Football: Rangers left in awe of Beardsley's gifts

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The Independent Online
Queen's Park Rangers. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1

Newcastle United. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

IT HAS almost become old hat to highlight Peter Beardsley's extraordinary talent in this, far from ordinary, season. However, no one, surely, will grow tired of replaying the goal which yesterday decided an entertaining contest and provided Newcastle with their fourth win in four games in 1994.

The quality endures and shows no sign of diminishing as Beardsley approaches, tomorrow, the start of his 34th year. Before this it was Tottenham and Norwich who were made to suffer, but it will be hard for him to better his 14th goal of the campaign. It came just past the hour and was a cameo of all his gifts, not least of the speed of thought that enabled him to pick up the move a second time.

Lee Clark's attempted pass struck Simon Barker and immediately Beardsley was aware of the possibilities. He laid the ball to Andy Cole and when it was returned delicately over the defenders there he was, stretching ahead of Steve Yates to blast the volley into the little daylight that existed between the goalkeeper, Tony Roberts, and his near post.

'I've asked Peter how it rated and he replied 'one of the best' ,' Kevin Keegan, the Newcastle manager, said. 'That says a lot because he is the master of the understatement.'

Keegan believes the Cole- Beardsley partnership is getting stronger with every game, in which case the rest had better take cover.

Rangers, responsible for one of only two Newcastle home defeats, strove hard and successfully after falling behind in the fourth minute to a soft goal, but where it counted most the visitors had that extra touch of class.

When every one of their forward players operates in this cohesive, dynamic fashion, Newcastle can be as awesome a sight as Manchester United. Cole and Robert Lee were major contributors, while Clark and Scott Sellars were the central figures in the opening goal.

When Clive Wilson left his back-pass short, the error was compounded by Roberts' hesitancy in coming off his line. Sellars was brave, Cole weighed in with another robust challenge and with Rangers unable to get the ball away it broke to Clark who drove it back in with his left foot. It was the first time in 10 games that anyone other than Beardsley or Cole had been on the scoresheet.

It was hardly the start required for a side attempting to work off an FA Cup embarrassment. Yet even though Les Ferdinand was short of his best and took a heavy blow on the thigh, Rangers maintained a threat while the calibre of their crosses was high.

From such a move came their 20th-minute equaliser. David Bardsley clipped the ball in, evading both Ferdinand and Steve Howey, and Gary Penrice neatly brought it under control before guiding his shot wide of Mike Hooper.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Roberts; Bardsley, Peacock, Yates, Wilson; Impey (Meaker, 68), Wilkins, Barker, Sinclair; Penrice, Ferdinand. Substitutes not used: Ready, Stejskal (gk).

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Hooper; Robinson, Venison, Howey, Beresford; Lee, Clark, Bracewell, Sellars; Beardsley, Cole. Substitutes not used: Scott, Elliott, Srnicek (gk).

Referee: D Gallagher (Banbury).