Football: Reeves rises to win dogfight

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QPR. . . . . . .0

Wimbledon. . . .1

Reeves 48

Attendance: 11,059

THOSE of us who have nurtured suspicions that all these exotic foreign imports are the equivalent of koi-carp in the ornamental ponds of Premiership chairmen, will have to lay them aside after this wretched game.

A collection of domestically reared players, if you exclude Hans Segers, produced a desperate spectacle which neither side deserved to win. That Wimbledon did, with a goal by Alan Reeves just after half-time, was at least a testament to their traditional fighting qualities. But for Queen's Park Rangers the signs are already ominous. One win in seven games had the home crowd bellowing: 'What a Load of Rubbish]' at the end. Last year they forced the chairman to stand down.

Only Les Ferdinand and Simon Barker played with anything approaching Premiership ability for Rangers. The absence of the midfielders Ian Holloway and Trevor Sinclair, who both failed late fitness tests, may have contributed, but Wimbledon were, if anything, more depleted, being without Dean Holdsworth, Vinnie Jones and Neil Ardley.

The first half had all the appeal of the RMT-Railtrack negotiations, and even the only two strikes of note had fumbled consequences. First, the QPR goalkeeper Tony Roberts fly-kicked the ball a huge distance. One bounce saw it rising towards the Wimbledon goal with Ferdinand and Segers leaping to claim it. Neither did, and the ball soared on just to miss the angle, denying the spectators a goal.

Simon Barker's effort five minutes later was at least intentional. Moving forward from midfield he unleashed a right-footed shot from 25 yards which beat Segers' dive but thumped against the bar. Gary Penrice, following up, could only turn the ball wide. Wimbledon threatened very little at this stage, being almost as bad as Rangers in their ability to pass without looking where the forwards were moving.

It was inevitable that the winning goal should come from a set-piece. Wimbledon pushed forward at the start of the second half, and soon forced a corner on the right. Gary Elkins' inswinging kick was met by Reeves who glanced his header into the top corner over Rufus Brevett on the far post.

Ferdinand led the fightback. A fierce free-kick and a glancing header brought good saves from Segers, but Wimbledon were more than happy with the deep, hopeful crosses that were Rangers' main weapon. The home crowd were too busy with their disaffected chorus to notice Wimbledon's Andy Clarke get himself sent off in the last minute.