Woeful QPR turned over by Ipswich
By Jack Morris
Saturday 21 Feb 2009 20:21:00
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Pablo Counago and Jon Walters reignited Ipswich's Championship play-off push with superb second-half strikes to see off QPR 3-1 at Loftus Road.

The two sides, with billionaire owners and lofty ambitions but currently treading water just outside the top six, were locked at 1-1 at the interval.

But Counago pounced on a mistake by Gavin Mahon to fire the visitors into the lead and substitute Walters killed Rangers off to lift some of the pressure on Town manager Jim Magilton, who has been under fire from his own supporters lately.

By contrast, it is the natives at Loftus Road who are becoming restless, barracking their hapless skipper Mahon and chanting 'you don't know what you're doing' when boss Paulo Sousa took off their best player - Liam Miller - towards the end.

Ipswich are now just two points from the play-off spots while Rangers, falling to defeat for the first time in 10 games, saw their own promotion hopes suffer a dent.

England boss Fabio Capello, fresh from watching Chelsea's win at Aston Villa, made it back to west London in time to enjoy the hospitality of Rangers chairman Flavio Briatore.

And the two Italians were treated to a goal by one of their countrymen after just two minutes.

Former Tottenham winger Wayne Routledge wriggled past Ben Thatcher down the left and crossed to the near-post, from where on-loan Fiorentina striker Samuel Di Carmine's first-time effort flew past Richard Wright and into the net.

But Ipswich, whose away form is up there with the best in the division this season, dragged themselves level in the 14th minute.

David Norris' initial shot was wayward, but Counago helped the ball into the path of Jon Stead who tucked away his 10th goal of the season.

Rangers had a huge let-off in the 35th minute when Mahon attempted to head the ball back to Lee Camp, having not noticed Counago lurking.

The Spaniard fed the ball back to Stead, but his strike partner placed his shot wide with the goal gaping.

Rangers midfielder Mikele Leigertwood was claiming a penalty at the start of the second half when he felt he was impeded by Norris as he shaped to shoot, but referee Stuart Attwell - having one of his quieter games - waved away the appeal.

But it was Ipswich who took the lead on the hour following another mistake by Mahon, who dawdled on the ball and allowed Counago to rob him, stride into the penalty area and curl a superb finish past Camp.

And 10 minutes later substitute Walters latched onto a stunning cross-field pass from Alan Quinn, brought the ball down with his first touch and lashed it past Camp with his second.



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