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Archived News from September 2002

7th September 2002 17:04


Ian Holloway was a happy man after Rangers secured their first away win of the season at Field Mill this afternoon. QPR beat Mansfield 4-0 with Paul Furlong, Dan Shittu, Andy Thomson and Kevin Gallen grabbing the goals and after a good first half from the visitors, Rangers took control in the second half and deserved to win.

"In the first half we were poor at times and it often looked as if the defence had only just met." Ollie observed. " They are a young bunch, but Steve Palmer was there to hold things together. It's funny that we win a game 4-0 and our best player was our goalkeeper. Simon Royce kept us in it in the first half.

"But I was very happy with the second half. Once we scored our second goal we were able to relax, but in a good way, and play more naturally. Up until then we were very tense and nervous. I can't really argue with the result but it doesn't mean that there aren't areas that can't be improved."

Ollie went on to ease fears of a long term lay-off for Jerome Thomas and also praised both Paul Furlong and Clarke Carlisle.

"Jerome isn't our player, he's Arsenal's and we have to be very careful with him. I took him off as a precaution because his hamstring was tight, but it wasn't the one that had troubled him before and he should be fine. I thought Paul Furlong was outstanding today and deserved his goal and I was also delighted to be able to bring Clarke Carlisle on after so long out."


Rangers romped to their first away win of the season at Mansfield this afternoon, scoring three times in an impressive second half display, after the home side enjoyed the better of things in a lively opening period. Paul Furlong gave the visitors a fifth minute lead before Dan Shittu grabbed a second early in the second period. Kevin Gallen and Andy Thomson scored late on to the delight of the travelling Rangers support who saw Jerome Thomas limp off with a hamstring injury but acclaimed the return of Clarke Carlisle who came on in the second half for his first appearance in 20 months.

The first drama came in only the second minute when Royce was challenged by Iyseden Christie on the edge of the area and when the ball ran free Andy White was unable to direct the ball goalwards. But the alarm for Rangers was not over with Royce requiring three minutes of treatment having come off worse in the tussle.

But fear turned to cheer in the fifth minute when Rangers took an early lead. Kevin Gallen burst down the right hand side and when his cross was poorly dealt with by the Stags rearguard, Paul Furlong hooked the ball home from six yards out.

Buoyed by this excellent start, Rangers continued to press with Jerome Thomas, Tommy Williams and the goalscorer Furlong all testing the home side in the opening 10 minutes, but in a frantic start to a game played in perfect early Autumn weather, Mansfield were giving as good as they got. Royce needed to stretch to tip away a sharp Liam Lawrence strike and then had to stretch to save Andy White's cross shot on the quarter of an hour mark.

As the half wore on Mansfield began to enjoy the greater possession and Royce was the busier keeper with the home side using the full width of the pitch to stretch Rangers and pepper the goal with crosses. But on 25 minutes a bit of Bircham magic so nearly extended the visitors' lead. He slipped the ball past one player before unleashing a fierce drive from 20 yards out that seemed destined for the top corner before Kevin Pilkington somehow got a hand to it and deflected the ball behind for a corner.

Mansfield continue to press though, causing more and more problems for the Rangers rearguard. On the half hour mark Dan Shittu was booked for a scything challenge on Lawrence and two minutes later Terrell Forbes had to clear a Christie shot off the line as Rangers desperately held on to their slender lead.

With five minutes of the half remaining Royce was the hero once again when a slip from Shittu allowed Wayne Corden to burst in to the area. But as he looked to pull back the trigger, Royce blocked out the lights. Two minutes later a lovely one-two between Disley and Lawrence ended with a sharp shot that the Rangers stopper did well to hold on to.

Having been on the back foot for long periods Rangers could so easily have made it 2-0 just before the interval. Furlong raced in on goal but saw his effort blocked by Pilkington. A second goal would have been harsh on the home side at this stage, yet within two minutes of the start of the second half, the killer goal came, to stun the home side.

There is little doubt that despite the lead, Ian Holloway will have had some stern words for his side after a disappointing opening period and his players were quickly out of the traps. Kevin Gallen saw his firm header acrobatically tipped behind in the 47th minute, but from the resulting Langley corner, Mansfield had no answer to a trademark bullet header from Dan Shittu.

This knocked the wind out of Mansfield's sails after a decent first half and it took them until the hour mark to create anything further of note. Lawrence swung in a free kick from the right and Craig Disley, unmarked, failed to get his header on target. A minute later Kevin Gallen also failed to make a proper contact on a Terrell Forbes cross when he broke free in the Stags' box.

But with that second goal Rangers had all but ended the game as a contest and after a frenetic first half, the second was a far more muted affair. Mansfield huffed and puffed in search of a lifeline but were unable to find the key to unlock a more settled Rangers rearguard. With a quarter of an hour remaining, Christie looked miles offside but was unlucky to see his shot cannon off the outside of the post, but generally, the storm produced by Mansfield in the first half had long since been weathered.

With six minutes remaining the biggest cheer of the game came from the Rangers supporters with the introduction of Clarke Carlisle for his first league game since January 2001, but within seconds they were on their feet again acclaiming the third goal as the home side fell apart. Kevin Gallen raced through a static defence before placing the ball under Pilkington.

Three minutes later, the home side's humiliation was complete when Andy Thomson came on for Gallen and tapped home Langley's cross with his first touch to make it four. After a worrying first half for Rangers in which Mansfield probably deserved to lead, the visitors left the pitch at the end of the game to a standing ovation from the travelling supporters. A dominant second half display and in the end, a deserved win.


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