Football: Eaden helps to balance books

Queen's Park Rangers 2 Darlington 21, Steiner 37 Barnsley 2 Thomas 11, Eaden 57 Half-time: 2-1 Attendance: 11,054

GERRY FRANCIS and Dave Bassett, old rivals deserving better things but operating these days with one hand tied behind their backs, had to settle for fair shares to maintain their respective teams' recent improvement after a lively set-to in west London.

Rangers, unbeaten at home but with six draws now from 10 matches, shrugged off a long list of injuries to come from behind and lead at the interval. Bassett and Barnsley responded positively, however, and an equaliser by their captain, Nicky Eaden, was the least they deserved for bossing the second half.

The best news of the week for Barnsley, whatever their results, was that Bassett was content to stay rather than take up what is rapidly becoming a poisoned chalice at Blackburn. In putting the Tykes up with the promotion contenders after six wins in their previous seven games, Bassett had confirmed his ability - priceless in any manager - to take players and teams and make them better. Yesterday he brought in Steve Chettle, who was recruited on loan from Nottingham Forest, one of numerous old employers who were unable to provide the financial ammunition Bassett needed to help them reach full potential.

Francis, equally successful on a limited budget at Bristol Rovers - or no budget, as it was not unknown for him to use his own money for transfers - and in his first stint at Loftus Road, has again had to work amid grim financial constraints since returning to his favourite club after a tough time at Tottenham.

He was able to announce the acquisition of a Dutch striker, Samuel Koejoe, from the Austrian club Salzburg for pounds 250,000. With Kevin Gallen and Steve Slade injured, Koejoe would have been useful, but the signing did not go through in time.

"We're delighted in this situation that we have managed to find someone," Francis said. "Samuel's very much like Les Ferdinand in terms of coming into the game late, and he has lots of potential." Another Sir Les? Rangers should be so lucky.

They have defenders missing as well and it showed as Barnsley took the lead after opening them up three times in the first 10 minutes. Neil Shipperley and Craig Hignett, both set up by the former Rangers striker Mike Sheron, missed the target, but Geoff Thomas, another good old trouper following Bassett from Forest, was more accurate, side-footing in a quickly taken free-kick by Darren Barnard.

Moving Tim Breacker from wing-back to man-mark the troublesome Hignett, Rangers found some rhythm and by half-time were themselves in front. Midway through the half, Jermaine Darlington, reverting to an orthodox left-back role, cut in from the flank and hit a strong drive that deflected off John Curtis to leave his goalkeeper groping. In the 36th minute, poor defending allowed Rob Steiner to start and finish a four-man move that also featured telling touches by Chris Kiwomya and Paul Murray.

Francis's personnel problems increased when his captain, Steve Morrow, was carried off after bravely preventing Sheron heading an equaliser. Barnsley took advantage in a furious spell at the start of the second half, the pressure from which eventually became irresistible.

Although Lee Harper in the Rangers goal made three excellent saves from Sheron's header, Hignett's darting run and Barn-ard's drive, he could do nothing to stop Nicky Eaden, who had all the goal to aim at following a knock-down by Shipperley - yet another Forest old boy.

Darlington put Rangers' only real opportunity of the second half too high and his team could easily have lost when Bruce Dyer's back-header in the 86th minute bounced off the bar on to the line, Hignett and Thomas just failing to nudge the ball in.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own