Football: Rangers keyed up by Allen

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The Independent Online
Queen's Park Rangers. .1

Chelsea. . . . . . . . 1

BRADLEY ALLEN may never match his brother Clive's volume of goals in League football, but the ones he does score are likely to provide a stark contrast.

For the second time in 10 days at Loftus Road last night, Allen beat a foreign goalkeeper with a piece of brilliance to rescue a point for Rangers and keep them ahead of Chelsea in the Premier League.

Peter Schmeichel was the victim when Manchester United were the recent visitors, and last night it was Dmitri Kharin, making his first-team debut after a pounds 200,000 move from CSKA Moscow, who was undone.

With two minutes remaining, Rangers won a free-kick that was pumped towards Devon White, another making his debut, as substitute after a pounds 100,000 transfer from Cambridge United. White did enough to disorientate Kharin, but, as the ball drifted away from goal, the danger appeared to have passed. Allen soon disturbed this notion, slicing into the opposite corner off the outside of his right boot. Clive never does it this way.

In truth Rangers deserved this equaliser to John Spencer's 47th- minute strike, as their manager Gerry Francis was quick to point out. 'If we hadn't got that goal it would have been a travesty. I'm sure we'll play a lot worse than that this season and win. Football can be unkind at times.'

It certainly did not smile on Les Ferdinand, who was presented with a series of chances in the first half. The muscular striker fell over the ball once and was then denied twice by Kharin, who stood up to the challenge as Ferdinand bore down on goal.

The visitors' only worthwhile strike of the first half came from Spencer, a summer signing from Rangers, of Glasgow, whose shot was tipped over by Tony Roberts. Chelsea's contribution was sporadic, but it was the visitors, who have a better record away from Stamford Bridge than at home, who took the lead.

Spencer, the smallest man on the field, rose at the near post to a cross from Graham Stuart and beat Roberts with ease. The point at least got Chelsea moving again after being recently removed from both cup competitions.

'Our season took a dramatic kick when we lost two cup ties in seven days,' Ian Porterfield, their manager, said. 'Now we want to just keep working hard and try to qualify for Europe.'

Queen's Park Rangers: Roberts; Bardsley, Brevett, Barker, Maddix, McDonald, Wilson (White, 75), Holloway, Ferdinand, Allen, Impey. Substitutes not used: Peacock, Stejskal (gk).

Chelsea: Kharin; Hall, Sinclair, Townsend (Clarke, h/t), Myers, Donaghy, Stuart, Spencer, Harford, Newton, Le Saux. Substitutes not used: Fleck, Peyton (gk).

Referee: A Ward (London).

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