concern that Warnock's QPR had perhaps peaked too soon. Was there to be a Keegan's Newcastle-style collapse here. It would be a very QPR thing to do after all.

That January, QPR used a transfer window correctly. Hold the fucking press. They added strength to the centre half position, where Matt Connolly and Kaspars Gorkss were showing signs of fatigue and nerves after an impeccable start to the season. Danny Shittu's return lifted the club. Quality was added to the attack in the form of Wayne Routledge, meaning teams were no longer able to shut Rangers out of games simply by taking out Adel Taarabt with two or three markers. Ishmael Miller, likewise, arrived to take the pressure off Heidar Helguson.

It meant momentum was maintained, despite several of the key figures from the early part of the season either losing form – Connolly, Gorkss, Hogan Ephraim – or fitness in the case of Jamie Mackie and his broken leg.

As the fixture list eased, the results improved again. Rangers travelled to the North East unbeaten in nine league matches with routine victories against Portsmouth and Ipswich in Shepherd's Bush sitting nicely alongside a fantastic night at Reading where Routledge netted a late winner despite the team playing with ten men for the whole second half.

Middlesbrough were in the doldrums. Suffering badly from Gordon Strachan's ill-fated decision to spend the remainder of their Premier League parachute money on players who'd performed well in the SPL, including Big Fat Kris Boyd, they were at the start of Tony Mowbray's reign as manager. A club legend through their dark days of the 1980s, Mowbray would also prove unable to turn the club around and only now, nearly six years later, are Boro threatening a return to the big time.

But that's not to take anything away from just how good QPR were at the Riverside Stadium that day. In front of a united, noisy, enthused travelling support they swept their hosts aside in fabulous fashion once Heidar Helguson had broken the deadlock with a scrambled effort just before half time.

The Icelandic forward, superb all season, crowned an excellent display of lone front-man play with a second goal Devon White would have been proud of – striding onto a well flighted Routledge cross and burying a header from 12 yards out.

He could have had a hat trick as well. Having shared the penalties with Adel Taarabt all season, the Moroccan insisted on taking one at 2-0 after a brief altercation on the pitch. It was never really clear whether they were taking it in turns, or whether the person who won the penalty had to hand it over to the other one, but Taarabt was adamant he was having this one and duly dispatched a deserved third. Testament to the team spirit and Helguson's mentality that he was first across with congratulations in front of the fans.

The Ale Faurlin legal case made the run in that season feel far more fraught and nerve-racking than it actually was. Rangers quickly stacked up four more wins in the next five games, including a last minute 1-0 against Leicester at Loftus Road in the next game. They were a wonderful team, playing wonderfully.

That evening, as the travelling contingent made their way home, a familiar looking coach pulled up outside Darlington railway station and dispatched the team onto the platform for the train south. The very same train several hundred QPR fans were on. The players posed for pictures, joined in the songs, and happily chatted with supporters all the way back down to London when everybody disembarked as one successful group and announced – loudly – to their home town that we had returned victorious.

One of the really good days.

Middlesbrough: Steele 6, McMahon 6, Hines 5, Davies 5 (Haas 82, -), Bennett 7, Emnes 5 (Zemmama 59, 5), Arca 6 (Robson 59, 6), Bailey 5, Taylor 5, McDonald 5, Lita 5

Subs Not Used: Ripley, Boyd, Grounds, Smallwood

Booked: Robson (taking free kick too quickly)

QPR: Kenny 7, Orr 7 (Connolly 78, 6), Hall 7, Shittu 7, Hill 7, Derry 7, Faurlin 8, Routledge 8, Taarabt 8, Buzsaky 7 (Ephraim 69, 6), Helguson 8 (Hulse 84, -)

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Gorkss, Moen, Miller

Booked: Faurlin (foul) Hall (foul)

Goals: Helguson 41 (assisted Taarabt), 61 (assisted Routledge), Taarabt 68 (penalty won Taarabt)

Highlights >>> Middlesbrough 1 QPR 3 13/14 >>> QPR 2 Middlesbrough 0 13/14 QPR 3 Middlesbrough 0 10/11 >>> QPR 5 Middlesbrough 0 97/98 >>> QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1 95/96 >>> QPR 3 Middlesbrough 3, 92/93 >>> QPR 6 Middlesbrough 1 82/83 >>> QPR 4 Middlesbrough 0 69/70

Recent Meetings

QPR 2 Middlesbrough 3, Friday April 1, 2016, Championship

QPR’s defence played the April fools as Middlesbrough won 3-2 at Loftus Road when these sides last met. Jordan Rhodes made the most of Grant Hall’s mistake to round Alex Smithies and give the visitors a seventeenth minute lead but Jamie Mackie’s powerful volley off the underside of the bar equalised on the say-so of the linesman. Ale Faurlin fouled Albert Adomah for an obvious penalty straight after half time but Smithies, typically, saved Leadbitter’s kick. From the resulting corner, however, was headed in by Ramirez and more slack marking at a corner allowed Gibson to make it three soon after. Tjaronn Chery’s spectacular late strike served as mere consolation after Seb Polter had a goal incorrectly disallowed.

QPR: Smithies 7; Onuoha 5, Angella 5, Hall 5, Perch 7; Faurlin 5 (Washington 79 6), Henry 7; Phillips 5 (Hoilett 62, 6), Chery 7, Mackie 7 (El Khayati 69 6); Polter 6

Subs not used: Ingram, Luongo, Petrasso, Robinson

Goals: Mackie 31 (Unassisted), Chery 86 (assisted Polter)

Bookings: Perch 77 (foul)

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos 6; Nsue 7, Kalas 6, Gibson 6, Friend 7; Clayton 7, Leadbitter 7, Adomah 8, Ramirez 7 (Forshaw 67, 6), Downing 6 (Ayala 84, 6); Rhodes 6 (Nugent 78, 6)

Subs not used: de Laet, De Pena, de Sart, Agazzi

Goals: Rhodes 18 (Assisted Leadbitter), Ramirez 51 (Assisted Leadbitter), Gibson 57 (Assisted Leadbitter)

Middlesbrough 1 QPR 0, Friday November 20, 2015, Championship

Officially Neil Warnock was in temporary charge the last time QPR played at the Riverside Stadium, although family issues meant he didn’t attend the game and Kevin Blackwell was the man delivering instructions from the touchline. A horrifying image. QPR, as was their style at the time, started with no striker at all and should have been behind at half time when Konchesky got caught out of position by Adomah but his low cross was turned onto the inside of the post by David Nugent from a yard out. A rally at the start of the second half saw Matt Phillips miss an equally good chance for the visitors but the game looked to be drifting to a goalless draw until an injury time corner wasn’t dealt with and Leroy Fer deliberately handled the resulting shot on the line to prevent a goal. A red card, and successful Grand Leadbitter penalty, the inevitable outcome.

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos 6; Nsue 6, Ayala 6, Gibson 6, Friend 6; Leadbitter 7, Clayton 7; Adomah 6 (Kike 78, 6), Fabbrini 7 (Stuani 63, 6), Downing 6; Nugent 5

Subs not used: de Pena, Meijas, Stephens, Zuculini, Woodgate

Goals: Leadbitter (penalty, handball Fer, 90)

Bookings: Leabitter (foul)

QPR: Green 6; Perch 5, Onuoha 7, Hall 7, Konchesky 5; Henry 6, Sandro 6 (Emmanuel-Thomas 81, -), Fer 5, Faurlin 6 (Tozser 75, 5), Phillips 6, Yun 6.

Subs not used: Smithies, Angella, Luongo, Petrasso, Blackwood

Red Cards: Fer 90 (deliberate handball preventing a goal)

Booked: Phillips (foul), Faurlin (repetitive fouling), Onuoha (foul)

Middlesbrough 1 QPR 3, Saturday March 22, 2014, Championship

Rangers secured a fourth straight victory against Boro when these sides met at the Riverside in 2014 – although the circumstances behind it were rather bizarre. Harry Redknapp's side had been in mediocre form for a couple of months, with Charlie Austin out injured and a rushed collection of loan signings failing to cover for the talismanic forward. Another defeat looked on the cards when George Friend put Boro in front from close range after Joey Barton bottled a tackle in his own penalty area, and even when Yossi Benayoun equalised before half time the home side still looked the more likely to win. And everybody thought they had, with a minute to go, when Friend met a loose ball flush on the volley from 20 yards out, beat Robert Green all ends up but somehow missed the target by half an inch. When it's not your day, it's not your day – second later keeper Dimi Konstantopoulos came out of his area to execute a routine clearance downfield only for the ball to hit a discarded drinks lid and hop over his foot. Bobby Zamora, scarcely believing his luck, walked the ball into the empty net for the winner. The score was given a very flattering look by a fabulous Ravel Morrison goal deep into injury time as Boro pushed forward for an equaliser.

Middlesbrough: Konstantopoulos 5; Varga 6, Omeruo 5, Gibson 6, Friend 7; Whitehead 5, Chalobah 7; Butterfield 6 (Tomlin 63, 6), Kamara 6 (Ledesma 88, -), Adomah 6; Graham 4

Subs not used: Steele, Williams, Main, Morris, Atkinson

Goals: Friend 19 (unassisted)

Bookings: Chalobah 65 (foul), Friend 71 (foul), Kamara 75 (unsporting conduct)

QPR: Green 6; Hughes 5, Onuoha 6, Hill 6, Suk-Young 7; Carroll 6, Barton 5; Benayoun 5 (O’Neil 76, 6), Morrison 7, Kranjcar 6 (Hoilett 61, 6); Keane 5 (Zamora 64, 7)

Subs not used: Simpson, Murphy, Donaldson, Petrasso

Goals: Benayoun 44 (assisted Kranjcar), Zamora 90+2 (unassisted), Morrison 90+5 (assisted Zamora)

Bookings: Carroll 22 (foul), Kranjcar 31 (foul), Morrison 75 (unsporting conduct), Barton 75 (unsporting conduct), O’Neil 90+1 (foul)

QPR 2 Middlesbrough 0, Saturday September 28, 2013, Championship

QPR turned in one of their best performances of the season, hammering another nail into Tony Mowbray’s Middlesbrough coffin in the process, when these sides met for the first time that season in September. With Niko Kranjcar in scintillating form the R’s could have scored a hat full but eventually settled for the two they managed before half time. The home team took the lead after just four minutes thanks to a mixture of actually committing decent numbers into the penalty box for a change and some shambolic Middlesbrough defending. When the visitors failed to take several invitations to clear their lines Danny Simpson whipped in a low cross that goalkeeper Jason Steele punched out as far as Barton and his bobbling low shot bounced into the net via half a dozen deflections in a crowded goal mouth. Just after the half hour QPR flooded a chaotic penalty area with bodies, Charlie Austin drew a save from Steele and young centre back Ben Gibson handled a follow up shot from O’Neil playing against his former club. Austin took the kick himself, went the opposite side the one he’d picked for his match winner at Yeovil a week previous, and calmly collected his third goal in four appearances.

QPR: Green 7; Simpson 7, Dunne 8, Hill 7 (Ehmer 79, 7), Assou-Ekotto 7; Carroll 6, Faurlin 7 (Henry 79, 6), Barton 7, Kranjcar 8 (Hoilett 83, -), O’Neil 7; Austin 7

Subs not used: Murphy, Traore, Jenas, Chevanton

Goals: Barton 4 (assisted Simpson), Austin 35 (penalty, handball)

Bookings: O’Neil 6 (foul), Simpson 12 (foul)

Middlesbrough: Steele 6; Friend 6 Gibson 7, Woodgate 6 (Parnaby 46, 6), Richardson 6; Butterfield 6 (Smallwood 67, 6), Leadbitter 6, Varga 5 (Jutkiewicz 46, 6), Whitehead 5; Adomah 6, Kamara 6

Subs not used: Leutwiler, Hoyte, Halliday, Carayol

Bookings: Whitehead 32 (repetitive fouling), Gibson 34 (deliberate handball) Adomah 89 (foul)

QPR 3 Middlesbrough 0, Saturday September 10, 2010, Championship

Rangers ripped into Gordan Strachan’s team in the second half of their 2010 meeting to secure a fourth comfortable win of the season after just five league games played. Kept scoreless at the break, and almost falling behind when big-money Scottish target man Kris Boyd missed a gilt edged chance from the middle of the six yard box, Rangers were not in the mood for compromise after the break. Heidar Helguson rolled in a penalty, Hogan Ephraim stabbed home another after a fine pass from Taarabt and Jamie Mackie added a third from an Ephraim assist all within the first 14 minutes of the second stanza. Later in the game Bradley Orr left the field injured, and then his replacement Peter Ramage ruptured cruciate knee ligaments, but manager Neil Warnock quickly shipped in Kyle Walker on loan from Spurs who turned out to be an inspired signing and the week only got better with a 3-0 away win at Ipswich on the Tuesday quickly followed with a 2-0 success at Leicester. QPR would go on to be crowned champions.

QPR: Kenny 7, Orr 7 (Ramage 69, 6), Connolly 7, Gorkss 7, Hill 7, Derry 8, Faurlin 8, Mackie 8 (Smith 80, 6), Taarabt 8 (Buzsaky 70, 7), Ephraim 8, Helguson 8

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Leigertwood, Agyemang, Parker

Goals: Helguson 49 (penalty), Ephraim 53 (assisted Taarabt), Mackie 59 (assisted Ephraim)

Middlesbrough: Steele 7, Bates 5, McManus 5, Wheater 5, Robson 4, Tavares 6, O'Neil 5, Bailey 4 (Halliday 79, 6), Kink 6 (Hoyte 55, 6), Boyd 6 (Lita 65, 7), McDonald 6

Subs Not Used: Coyne, Miller, Arca, Smallwood

Booked: Robson (foul)

Middlesbrough 2 QPR 0, Saturday February 23, 2010, Championship

The two thumping 3-0 wins during the promotion season were in stark contrast to QPR’s abject failures against Boro the previous year. Strachan enjoyed his first win as Boro boss in emphatic fashion at Loftus Road – a 5-1 success sparking a meltdown in Jim Magilton’s reign as manager that subsequently saw him sacked after an alleged assault on Akos Buzsaky in the dressing room after a similarly dire defeat at Watford. By the time the R’s travelled north for the return fixture they’d worked their way through Paul Hart and were about to swap Mick Harford for Neil Warnock with relegation starting to loom large. Understandably they put up feable resistance in a dreadful encounter that was settled by two penalties to the home side just before half time. A rash tackle by Peter Ramage on Jeremie Alliadiere set the ball rolling five minutes before the break and that was quickly followed by an equally stupid lunge, this time from Kaspars Gorkss on Leroy Lita. Barry Robson comfortably outwitted loaned goalkeeper Carl Ikeme with both spot kicks. We had an excellent turkey and stuffing roll from a van behind the away end. They also did roast beef.

Middlesbrough: Coyne 7, Naughton 6, Wheater 7, McManus 6, Pogatetz 6 (Taylor 78, 6), Flood 6, O'Neil 6, Robson 8, Aliadiere 5 (Franks 66, 6), Lita 6 (Arca 83, -), Killen 6

Subs Not Used: Jones, Hoyte, Miller, Grounds

Booked: Killen (foul)

Goals: Robson 39 (penalty), 45 (penalty)

QPR: Ikeme 6, Ramage 4, Stewart 5, Gorkss 4, Hill 4 (Borrowdale 53, 4),Cook 6, Leigertwood 7, Faurlin 6 (Taarabt 69, 6), Buzsaky 7, Simpson 6, German 5 (Bent 54, 6)

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Vine, Balanta, Ephraim

Booked: Gorkss (foul)

Previous Results

Head to Head >>> Middlesbrough wins 15 >>> Draws 15 >>> QPR wins 17

2015/16 QPR 2 Middlesbrough 3 (Mackie, Chery)

2015/16 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 0

2013/14 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 3 (Benayoun, Zamora, Morrison)

2013/14 QPR 2 Middlesbrough 0 (Barton, Austin)

2010/11 Middlesbrough 0 QPR 3 (Helguson 2, Taarabt (pen))

2010/11 QPR 3 Middlesbrough 0 (Helguson pen, Ephraim, Mackie)

2009/10 Middlesbrough 2 QPR 0

2009/10 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 5 (Agyemang)

1997/98 QPR 5 Middlesbrough 0 (Sheron 2, Gallen, Bruce, Vickers og)

1997/98 Middlesbrough 2 QPR 0 (FA Cup replay)

1997/98 QPR 2 Middlesbrough 2 (FA Cup - Gallen, Spencer)

1997/98 Middlesbrough 3 QPR 0

1995/96 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1 (McDonald)

1995/96 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 0

1992/93 Middlesbrough 0 QPR 1 (Ferdinand)

1992/93 QPR 3 Middlesbrough 3 (Ferdinand, Penrice, Sinton)

1988/89 QPR 0 Middlesbrough 0

1988/89 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 0

1982/83 QPR 6 Middlesbrough 1 (Allen 3, Mickelwhite, Flanagan, Gregory)

1982/83 Middlesbrough 2 QPR 1 (Allen)

1981/82 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1** (Stainrod)

1981/82 Middlesbrough 2 QPR 3** (Stainrod 2, Neill)

1978/79 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1 (Goddard)

1978/79 Middlesbrough 0 QPR 2 (Harkouk, Eastoe)

1977/78 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 0 (Busby)

1977/78 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 1 (Busby)

1976/77 Middlesbrough 0 QPR 2 (Masson, Abbott)

1976/77 QPR 3 Middlesbrough 0 (Givens (pen), Masson, Bowles)

1975/76 QPR 4 Middlesbrough 2 (Francis 2 (1pen), Givens, Bowles)

1975/76 Middlesbrough 0 QPR 0

1974/75 QPR 0 Middlesbrough 0

1974/75 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 3 (Bowles, Givens, Rogers)

1972/73 Middlesbrough 0 QPR 0

1972/73 QPR 2 Middlesbrough 2 (Givens, O’Rourke)

1971/72 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 0 (Clement)

1971/72 Middlesbrough 3 QPR 2 (McCulloch, Marsh)

1970/71 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1 (Francis)

1970/71 Middlesbrough 6 QPR 2 (Clement, Marsh)

1969/70 Middlesbrough 1 QPR 0

1969/70 QPR 4 Middlesbrough 0 (Bridges 2, Clark, Clement)

1967/68 Middlesbrough 3 QPR 1 (L Allen)

1967/68 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1 (Marsh)

1966/67 Middlesbrough 2 QPR 2 (Marsh, Lazarus)

1966/67 QPR 4 Middlesbrough 0 (Marsh 3, L Allen)

1946/47 Middlesbrough 3 QPR 1** (Boxshall)

1946/47 QPR 1 Middlesbrough 1** (Pattison)

1912/13 Middlesbrough 3 QPR 2**

** - FA Cup

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