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London Irish 9 Leicester 31: match report

London Irish 9 Leicester 31: Shaky Tigers end up with big win

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UPDATED:

22:19 GMT, 22 December 2012

Leicester possessed sufficient control in the pack and enough all-round determination to cope with the filthy conditions at the Madejski and condemn London Irish to a fifth straight Premiership defeat.

In the process, the Tigers cemented their place in the Premiership’s top four.

The visitors took the lead after 12 minutes following a piece of vision by Toby Flood.

Out of my way: Geordan Murphy of Leicester Tigers shrugs off David Paice

Out of my way: Geordan Murphy of Leicester Tigers shrugs off David Paice

With the Exiles expecting a kick to
touch, the Leicester fly-half sent a precise cross-kick into the arms
of Niall Morris, who crossed to touch down for a try in the opposite
corner. Flood added the conversion.

Irish’s early chances were limited to a
hack and hope from Topsy Ojo, which trickled over the dead ball line,
before Leicester’s forward dominance earned a 31st-minute penalty try.

Ian Humphreys’ penalty narrowed the
margin on the stroke of half-time, but the writing was clear on the
Irish wall, even through the murk.

The only blot on Leicester’s copybook
was the 46th-minute sin-binning of scrum-half Ben Youngs for interfering
with an Irish tap penalty.

Resistance: Marcos Ayerza holds off Bryn Evans

Resistance: Marcos Ayerza holds off Bryn Evans

In his absence, Humphreys struck twice
to narrow the margin to five points, but Young’s return saw the
visitors seal the game in emphatic style.

Flood kicked a penalty 13 minutes from
time before Jamie Gibson obstructed Morris as he raced to touch down
after Flood’s sublime break, earning both a penalty try and a
sin-binning.

In the dying moments, Morris claimed
the touchdown which should have been his hat-trick, with Flood
converting the bonus point try to cap an emphatic day for the Tigers.

It was a ‘disappointing’ afternoon,
according to London Irish director of rugby Brian Smith, while his
counterpart, Richard Cockerill, predictably, was ‘pleased’ with the
battling bonus point.

They were differing emotions doubtless shared by all 10,958 in the sodden crowd.

Release: Toby Flood offloads under pressure from Sailosi Tagicakibau

Release: Toby Flood offloads under pressure from Sailosi Tagicakibau

Chelsea sacking Roberto di Matteo is just another day at the office, says Andre Villas-Boas

Sacking Di Matteo is just another day at the office at Chelsea, shrugs old boss AVB

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UPDATED:

20:36 GMT, 21 November 2012

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has described yet another sacking at Stamford Bridge as ‘another day at the office’ for any Chelsea boss working under Roman Abramovich.

Villas-Boas, who lasted for five days fewer than Roberto Di Matteo in charge of the club before he too was sacked by the trigger-happy billionaire owner, said: ‘At Chelsea another sacking is just like any other day at the office. That’s my interpretation.’

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Uneasy relations: Roman Abramovich attending training during the latter stages of Andre Villas-Boas' stint as Chelsea boss

Uneasy relations: Roman Abramovich attending training during the latter stages of Andre Villas-Boas' stint as Chelsea boss

Hasty exit: Abramovich moved quickly to sack Roberto di Matteo after defeat to Juventus in the Champions League

Hasty exit: Abramovich moved quickly to sack Roberto di Matteo after defeat to Juventus in the Champions League

Di Matteo was No 2 to Villas-Boas at Chelsea before he took over as caretaker coach when Abramovich grew impatient of his Portuguese coach.

He won the FA Cup and Champions League and Villas-Boas added: ‘It’s difficult for Robbie. I wish him well in his career. He has achieved so much in such a small amount of time.

‘His CV is now one of the best in the
world. He is a European champion and an FA Cup winner. It’s the club’s
decision. It’s what they think moves them forward. I can’t really
comment on that.’

Close: Di Matteo was Villas-Boas' No 2 at Chelsea

Close: Di Matteo was Villas-Boas' No 2 at Chelsea

Tottenham face Lazio on Thursday night in the Europa League, where Paul Gascoigne will be guest in attendance as guest of honour as a former legend of both clubs.

Mousa Dembele has travelled with the rest of the squad after overcoming a hip injury but is unlikely to play in the match.

Steven Caulker has overcome the knee injury that ruled him out of Saturday's north London derby defeat, but Scott Parker (achilles), Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Younes Kaboul (both knee) are out.

Hugo Lloris will start in goal as Brad Friedel has been left in London and Yago Falque has also not travelled to Italy due to an injury.

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Reading manager Brian McDermott frustrated by referee

McDermott says referee will regret not spotting Ba's handball

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UPDATED:

18:53 GMT, 29 September 2012

Frustrated Reading manager Brian McDermott expects referee Andre Marriner will regret allowing Demba Ba's handled second goal to stand in the 2-2 draw with Newcastle.

Reading seemed on course for their first Barclays Premier League win of the season after goals from Jimmy Kebe and Noel Hunt in the space of four second-half minutes.

They all count: Demba Ba shrugs off his second in front of Newcastle's fans

They all count: Demba Ba shrugs off his second in front of Newcastle's fans

Make mine a double: Demba Ba hit two, making his goal tally for the season six goals from six games

Make mine a double: Demba Ba hit two, making his goal tally for the season six goals from six games

Ba had equalised in between the two
Reading strikes with a magnificent volley and then stole a point for
Newcastle in controversial circumstances six minutes from time.

The Senegal striker went to meet
Shane Ferguson's cross with his head but missed it and the ball
deflected off his hand past the helpless Reading goalkeeper Alex
McCarthy. McDermott revealed that Newcastle manager Alan Pardew
acknowledged after the game it had been a handball and that Reading
deserved the win.

Fortunate: Newcastle United manager Alan Pardew

Robbed: Reading manager Brian McDermott

No consolation: Pardew (left) admitted that frustrated counterpart McDermott (right) should have won

'It is disappointing to say the
least,' McDermott said. 'I think every angle in the world shows it's a
handball. There is no doubt.

'We knew at the time on the bench
because the ball was going across the goal and he has put his arm out
and it has gone in the net.

'Whether it was deliberate or not, it's a nailed-on handball and in this league you need to get the big decisions right.

'It was pretty blatant that one. But he (the referee) hasn't seen it, what can I say

Thunderbolt: Demba Ba unleashes an unstoppable drive to make it one apiece

Thunderbolt: Demba Ba unleashes an unstoppable drive to make it one apiece

Thunderbolt: Demba Ba unleashes an unstoppable drive to make it one apiece

'You are not allowed to go in to see the referee until half past five. I will go in then and ask him (about the decision).

'He will probably say “sorry I missed it” and I am sure he will be when he sees it later.

'The fourth official said something
about not too many players appealing. The goalkeeper appealed straight
away but that is not what we are about, we don't want players jumping up
and down.

'(Pardew) said they were fortunate
to get the draw. It was handball. It makes you feel a lot worse. If they
score a great goal you can live with that.'

Jumping for joy: Jimmy Kebe (right) opened the scoring for Reading

Jumping for joy: Jimmy Kebe (right) opened the scoring for Reading

Even when Newcastle had drawn level,
Reading had the chances to win but Jason Roberts was denied by an
excellent save from Steve Harper and Jobi McAnuff hit the post.

'When it got back to 2-2 we hit the
post and Robbo had a real good shot which the keeper has made a really
good save from,' McDermott said.

'We played on the front foot, with tempo and identity. With 33 games to play that is how we have to perform in this league.

Aerial supremacy: reading keeper Alex McCarthy claims the ball under pressure from Mike Williamsobn

Aerial supremacy: reading keeper Alex McCarthy claims the ball under pressure from Mike Williamsobn

Tread carefully: Ba skips past McCarthy in the box

Tread carefully: Ba skips past McCarthy in the box

'It was much better. We felt at West
Brom we were hoping to get a result. Today we took the initiative and we
thought we were going to win.'

Pardew worked with McDermott in his time at Reading and was honest in his appraisal of Newcastle's performance.

'I have seen it again and it
definitely hits Demba's arm,' Pardew said. 'I feel for Brian, he hasn't
got the win that perhaps he deserved today.

Skipping away: Jobi McAnuff hurdles Gael Bigirimana

Skipping away: Jobi McAnuff hurdles Gael Bigirimana

'I am not sure I will say sorry
because professionalism won't let me do that but I will say his team
deserved to win, I have no problem with that.

'The performance level from us was down. We can't keep relying on our spirit and a bit of quality to get us these points.

'We have got to find a way of getting
rhythm in our play but Reading did a good job of upsetting that today.
They didn't give us a moment's piece. They were all over us.

'Some good teams will get beaten here and we were fortunate we weren't one of them.'

Hughes to investigate Macheda"s sweary Twitter outburst

Hughes shrugs off another Twitter outburst from Macheda

Mark Hughes dismissed
a Twitter outburst from
disgruntled striker Federico
Macheda, on loan from
Manchester United, on the
day the Queens Park
Rangers manager claimed to
have witnessed evidence of
why his side will survive in
the Premier League.

The Italian forward's
outburst came after the
match, for which he was not
selected – even on the
bench – and led to him
tweeting: 'Totally ******
off. This is not what I
deserve. **** all.'

Rant: QPR's Federico Macheda, who was left out of the squad for the match against Everton

Rant: QPR's Federico Macheda, who was left out of the squad for the match against Everton

Hughes, who said he was
delighted by his team's
display in a tight match,
responded: 'What is he
talking about Perhaps he
has broken a watch or
dropped his phone.

'Who knows what he has done You're assuming it is about the game and not being involved. Until I speak to him I can't really comment, can I

'Why are we talking about a player who wasn't on the pitch rather the ones who ran their ******** off for the team'

Macheda, who has not scored in six appearances for QPR in a two-month loan stint, was charged by the Football Association this week for an allegedly homophobic comment made on the social network website.

Investigation: QPR boss Mark Hughes

Investigation: QPR boss Mark Hughes

Even though QPR have
taken only five points from
seven matches since Hughes
succeeded Neil Warnock and
remain just above the
relegation zone with
arguably the toughest run-in
of the struggling clubs, the
former Manchester City
boss was pleased with a 1-1 draw against Everton.

'I was delighted by what we
produced and thought it was
an important platform for
our survival,' he said. 'I know
how to win games and today
I was encouraged. I thought
there was an understanding
of what was required.'

Lifeline: Bobby Zamora of QPR (out of frame) heads the ball onto the net

Lifeline: Bobby Zamora of QPR (out of frame) heads the ball onto the net