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QPR vs Crystal Palace
 1 - 1 
Tue Nov 03 20:00:00 GMT 2009
Loftus Road
M Russell

Darren Ambrose's 9th goal of the season earned Crystal Palace a point in a pulsating London derby at Loftus Road.

The Palace midfielder converted from the spot on 62 minutes to cancel out Akos Buszaky's 18th minute spot kick that had given the home side the half time lead.

But undoubtedly the hero of the evening was Julian Speroni who pulled off a series of first class saves to keep his side in the game and he quite rightly received a standing ovation from the travelling Palace supporters at full time.


Going in to fixture Palace were set up with the clear intention of disrupting the home side's plan of playing through the midfield by flooding the middle with a five-man midfield with Stern John, in his first start since August, playing a lone striker's role,

There was also fresh call ups for Alassane N'Diaye and Clint Hill, who returned after serving his one match suspension.

And the Palace tactics were effective right from the off, with the home side unable to really gather any momentum as Palace happily swallowed the ball up in midfield and patiently waited for an opening.

Apart from an early QPR threat when Wayne Routledge latched on to a long ball up the field and used his pace to get beyond Jose Fonte and drilled a shot into Julian Speroni's chest, there was very little for the home crowd to get excited about.

That was until the 18th minute when a seemingly harmless run down the left flank by Adel Taarabt was monitored closely by Danny Butterfield who then inexplicably attempted a lunging challenge inside the box.

The QPR winger went over and the referee didn't hesitate in pointing to the spot. Buzsaky then stepped up and calmly slotted the ball to Speroni's left.

The goal sparked Palace in to life with some late pressure that almost resulted in the perfect response. Shortly after the half hour mark a ball wide by Neil Danns was picked up by Darren Ambrose, who then managed to work himself some space for a cross into the six yard box. John measured his run perfectly, stealing a yard on his marker to meet it just outside the six yard box with a flick of his right foot, but the ball cannoned off the bar.

QPR though should have taken an extended lead into the break late on in the half with two guilt edged chances.

First Routledge sprung the offside trap to get himself into a one-on-one position with Speroni only to side foot the ball past the post, before Taarabt was played in to the 18 yard box with plenty of space for a shot that Speroni saved well.

From there Palace broke quickly with John who carried the ball to the right side of the box and played a low cross that just ran behind Ambrose and the midfielder couldn't get a proper connection.

For the second half Palace set themselves up differently with Freddie Sears brought on to partner John upfront, with N'Diaye the man to make way.

Sears' introduction meant Palace were set up in a 4-4-2 formation in a clear bid to find an equaliser. But that had the effect of opening the game up, much to the benefit of the spectators - may be not for the Palace boss.

On 49 the tactic almost provided the much sought after equaliser when a ball into the QPR box was not cleared and Ambrose was able to flick the ball on to Danns at the far post. But, with plenty of time and space the midfielder blasted wastefully over the bar.

QPR responded through Alejandro Faurlin on 53 minutes when he drew a fine save from Speroni 25 yards out with a curling right footed effort.

At this stage the game had really opened up with both sides attacking at pace. Just short of the hour mark John was denied a penalty when he was felled in the penalty box and while he was appealing the home side went right up the other end Kaspar Gorkks who forced a goal line clearance from Hill.

But in the end Palace's pressure and resilience paid off when Sears managed to get in behind Fitz Hall. The Palace striker was then brought down as he checked on to his left foot. The appeals went up and Mr Russell duly obliged with a signal to the penalty spot.  

Ambrose stepped up and, for his 9th goal in all competitions, sent Cerny the wrong way to restore parity.

Darren Ambrose

And Palace continued their push, this time for the lead and they came close when Danns was found at the back post by a Butterfield cross. The midfielder didn't know how much time he had and rushed his header into to Cerny's hands.

On 72 substitute Alan Lee, on for John after 67 minutes, then forced Cerny into another save when another cross was played to the back post, but his header downwards lacked the power and it was saved.

But QPR were never out of the game and were always a threat going forward. On 79 minutes Mr Russell caused some stadium-wide confusion when he pulled up a foul, signalled by the linesman, on the edge of the box and booked a surprised Davis.

Gorkss stood up to take it and curled it to the top corner only for Speroni to pull off another brilliant save. From the corner Watson pulled away from his marker and headed just past the post

Speroni then pulled off another first class saved on 88 minutes. The Rs managed to play it out to substitute Rowan Vine on the edge of the box and his well executed volley looked destined for the back of the net, until the outstretched hand of the Palace keeper tipped it over.

Palace fans then dared to dream of a late, late winner when they broke with Ambrose through the middle. He then played the ball wide for Lee Hills on the left flank, but the substitute slipped as he received the ball and then rushed his strike over the bar.

Att: 14, 377


QPR :- Cerny, Hall, Leigertwood, Routledge, Buzsaky, Gorkss, Watson, Faurlin, Simpson, Borrowdale, Taarabt.

Unused Subs:- Heaton, Ramage, Vine, Agyemang, Alberti, Ephraim, Ainsworth.

Crystal Palace :- Speroni, Hill, Derry, Fonte, Ambrose, Danns (Hills, 85), John (Lee, 67), Butterfield, Ertl, Davis, N'Diaye (Sears, 45).

Unused Subs: Clyne, Carle, Moses, Scannell.

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Darren Ambrose
A tale of two penalties in a pulsating London derby at Loftus Road...
 Match Information
  QPR Crystal Palace
Goals : 1 1
Possession : 53% 47%
Shots On Target : 7 5
Shots Off Target : 5 6
Corners : 6 3
Fouls : 7 13
Most Fouls : Buzsaky (2) Hill (3)
Yellow Cards : 1 1
Red Cards : 0 0
Scorers :
Buzsaky 19 (pen)
Ambrose 62 (pen)
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