Football: Saints are so brittle

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The Independent Online
Queen's Park Rangers. . .2

Southampton . . . . . . .1

POINTLESS after two games, the meeting of these early-season strugglers meant that something had to give. Predictably enough it was Southampton's brittle resistance as Queen's Park Rangers eased their way into the post-Sinton era with goals from Gary Penrice and Clive Wilson.

Rangers' unfamiliar cast of defenders had been emphatically found out by Aston Villa and Liverpool during the first week of the new campaign, but surely even Walter Mitty would stop short of comparing Southampton with those two teams. The only surprise was that the Saints got on the score sheet at all, Iain Dowie squeezing in a late consolation to register their first goal in nearly 4 1/2 hours of barren endeavour.

Rangers will miss Sinton for sure. Trevor Sinclair, newly recruited from Blackpool, spent an anonymous afternoon funneling up and down the left wing, leaving the home side to direct most of their play through the altogether more lively Andy Impey. It was Impey, responding to Ray Wilkins's prompt, who optimistically sought to burst between Richard Hall and Francis Benali at the start of the second half. Hall tried to shake him off, but unfairly in the view of referee Mr Dilkes, and Wilson stroked home the resulting penalty to give Rangers the plumpest of cushions.

Victory aside, the best news of the day for Rangers was the return to goalscoring form of Penrice. He showed he has lost none of his predatory instincts when, feeding off Les Ferdinand, he struck a 13th minute volley past Tim Flowers.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): T Roberts; K Ready, D Peacock, S Yates, C Wilson; A Impey, R Wilkins, S Barker, T Sinclair (R Brevett, 75 min); L Ferdinand, G Penrice (D White, 85 min). Sub not used: J Stejskal (gk). Manager: G Francis.

Southampton (4-4-2): T Flowers; J Kenna, F Benali (S Charlton, 75 min), R Hall, M Adams; K Monkou, M Le Tissier (N Bartlett, 45min), G Cockerill, N Maddison; I Dowie, L Powell. Sub not used: I Andrews (gk). Manager: I Branfoot.

Referee: L R Dilkes (Mossley).

Goals: Penrice (1-0, 13 min); Wilson (2-0, pen, 46 min).

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