Football: QPR fans vent ire at Thompson: Rampant Leeds add to Rangers' woe

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The Independent Online
Queen's Park Rangers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Leeds United. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

QUEEN'S PARK RANGERS have endured blacker days than this, but not that many. As if suffering their heaviest defeat of the season against a vastly superior Leeds outfit was not enough, a pitch invasion brought a premature end to the first half and delayed the resumption as some 200 fans vented their spleen against the chairman, Richard Thompson, by staging a sit-down in the centre circle.

Thompson himself was not present, which was probably a wise move. Extra security had been laid on, primarily because of the reputation of the Leeds fans, but the trouble stemmed from the disenchanted home regulars, ire stoked by Thompson's announcement before Saturday's defeat at Oldham that Les Ferdinand would be in the shop window during the summer sales, much to the surprise of his manager, Gerry Francis. In his programme notes, Thompson denied that he intended to sell the club, but this did little to placate the restless natives.

The flashpoint came in the last minute of the first half, seconds after Rod Wallace had put Leeds two up having weaved through a defence to whom tackling appeared to run counter to their religious beliefs. On bounded a modest streaker, who declined to remove her bra, quickly followed by a stampede as scores of supporters flooded on to the pitch, persuading the referee Joe Worrall that injury-time might best be ignored. Mounted police manned the touchline, but there was no attempt to force the protestors off. Eventually, sense prevailed and the second half began seven minutes late.

It was tempting, none the less, to wonder what might have happened had Ferdinand's fourth-minute shot found the net instead of squirming through John Lukic's grasp and striking the right-hand post. Five minutes later, David Bardsley misjudged Gary Speed's lobbed cross from the right, allowing Brian Deane to get in ahead of Steve Yates for a stooping header that somehow contrived to squeeze inside Jan Stejskal's near post.

Rangers continued to work some neat triangles in midfield but the final pass was continually found wanting, leaving Ferdinand a lonely, exasperated figure up front. Belying their insipid away form, Leeds were altogether more assured. With Tony Dorigo and Gary Kelly repeatedly making lively incursions down the flanks and putting in some telling crosses, the threat to the home defence was incessant and Wallace's solo sally in the 44th minute was the very least the visitors deserved.

By rights, Mr Worrall should have stopped the contest in the 53rd minute. Yates did splendidly to rob Deane after the striker had been freed by Kelly's searching pass and rounded Stejskal, but Dorigo and Wallace linked well from the resulting corner and the unmarked David White atoned for a grave earlier miss to convert from eight yards.

Six minutes from time, Gary McAllister threaded White through as the Rangers' rearguard once against staged a credible version of the parting of the Red Sea.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Stejskal; Bardsley, Ready, Yates, Wilson; Impey, Wilkins, Holloway (Allen, 61), Barker; Ferdinand, Penrice. Substitutes not used: Maddix, Roberts (gk).

Leeds United (4-4-2): Lukic; Kelly, Wetherall, Newsome, Dorigo (Tinkler, 61); Fairclough, White, McAllister, Speed; Wallace, Deane. Substitutes not used: Whelan, Beeney (gk).

Referee: J Worrall (Warrington).

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