Football: QPR's hard men have the first laugh

FOR a struggling club's manager, there is not a lot to choose between the transfer deadline in the final week of March and 24 December. Both entail a lot of panic shopping.

Ray Harford, the Queen's Park Rangers manager, had clearly decided to respond to his team's First Division plight by falling back on their traditions of crisp passing and slick movement. He signed Wimbledon's cultured midfielder, Vinnie Jones, as player coach and took Liverpool's sophisticated centre- back, Neil Ruddock, on loan.

Having the first laugh, the pair of hard men combined lethally 55 minutes into their debut at Huddersfield Town when Jones chested down Ruddock's free-kick and volleyed past Steve Harper. But Kevin Gray's header four minutes later muted Rangers delight. It stayed 1-1.

"We showed great character and strength and Jones and Ruddock did all I expected from them," Harford said.

At the happy end of the First Division, Sunderland recaptured an automatic promotion place by beating Bury 2-1 at the Stadium of Light. They had a fright, though: Bryan Small gave the Shakers a 28th-minute lead. Lee Clark equalised just before half-time and a Kevin Phillips penalty 20 minutes from the end lifted the Wearsiders above their North-east rivals Middlesbrough.

Speaking of Boro, Juninho might not have fancied First Division football but two other Brazilians are finding it to their liking. Marcelo put Sheffield United on the road to a 2-1 home win against Port Vale to keep up their play-off challenge while Edinho scored Bradford City's winner in the 2-1 defeat of struggling Manchester City.

City's manager, Joe Royle, had brought in the midfielder Ian Bishop and Shaun Goater, Bristol City's prolific goalscorer. But it was a City old boy, Jeff Whitley, he's 19 actually, whose looping header gave City an early lead. Goater missed two chances before Nigel Pepper equalised and Edinho settled matters.

Eddie McGoldrick went through the out door at Maine Road to make the short trip to Stockport but Crewe blighted his debut when Shaun Smith converted a 90th-minute penalty for a 1-0 win. Michael Johnson had a cool head too. His 90th-minute goal won the Midlands derby for Birmingham against West Brom.

Lowly Stoke City lost 3-0 at home to Tranmere Rovers. "I've run out of excuses," their manager, Chris Kamara, admitted.

In the Second Division, Fulham's grandiose plans continue to falter. Their latest addition, the former England international Peter Beardsley, couldn't prevent another setback as they lost 2-0 at play-off rivals Gillingham.

Finally, congratulations to Notts County and Barry Town. County became the first club since the Second World War to be promoted as early as March and go up from the Third Division after their 1-0 home win over Leyton Orient. Bunting out for Barry, too. Their 5-0 win over Bangor City made them League of Wales champions, and the first British team to qualify this season for the European Cup.

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices