Football: QPR overcome Roberts' error

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The Independent Online
Ipswich Town. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Queen's Park Rangers. . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

IPSWICH, seeking to regain momentum after successive Cup and League defeats, were 10 minutes away from their objective when Devon White earned Queen's Park Rangers a point with his first goal since last month's pounds 100,000 transfer from Cambridge United.

A point was enough to take Ipswich up a place to fourth - which equals their best placing of the season - but, despite the Rangers keeper Tony Roberts giving Neil Thompson a goal in the 39th minute, they had done enough to be disappointed with what became their 13th League draw of the season. Afterwards, their manager, Mick McGiven, complained about the fixture congestion which had seen them play eight matches in the previous three weeks. With an FA Cup fifth-round tie against Grimsby looming on Saturday, he was less than thrilled to lose his top scorer, Chris Kiwomya, at half-time through a pulled thigh muscle. Would he be OK for Saturday? 'Possibly not,' McGiven said darkly. 'It's a blow.'

Another blow for McGiven was the QPR substitution. White, who the Rangers manager Gerry Francis knows of old having signed him originally for Bristol Rovers from Boston United, had been on for 25 minutes when he drove home David Bardsley's low right-wing cross at the far post. 'Devon thrives on those kind of crosses,' he said. 'He got 60 goals for me like that at Rovers. But you don't get a finished article for pounds 100,000 these days. We are working on him.'

On a pitch very far from the plush Portman Road surfaces of recent memory - perhaps Ipswich should take some advice from their sponsors, Fisons - a largely featureless match took on a dramatic aspect after 23 minutes when the Rangers left-back, Rufus Brevett, headed a cross from the Ipswich left savagely towards his own goal, narrowly missing the post.

Five minutes from half-time, Ipswich received a gesture of even greater worth from their visitors. Jason Dozzell, the home side's major influence in midfield, switched an attack swiftly to the left to Neil Thompson. The Ipswich left-back struck a powerful low drive which appeared destined to be collected by the Welsh international, Roberts, who was standing on his line in the middle of goal. But Roberts found himself clutching air as the ball, which seemed to shift in flight, went past him.

Ipswich Town: Baker; Johnson, Thompson, Stockwell, Wark, Linighan, Williams, Genchev, Whitton, Dozzell, Kiwomya (Bozinoski, h-t). Substitutes not used: Whelan, Forrest (gk).

Queen's Park Rangers: Roberts; Bardsley, Brevett, Doyle (White, 55), Maddix, McDonald, Wilson, Impey (Peacock, 86), Ferdinand, Allen, Sinton. Substitute not used: Stejskal (gk).

Referee: R Milford (Bristol).

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New England strip,

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