Gallen picks up pieces

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Queen's Park Rangers 1 Middlesbrough 1

The presence of Mark Hateley in an English league game for the first time since 1984 was greeted with high hopes by Queen's Park Rangers fans, but the expectations of Hateley's new striking partner, Kevin Gallen, may be even greater.

Last season, with Les Ferdinand alongside him, Gallen made enough of an impact in his first Premiership season to warrant talk of him becoming Britain's first pounds 10m player. This season, with Ferdinand at Newcastle, Gallen has at times struggled to even get a place in the Rangers side.

On Saturday, the Rangers manager, Ray Wilkins, employed two wingers to maximise the threat of Hateley, and Gallen once again started to look the part.

With Trevor Sinclair back in his old role on the right flank and Andy Impey providing a stream of crosses, Gallen was happy to pick up the pieces provided by Hateley's aerial prowess.

At times, only the Middlesbrough goalkeeper, Gary Walsh, and defender Nigel Pearson stood between Rangers and their first League victory at home since August.

A third-minute penalty miss did not help their cause much either, although Wilkins absolved the culprit, Simon Barker, of any blame. Wilkins claimed that it was his side's first penalty in 71 Premiership games and that poor Barker was therefore obviously suffering from "a lack of practice".

No such excuse could be found four minutes later as Barker bundled over Phil Stamp to give Boro a penalty of their own. Jurgen Sommer did well to turn away Nicky Barmby's kick, but he could do nothing to stop Chris Morris poking home the rebound.

Rangers' plan of throwing high balls into the Boro box did eventually lead to an equaliser, Hateley's knock-back from the far post being turned in by Alan McDonald on the quarter-hour.

A 64th-minute header from Pearson that came back off the crossbar would have been a somewhat undeserved winner for the visitors.

Goals: Morris (7) 0-1; McDonald (15) 1-1.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Sommer; Ready, Yates, McDonald, Challis; Sinclair, Barker, Holloway, Impey; Hateley, Gallen (Dichio, 85). Substitutes not used: Osborn, Bardsley.

Middlesbrough (3-4-2-1): Walsh; Pearson, Vickers, Liddle; Cox, Pollock, Stamp, Morris; Juninho (Hignett, 75), Barmby; Moreno. Substitutes not used: Blackmore, Fjortoft.

Referee: P A Durkin (Portland, Dorset).

Bookings: QPR: Ready, Holloway; Middlesbrough: Morris.

Man of the match: Sinclair.

Attendance: 17,546.