Hateley heads QPR in right direction

Queen's Park Rangers 3 Everton 1
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Queen's Park Rangers 3 Everton 1

Queen's Park Rangers continued to keep the home fires burning in their bid to escape relegation with a second successive win at Loftus Road. Rangers scored twice through Kevin Gallen and Mark Hateley in a first period which they had much the better of, but it was the opening quarter of an hour of the second half which provided the decisive moments of this absorbing match.

It began with Duncan Ferguson crashing the ball against the Rangers crossbar. It finished with Andy Impey's simple tap-in for Rangers' third after Neville Southall had palmed Trevor Sinclair's angled shot into his path. Everton did manage to pull one back, an excellent volley from just inside the area by John Ebbrell.

But the visitors' fight, so evident at the start of the second half, ebbed away as Impey's shot from six yards bobbled gently over the line.

Rangers' initial efforts invariably ended with the ball hoisted towards Hateley. But in the 14th-minute move that produced an excellent first goal, the ball never left the turf. An Everton corner was knocked back by Ferguson, but intercepted by Sinclair who set off at speed. A skip took him past Anders Limpar, a burst of pace carried him beyond Barry Horne. Gallen raced up on his left, Sinclair weighted the ball just right, and the Rangers striker beat Southall.

For much of the first half, Everton had put most of their attacking faith in the long ball hoisted towards the head of Ferguson, rather than the pass worked wide to the feet of Limpar or Andrei Kanchelskis.

Everton started the second half with Michael Branch on for Limpar as a central striker alongside Ferguson. With an extra man up front, the visitors were holding the ball up and allowing the midfield and full- backs to get forward. Andy Hinchcliffe's pass put Ferguson in for a shot that only the woodwork kept out. And then Ferguson sent away Kanchelskis, whose cross from the right eluded the lunging Branch.

With a string of corners and Hinchcliffe to whip them in, Everton were upping the pressure and their growing midfield dominance made one wonder if Wilkins was up to the pace. "I had a bad 15 minutes," he said. But then Barry Unsworth lost the ball to Sinclair, who raced in from the right to create Impey's goal.

Ebbrell's excellent strike came in the 79th minute and Ferguson should have hit the target after an accurate cross from Marc Hottiger, but Rangers were home and dry by then.

"Considering the sort of pressure we're under some of the football we played was flowing stuff," Wilkins said. "We are still trying to do the right things at the right time."

Queen's Park Rangers (4-3-1-2): Sommer; Bardsley, McDonald, Yates, Brevett; Holloway, Wilkins, Impey; Sinclair; Gallen, Hateley. Substitutes not used: Ready, Brazier, Dichio.

Everton (4-5-1): Southall; Hottiger, Watson, Unsworth (Short, 63), Hinchcliffe; Kanchelskis, Horne (Grant, 74), Parkinson, Ebbrell, Limpar (Branch, 45); Ferguson.

Referee: P Durkin (Portland, Dorset).