Football: Allen lacks killer touch

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The Independent Online
Queen's Park Rangers. .1

Manchester City . . . .1

THREE times in the closing minutes Queen's Park Rangers spurned opportunities to snatch a winning goal and revenge for their FA Cup exit a fortnight ago. Michel Vonk headed Clive Wilson's well-placed volley off the line in the 90th minute, and then twice in injury time Bradley Allen had only Andy Dibble to beat, but failed.

Victory would not have flattered Rangers. It was the Londoners who showed the greater purpose and invention and Dibble had been obliged to save athletically from both Wilson and Andy Sinton, even before the home side took the lead in the 66th minute when Simon Barker threaded an inviting ball into the area for Andy Impey, and the Rangers forward was bundled over by Vonk. Wilson, who impressed throughout in his new midfield role, drilled home the penalty.

For the next 10 minutes QPR threatened to run riot. Ferdinand twice went close and then nearly set up Allen with a low cross.

City would have had an excuse for any lack of cohesion; they had to make three enforced substitutions. Tony Coton was taken ill just before the start, Niall Quinn limped off on the half-hour and 30 minutes later Steve McMahon turned awkwardly and had to be stretchered from the field. In fact, City produced a performance of disciplined resilience, marred only by bookings for Ray Ranson and Fitzroy Simpson.

Scoring opportunities were dismally few for City, but in the 57th minute David White served warning with a thunderous header against the crossbar after Holden's centre from the left. And City's equaliser, when it arrived 20 minutes later, came down the same channel. Holden put Terry Phelan clear down the flank and Mike Sheron met his cross with a downward header.

Queen's Park Rangers: T Roberts; D Bardsley, R Brevett, S Barker, D Maddix, A McDonald, C Wilson, A Impey, L Ferdinand, B Allen, A Sinton. Subs: D Peacock, D White, J Stejskal (gk). Manager: G Francis.

Manchester City: A Dibble; R Ranson, T Phelan, S McMahon, K Curle, M Vonk, D White, M Sheron, N Quinn, F Simpson, R Holden. Subs: P Reid, K Ingerbritsen. Player- manager: P Reid.

Referee: M Reed (Birmingham).

Goals: Wilson (1-0, pen, 66 min); Sheron (1-1, 77 min).