Football: Gallen returns with style

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The Independent Online
Queen's Park Rangers 2 Middlesbrough 2

During the last 18 months Kevin Gallen has become so much a forgotten man that it got to the point where he was being stopped in the street and asked if he had retired.

With a cruciate ligament injury that might once have been the case, but thanks to the wonders of modern medicine he was able to return on Saturday and score his first goal in all that time, much to the relief of Rangers fans and not least the once promising England Under-21 striker himself.

His goal was the result of an inspired double substitution by manager Ray Harford - what else could it be when Gallen and Steve Slade combined to score within a minute of coming on, thereby earning QPR a well deserved replay up at the Riverside tomorrow week?

The diminutive pair whom they replaced, John Spencer and Mike Sheron, had done all that could be asked of them but neither probably would have been capable of winning the back post header which Slade did, enabling Gallen to finish with a header of his own.

On the deck, the twosome, along with another bantam, Gavin Peacock, had cut Middlesbrough to ribbons in the first half hour as last year's finalists suffered a nasty touch of deja vu just half a dozen miles from Wembley. But unlike last May, Boro had the huge presence of goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer to save them and the Australian prevented Rangers from running away with the game after Spencer had scored in the sixth minute.

Nevertheless, the new Middlesbrough are made of sterner stuff than the old, if lacking the ingenuity of Juninho. Neither do all their remaining foreigners yearn for sunnier climes, though joining the absconder Emerson on Copacabana beach must have had its appeal to a few of them in Saturday's wind and rain.

The Bolivian, Jaime Moreno, in his second spell at the club on loan from Washington DC Utd, decided that the best way to keep warm was to run like blazes and he had a hand in both the goals with which Boro overtook Rangers before Gallen picked up the pieces of his career.

Goals: Spencer (5) 1-0; Hignett (33) 1-1; Mustoe (63) 1-2; Gallen (74) 2-2.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Roberts; Yates, Maddix, Ready, Brevett; Sinclair, Peacock, Murray, Quashie; Spencer (Slade, 73), Sheron (Gallen, 73). Substitutes not used: Barker, Perry, Harper (gk).

Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Schwarzer; Maddison, Vickers, Pearson, Kinder; Stamp (Beck, h-t), Mustoe, Townsend, Hignett; Moreno, Merson. Substitutes not used: Liddle, Harrison, Campbell, S Baker (gk).

Referee: P Durkin (Portland).

Bookings: Rangers: Sinclair.

Man of the match: Schwarzer.

Attendance: 13,379.