Football: Gallen an instant hit

Queen's Park Rangers 2 Spencer 6, Gallen 75 Middlesbrough 2 Hignet t 33, Mustoe 63 Attendance: 13,379
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It was the kind of substitution that managers must dream of. Queen's Park Rangers were 2-1 down and 17 minutes away from a scarcely merited exit from theFA Cup. Then Ray Harford, in charge at Loftus Road for barely a month, produced his master stroke.

He took off Mike Sheron and John Spencer and replaced them with Kevin Gallen and Steve Slade. Within a minute a deep cross from Gavin Peacock was nodded back across the face of the goal by Slade and there was Gallen to head his first goal of the season with what was his first touch of the match.

It was no more than Rangers' optimistic and energetic performance deserved against the First Division leaders and last year's Cup runners-up who had looked anything but Premiership material in the first half-hour.

Spencer had given Rangers the lead in the fifth minute after Nigel Quashie had got away from Neil Maddison on the left before slipping the ball through for the Scottish international to shoot left-footed past Mark Schwarzer into the far corner.

Middlesbrough struggled to muster any kind of response before equalising against the run of play 12 minutes from half-time. Craig Hignett received a Paul Merson pass on the edge of the penalty area and danced through to slide his shot beyond Tony Roberts' desperate dive.

The second half was played at a frantic pace, with gaps opening up at an alarming rate at either end. Schwarzer pulled off excellent saves from Sheron and Paul Murray, before Merson again took a hand.

Breaking from half-way, he picked out Jaime Moreno who shrugged off Rufus Brevett's weak challenge and crossed for the unmarked Robbie Mustoe to stab the ball over the line.

Mikkel Beck, surprisingly rested by Boro but introduced at half-time, narrowly failed to connect with an Andy Townsend cross moments before Harford's inspired double substitution.