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League Two review: Hughes scores on debut as Port Vale come out on top

League Two round-up: Hughes scores on debut as Port Vale come out on top

PUBLISHED:

19:06 GMT, 12 January 2013

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UPDATED:

20:03 GMT, 12 January 2013

Port Vale moved above opponents
Gillingham to the summit of npower League Two with a 2-1 win in the
top-of-the-table clash at Priestfield.

All three goals came in the first 21
minutes, with Tom Pope and Lee Hughes putting the visitors 2-0 ahead
before Danny Kedwell (21) pulled one back.

Hot shot: Port Vale's Lee Hughes (right) celebrates after scoring his side's second goal

Hot shot: Port Vale's Lee Hughes (right) celebrates after scoring his side's second goal

Exeter moved up to third with a 3-0 win at home to Southend, with John O'Flynn scoring either side of Scot Bennett's effort.

Rotherham are down to fourth after a surprise 2-0 home loss at the hands of Barnet, who scored through Jake Hyde and substitute Andrew Yiadom, while Cheltenham slip to fifth after being held 1-1 at home to York.

Shaun Harrad (67) put Cheltenham in front, but Jason Walker equalised six minutes from time.

Burton Albion are up to sixth courtesy of a 2-1 win over Torquay, who had taken the lead through Ryan Jarvis just before the interval. Calvin Zola (59) and Matthew Paterson (84) turned things around for the home side.

Bottom side Bristol Rovers enjoyed only their second away win of the season, hammering Fleetwood Town 3-0 thanks to goals from Danny Woodards, Eliot Richards and John-Joe O'Toole.

They are now just one point behind AFC Wimbledon, who were held 2-2 at home by Wycombe.

Paul McCallum scored twice after Jo Kuffour had given Wycombe an early lead, but the visitors claimed a point through substitute Matt McClure 18 minutes from time.

Plymouth moved above AFC Wimbledon thanks to a 2-1 home win over Morecambe, who could only manage an 80th-minute consolation from Ryan Williams after Conor Hourihane (10) and Paris Cowan-Hall (16) had put the Pilgrims in charge.

Elsewhere, Troy Brown and Daniel Lopez gave Aldershot a 2-0 win over Accrington Stanley, while Chesterfield eased past Northampton 3-0 thanks to a goal from James O'Shea and a Marc Richards double inside the first 25 minutes.

Peter Leven scored a 90th-minute penalty winner for Oxford at Bradford, who had seen Nahki Wells' early opener cancelled out by Sean Rigg (18).

And there was also a last-minute winner at Dagenham and Redbridge, where Medy Elito grabbed the winner for the home side in a 2-1 success over Rochdale. Andrew Tutte opened the scoring for the visitors on 72 minutes, but Abu Ogogo equalised just three minutes later.

Jose Bosingwa sickened QPR team-mates Ryan Nelsen and Clint Hill, says Harry Redknapp

You're a disgrace! Bosingwa blasted by his own sickened QPR team-mates

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UPDATED:

13:35 GMT, 26 December 2012

Jose Bosingwa has been slammed by his QPR team-mates for refusing to sit on the bench during their win over Fulham earlier this month.

The former Chelsea right-back’s strop resulted in a fine of two weeks’ wages (130,000) and he has also left his future with the club in jeopardy.

Manager Harry Redknapp is furious with the 30-year old, and didn’t hesitate to reveal what his disgusted other players thought of Bosingwa’s behaviour.

Disgrace: Jose Bosingwa refused to sit on the bench for QPR

Disgrace: Jose Bosingwa refused to sit on the bench for QPR

‘The good lads would be sick,’ he told the Fulham and Hammersmith Chronicle.

‘There might be one or two of his pals who might think ‘Well, you know,’ but the Ryan Nelsens and Clint Hills and all the good lads all thought it was a disgrace.

‘That’s the first time it’s ever happened to me as a manager and I’ve managed some pretty temperamental players. I’ve never known anyone to do that.

Good lads: Ryan Nelsen (right) and Clint Hill were among those disgusted, revealed Harry Redknapp

Good lads: Ryan Nelsen (right) and Clint Hill were among those disgusted, revealed Harry Redknapp

‘It was something new to me and not something I like.’

QPR want to offload Bosingwa this January but given the player’s high wage demands – Chelsea declined the opportunity to take up the extra year on offer on his contract in the summer – he may be low on bidders.

Ryan Nelsen thinks QPR can win crucial Christmas games

QPR skipper Nelsen believes his side can kickstart escape from relegation over Christmas

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UPDATED:

12:14 GMT, 25 December 2012

QPR captain Ryan Nelsen believes the team can 'sneak' some wins over the festive season as they bid to escape relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

Harry Redknapp's side are six points from safety, ahead of home games against West Brom and Liverpool and an away match with Chelsea.

New Zealander Nelsen realises the severity of the situation – but believes the congested programme at this time of the year can work in their favour.

Belief: Ryan Nelsen (right) says QPR can sneak some wins at Christmas

Belief: Ryan Nelsen (right) says QPR can sneak some wins at Christmas

He said: 'We've got to start producing some points, hopefully starting tomorrow (against West Brom).

'We've been almost there in a lot of games but it's not good enough – we need some 90-minute performances.

'We've got to dig deep and play every game like it's our last and claw our way back.

'Over Christmas you can sneak wins because the games come thick and fast.'

Redknapp believes keeping the west London side in the top flight would rank as one of his biggest achievements in the game and Nelsen thinks the 65-year-old is the man for the job.

He added on Sky Sports News: 'If anyone can help you it's him. The players have the motivation but he's already made an impact through his man-management.

Time to shine: Harry Redknapp needs his players to get going

Time to shine: Harry Redknapp needs his players to get going

Ryan Babel rapping in Ajax chairty single

He's at it again! Rapper Babel lands starring role in Ajax's charity single

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UPDATED:

13:18 GMT, 20 December 2012

Ryan Babel didn't exactly set the world alight during his three-and-a-half years at Liverpool – but he could yet make his mark… as a rapper.

The 25-year-old, now playing for Ajax, landed the starring role in a charity single released to raise money for the Dutch club's foundation.

Scroll down to watch the video

That's a rap: Ryan Babel (centre) starred in Ajax's charity single

That's a rap: Ryan Babel (centre) starred in Ajax's charity single

Ajax legend Frank De Boer also lends his voice to the cause but Edwin van der Saar opts not to sing along.

This is not the first time Babel has shown off his rapping skills, having teamed up with artist Sway on the UK hip hop star's album, The Signature 2.

He also featured with compatriot Daryl on his track Eeyeeyo, featuring Ali B and Soumia.

Ryan Giggs would buy karaoke machine for Sir Alex Ferguson this Christmas

Sing your heart out, Fergie! Karaoke machine would top Giggs' Christmas list for United boss

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UPDATED:

02:49 GMT, 13 December 2012

What do you get for the man who has everything Well, certainly in terms of trophies anyway.

Ryan Giggs says he would buy Sir Alex Ferguson a karaoke machine – if only to keep the Manchester United manager quiet around the club’s Carrington training ground.

Sing up! Giggs would buy Fergie and Karaoke machine

Sing up! Giggs would buy Fergie and Karaoke machine

Sing up! Giggs would buy Fergie and Karaoke machine

‘I’ve done all my Christmas shopping,’
said the United veteran. ‘I’m organised. I’ve done a bit of shopping, a
bit online. Get it out of the way earlier.

‘What would I buy the manager He likes singing around the place, so maybe a karaoke machine for when he gets home … so he’s singing there rather than around the training ground!’

After so long in the game, Giggs is used to being separated from his family at Christmas but admits that not seeing his children Zach and Libby is the most difficult part.

‘Christmas is just something we’re used to,’ he added. ‘I've known nothing different since I was 15. It's tougher when you've got kids. It's difficult knowing you're in a hotel that night but the kids understand. They’re probably too busy to notice I’ve gone.’

Gareth Bale is not a diver, says David Ginola

Bale is NOT a cheat, insists Spurs legend Ginola (who was fond of a dive himself…)

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UPDATED:

13:18 GMT, 4 December 2012

David Ginola is fed up hearing Gareth Bale being called a diver.

Bale has been booked for going down too easily in his last two games but Ginola insists it is unfair on Tottenham's Welsh winger.

'This debate really annoys me,' said former Spurs star Ginola. 'The kid is doing so well. He shouldn't carry this on his shoulder.

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Going down: Bale was cautioned after this challenge from Fulham's Steve Sidwell

'To be put alongside Ryan Giggs is a huge compliment for Gareth Bale, but one day Ryan Giggs will be very happy to be named alongside Gareth Bale,' said Ginola, who also represented Newcastle, Aston Villa and Everton in the Premier League.

'He is the complete player and he is still very young. He has got everything.

'He is going to be a huge asset for the world of football in the next few years.'

Justin Tipuric and Dan Biggar step up for Wales on fright night

Tipuric and Biggar step up for Wales on fright night

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UPDATED:

22:02 GMT, 15 November 2012

If Wales had put the world’s top 10
teams into a hat and picked out their next opponents, they could hardly
have selected a more dangerous fixture than Samoa on a Friday.

In many ways, it is a nightmare
scenario. Any team desperate for a win — a position in which Wales
surprisingly find themselves after four consecutive defeats — would do
anything to avoid a side they are expected to thump, yet a side so
capable of producing an upset.

Ryan's mighty: Jones will be captain

Ryan's mighty: Jones will be captain

Wales have history with Samoa. The ferocious Pacific Islanders have beaten them twice in World Cups, and even gave them a fright at last year’s tournament in New Zealand, before the side pulled together at half-time and set themselves on that glorious path to the semi-final.

And they have history with Friday nights, too. Their two most recent weeknight adventures at the Millennium Stadium have brought a forgettable draw with Fiji and a fierce defeat by England. Head coach Rob Howley has made five changes to the team who started the loss to Argentina with Scott Williams, Rhys Priestland, Tavis Knoyle, Gethin Jenkins and captain Sam Warburton on the bench.

Howley insists this is squad rotation, but dropping your captain when you are looking for your first win in six games — excluding a Barbarians exhibition — is not a traditional coaching policy.

Standing in for Warburton is over-qualified deputy Ryan Jones. He will captain Wales for a 29th time, breaking the record he held jointly with Ieuan Evans. If he enjoys a 16th victory as skipper, he will leap ahead of Howley with the most wins as a Wales captain.

On that decision Howley said: ‘Sam Warburton is a special player. He is still captain. Ryan has been an integral member of the squad. He is like the father figure of the whole squad and his form for the Ospreys and Wales over the last 18 months has been exceptional.

Big call: Wales coach Rob Howley

Big call: Wales coach Rob Howley

‘One thing we probably lacked against
Argentina, having Alun Wyn Jones and Jamie Roberts injured, was
leadership, and that is about the number of leaders you have in a team.
Wales is not about the one captain, it’s about more leaders, whether
it’s the back three, second row or props. It is important you create
leadership within a group.’

The two players in the spotlight are flanker Justin Tipuric and
fly-half Dan Biggar. This is a first start for Biggar since 2010 but the
coaches feel ready to trust him in the playmaker slot. It is a big
chance to shine, with Rhys Priestland wavering and Dan Carter coming to
Cardiff in a week.

Tipuric has been pushing for the No 7 shirt for a year now, modestly
waiting in Warburton’s shadow.

He is a machine in training, scarcely
breaking breath, and has arguably been the outstanding openside in the
RaboDirect Pro 12 this season. He is a natural scavenger and his bright
blue scrum hat is a blur when he hits breakdown after breakdown.

Samoa have been quietly acclimatising in North Wales, beating Canada a
week ago in a double- header at Colwyn Bay. Their line-up includes
familiar faces, led by Worcester wing David Lemi, who will have a
fascinating and full-on battle with rivals George North and Alex
Cuthbert. Scrum-half Kahn Fotuali’i will run out against some of his
Ospreys team-mates, with Northampton centre George Pisi taking on Jamie
Roberts.

Samoa assistant coach Darryl Suasua is realistic. ‘Argentina playing so well did not do us any favours,’ he said.

‘Wales will be smarting over that and making sure they get things right.
They made a heck of a lot of errors but we don’t believe they will play
like that again.’

Last year’s World Cup match against Samoa was a turning point for Wales. It needs to be the turning point again.

Warrington 18 Leeds 26: Sinfield claims sixth ring after Rhinos punish sloppy Wolves

Warrington 18 Leeds 26: Sinfield claims sixth ring after Rhinos punish sloppy Wolves

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UPDATED:

18:53 GMT, 6 October 2012

Rhinos talisman Kevin Sinfield saw stars after a sickening collision but regained his composure to lift the Super League trophy for the sixth time as underdogs Leeds denied Warrington the double.

More to follow

Fireworks: The players walk out at Old Trafford

Fireworks: The players walk out at Old Trafford

Going over: Warrington's Joel Monaghan evades the challenge of Ryan Hall to score second try

Going over: Warrington's Joel Monaghan evades the challenge of Ryan Hall to score second try

High ball: Chris Riley of Warrington Wolves

High ball: Chris Riley of Warrington Wolves

My word: Wolves' Richard Myler dives over to score his side's opening try

My word: Wolves' Richard Myler dives over to score his side's opening try

Big Ben: Jones-Bishop scores second try for Leeds

Big Ben: Jones-Bishop scores second try for Leeds

Ryan Nelson backs QPR to get back to winning ways

Nelson backs QPR to get back to winning ways despite slow start

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UPDATED:

12:53 GMT, 29 September 2012

Ryan Nelsen thinks QPR will trigger a monsoon of victories if they pick up their first Barclays Premier League win of the season at West Ham on Monday.

Hopes were high for QPR this summer after Mark Hughes brought in 10 players including Esteban Granero, Julio Cesar and Park Ji-Sung, but the Londoners are still searching for their first league win of the season after five games.

Defeats against Swansea, Manchester City and Tottenham, and draws against Chelsea and Norwich, have left the west London outfit second from bottom of the table and they will sink to the foot of the pile if Reading draw against Newcastle on Saturday.

Confident: Ryan Nelson (right) believes QPR can return to winning ways

Confident: Ryan Nelson (right) believes QPR can return to winning ways

Assistant manager Mark Bowen said the players and staff at Loftus Road had become highly frustrated at their 'ridiculous' league position given the quality of the squad, but Nelsen is refusing to panic.

The New Zealand defender, signed on a free transfer after being released by Tottenham in the summer, is confident that it is only a matter of time before the wins start rolling in for the club.

'With the characters we have in the dressing room, it is only a matter of time (before we get the win) and when one happens it will be like a monsoon after that,' Nelsen told QPR's London call-in.

'We are giving everything, the management are giving everything and the players are giving everything. We just need that win to get the monkey off the back.'

Rangers missed a good chance to raise their spirits on Wednesday night when they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup at home by fellow strugglers Reading.

Party time: Reading celebrate their Capital One Cup win over QPR

Party time: Reading celebrate their Capital One Cup win over QPR

Although Granero and Alejandro Faurlin have struck up a good understanding in the centre of midfield, it is clear that the Hoops are still a work in progress in other areas of the team, particularly in defence.

Nelsen insists everyone must be patient, however, considering the vast number of arrivals and departures over the summer.

He said: 'The manager has a way he wants to play and it's been proven for many years that it's a very successful one.

'It just takes time for players to come in to it and kind of get in to the mould of how he wants us to play. That's life.

'Nothing comes easy. You just have to keep going and do the right things as we have been doing. You are going to have your ups and downs in a season.

Down and out: QPR have yet to register a win in the Premier League

Down and out: QPR have yet to register a win in the Premier League

'Obviously the Reading game was a big disappointment but that happens. It's pretty ruthless in the cup competitions and the league.'

Some fans have started to worry about their club's future, but Nelsen insists the supporters must continue to back the team.

'Monday's game is a London derby so we will need the fans right behind us,' the 34-year-old said.

'We are obviously looking forward to it and it really can't come quick enough.'

Anton Ferdinand is out with a hamstring problem, so Nelsen is likely to continue alongside either Clint Hill or Stephane Mbia in defence.

QPR are hopeful that Adel Taarabt will feature after missing the last two games with a hamstring problem and Faurlin should also be fit despite suffering a dead leg in midweek.

Northern Ireland 1 Luxembourg 1

Northern Ireland 1 Luxembourg 1: O'Neill's side denied victory after late equaliser

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UPDATED:

20:50 GMT, 11 September 2012

Northern Ireland had to accept a demoralising draw against Luxembourg after a match they dominated ended with the visitors scoring a heavily deflected equaliser in the 86th minute.

Things had started so promisingly for Michael O'Neill's side, with Dean Shiels claiming his first international goal with a deft finish in the 14th minute.

The hosts had nearly all of the meaningful chances, with three efforts disallowed by the officials and Chris Brunt hitting the post before Daniel Da Mota's shot squirmed home via Ryan McGivern's shoulder.

More to follow….

Box of tricks: Shiels (right) celebrates with Kyle Lafferty after scoring for Northern Ireland

Box of tricks: Shiels (right) celebrates with Kyle Lafferty after scoring for Northern Ireland