Southampton 1 QPR 2: Gregory celebrates in silence after goalkeeper's error seals win

Click to follow
The Independent Football

John Gregory wants "people who are prepared to kick their granny if it means they are going to win". The QPR players were not forced to go to such lengths on Saturday, when Southampton were pretty amenable on their home turf.

Despite taking the lead early on, the Saints handed the initiative back to the visitors, who were enjoying their second game under their new manager, having beaten Hull last week.

Not that Gregory was inclined to share his thoughts on an impressive win against a side that started the day third in the table and going for five consecutive wins for the first time in 25 years. Inexplicably, he also instructed his players to remain tight-lipped after their first away win since March.

They got off to the worst imaginable start, as Rudi Skacel's cross fell for Jermaine Wright and his tame-looking volley deceived Paul Jones, though worse goalkeeping was to follow from the Welshman's opposite number.

Before that, QPR regained some composure and a claim on the game's outcome when Lee Cook found Dexter Blackstock with a cross and the former Saints striker guided his header past Kelvin Davis.

Blackstock, who joined QPR at the end of August for £500,000, made his feelings clear towards the club that gave him his professional debut by not celebrating that strike. The ban on talking did not apply before the game, though, and in the programme he expressed his thanks to Southampton.

"Although I started my career at Oxford, South-ampton were the club that really helped me make my mark," he wrote. "I don't think there could have been a better place for me to learn the game."

Whether Davis has learnt from his mistakes recently is not so obvious. In August the former Sunderland goalkeeper gifted Preston a point. Now, as if turning 30 is not bad enough, he marked the day after his landmark birthday with a horrendous error. He failed to beat Ray Jones while outside his penalty box and in the ensuing challenge ended up in a crumpled heap. The 18-year-old striker profited, his sharp, smart finish from a tight angle rolling the ball into the empty net.

Southampton's manager, George Burley, defended his man afterwards but will presumably find it hard to tolerate many more such mistakes if more ground is going to be lost on Cardiff and Birmingham. Whether he will get Davis to kick any grannies is uncertain.

Goals: Wright (2) 1-0; Blackstock (34) 1-1; R Jones (40) 1-2.

Southampton (4-4-2): Davis; Makin, Baird, Pele (Jones, 70), Bale; Wright (Dyer, 56), Licka, Viafara, Skacel; Rasiak, Wright-Phillips (Surman, 78). Substitutes not used: Miller (gk), Ostlund.

Queens Park Rangers (4-4-2): P Jones; Bignot, Rehman, Stewart, Rose (Kanyuka, 22); Rowlands, Bircham (Lomas, 63), Bailey (Smith, 63), Cook; Blackstock, R Jones. Substitutes not used: Royce (gk), Gallen.

Referee: A D'Urso (Essex).

Booked: Southampton Licka.

Man of the match: Blackstock.

Attendance: 25,185.

Comments