Rowlands scorcher so sweet for Sousa

QPR 1 Wolves 0
Click to follow
The Independent Football

Paulo Sousa has only been the Queens Park Rangers manager for a fortnight, but on the back of an unbeaten start, crowned by this impressive and deserved win over the Championship leaders, he has started to instil some belief in his players and supporters.

The Portuguese had kept the west London club on the coattails of the play-off zone with a win and draw in his first two games and, thanks to this win, they now stand just outside it, on goal difference, thanks to Martin Rowlands' goal.

With 63 minutes gone, the hosts had just survived Wolverhampton's best chance when Sylvan Ebanks-Blake glanced a header six yards out that should have had more power.

However, Radek Cerny still had to make a good save, diving backwards and stopping the ball on the line. From the ensuing break, Rowlands received the ball 20 yards out and thumped his shot over Wayne Hennessey in the visitors' goal.

Sousa was rightfully happy. "This was a great performance but more than that, we won three points. This was very important and near perfection. Beating the team top of the league was even more impressive," he said.

It was the least QPR deserved for having dominated Mick McCarthy's Wolves, whose six-point lead at the top of the table at the start of the day was trimmed to three by Birmingham's victory against Watford. Not that McCarthy was about to get too down. "We played badly for 55 minutes but well for the rest. We are top and people want to beat us."

This was Wolves' first defeat in nine league games. They were hesitant in defence, epitomised by Michael Mancienne, the promising central defender on loan from Chelsea, who was nervous throughout, including letting a pass slip under his foot which should have seen Patrick Agyemang score.

After half-time, Wolves perked up, with Cerny pushing a David Jones free-kick on to the post and the Czech then dived full length to keep out two long-range efforts from substitute Sam Vokes but it was Rowlands whose aim was truest from distance.