Tag Archives: stephane

QPR 1 Wigan 1 – match report

QPR 1 Wigan 1: Dramatic Maloney strike denies 10-man hosts after Remy's wonder goal

PUBLISHED:

17:05 GMT, 7 April 2013

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UPDATED:

17:19 GMT, 7 April 2013

Shaun Maloney's stunning late free-kick earned Wigan a dramatic draw against 10-man QPR as Harry Redkannp's men were denied a crucial three points in their bid to beat the drop.

The home side were reduced to 10 men in the first half when Bobby Zamora was sent off for a high kick on Jordi Gomez but French striker Loic Remy looked to have won the game for QPR when he produced produced a sublime finish at the end of an 85th-minute counter-attack.

But Maloney's free-kick in injury time rescued a point for Roberto Martinez's men.

More to follow

Drama: Shaun Maloney's late free-kick rescued a draw for Wigan at Loftus Road

Drama: Shaun Maloney's late free-kick rescued a draw for Wigan at Loftus Road

MATCH FACTS

QPR: Julio Cesar, Bosingwa, Samba, Hill, Traore (Onuoha 46), Townsend, Jenas, Mbia, Hoilett (Taarabt 56), Remy (Mackie 88), Zamora.

Subs Not Used: Green, Park, Granero, Ben Haim.

Sent Off: Zamora (21).

Booked: Remy, Samba.

Goals: Remy 85.

Wigan: Robles, Alcaraz, Scharner, Figueroa (Espinoza 88), Boyce, McCarthy, Gomez, Beausejour (McArthur 61), McManaman (Di Santo 67), Kone, Maloney.

Subs Not Used: Al Habsi, Caldwell, Henriquez, Stam.

Booked: McCarthy, Alcaraz, Figueroa.

Goals: Maloney 90.

Att: 16,658

Ref: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire).

Click for the latest Premier League table, results and fixtures

High: Bobby Zamora was sent off in the first half for this kick on Jordi Gomez

High: Bobby Zamora was sent off in the first half for this kick on Jordi Gomez

High: Bobby Zamora was sent off in the first half for this kick on Jordi Gomez


Uproar: QPR players surround referee Phil Dowd after Zamora's challenge

Uproar: QPR players surround referee Phil Dowd after Zamora's challenge


Red: Dowd shows Zamora the exit after sending the striker off

Red: Dowd shows Zamora the exit after sending the striker off


Ahead: Loic Remy celebrates his late goal with team-mate Stephane Mbia after putting QPR 1-0 up

Ahead: Loic Remy celebrates his late goal with team-mate Stephane Mbia after putting QPR 1-0 up


Delight: The QPR bench celebrate Remy's late goal

Delight: The QPR bench celebrate Remy's late goal

Remaining Premier League fixtures

QPR

Apr 13 Everton (A), 3pm
Apr 20 Stoke (H), 3pm
Apr 28 Reading (A), 1.30pm
May 4 Arsenal (H), 3pm
May 12 Newcastle (3pm)
May 19 Liverpool (A), 4pm

WIGAN

Apr 17 Man City (A), 7.45pm
Apr 20 West Ham (A), 3pm
Apr 27 Tottenham (H), 3pm
May 4 West Brom (A), 3pm
May 7 Swansea (H), 7.45pm
May 12 Arsenal (A), 3pm
May 19 Aston Villa (H), 4pm

Is this what Chelsea fans have been waiting for? 7m flop Marin launches into horror challenge 4 minutes into first league start

Is this what Chelsea fans have been waiting for Marin launches into horror challenge… just four minutes into his first league start, and SIX MONTHS after joining for 7m

By
Frank Foster

PUBLISHED:

21:40 GMT, 2 January 2013

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UPDATED:

22:14 GMT, 2 January 2013

Chelsea winger Marko Marin was lucky to escape a red card in the
opening stages of his first Premier League start against QPR on Wednesday night.

The former Werder Bremen man has struggled to break into
the first team at Stamford Bridge since his 7m move to the European
champions in the summer.

And he was fortunate not to heading back to the dressing room after only four minutes against relegation strugglers QPR.

Lucky boy: Marin was only cautioned after flying into a studs up challenge on Stephane Mbia

Lucky boy: Marin was only cautioned after flying into a studs up challenge on Stephane Mbia


Fringe player: The German international has struggled to make an impact for his new side since his 7m move in the summer

Fringe player: The German international has struggled to make an impact for his new side since his 7m move in the summer

Having lost control of the ball on the right hand side, the German lunged at Stephane Mbia with all studs showing.

Despite the severity of the challenge referee Lee Mason opted to only produce a yellow card, a decision that would surely have angered QPR boss Harry Redknapp as his side looked to enhance their chances of survival with a victory at Stamford Bridge.

For all the world though it looked like Mbia was lucky to
escape a serious injury and the commentary team on 5 live were convinced
that the tackle deserved a sending off.

Referee Lee Mason decided only to show Marin a yellow card for the challenge

Referee Lee Mason decided only to show Marin a yellow card for the challenge

Robbie Savage said the player should certainly have been sent off. And former Tottenham boss David Pleat said: ‘It’s reckless, he’s
lucky.'

Having not appeared in the league since Chelsea's goalless draw with
Fulham on November 28, Marin has been rumoured to be close to
loan switch back to the Bundesliga with Beyer Levekusen.

The presence of fellow new boys Eden Hazard, Oscar and Victor Moses
have limited the opportunities for Marin to make an impact for Rafa Benitez' side.

It has been reported in recent weeks that the 23-year-old is set to join Beyer Levekusen on loan this month

It has been reported in recent weeks that the 23-year-old is set to join Beyer Levekusen on loan this month

Injuries have also played a part in the 23-year-old's lack of playing
time and while stressing he sees his future as a Chelsea player, the
German did not entirely rule out a loan move in the January transfer
window.

'I could imagine a loan deal,' he said. 'It could be
an ideal option to get me playing more regularly and help me with my
general development.

'But I think at this time it is out of the question
and I won’t be heading back to the Bundesliga.'

Marin's miserable start to life at Chelsea continued when he was substituted for Hazard after a n hour of the match, which QPR surprisingly won 1-0.

Queens Park Rangers 1 Aston Villa 1 – Match report

QPR 1 Aston Villa 1: Redknapp forced to wait for first win at R's after Loftus Road stalemate

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UPDATED:

18:21 GMT, 1 December 2012

Queens Park Rangers equalled the Premier League's longest ever winless start to a season today as they failed to overcome Aston Villa in Harry Redknapp's first home match at the helm.

The west Londoners have now failed to a collect victory from any of their opening 15 matches – an abysmal start that is only matched by the Swindon side of 1993/94.

Much had been expected from QPR today in what was Redknapp's first match at Loftus Road since replacing Mark Hughes at the helm.

One up: Brett Holman scored the opener for Aston Villa

One up: Brett Holman scored the opener for Aston Villa

MATCH FACTS

QPR: Green, Traore, Hill, Nelsen, Bosingwa, Diakite (Park Ji-sung 69), Taarabt, Wright-Phillips, Granero (Park Ji-sung 46), M'bia (Derry 39), Mackie

Subs not used: Murphy, Ferdinand, Fabio, Cisse, Hoilett

Booked: Derry

Goal: Mackie 18

Aston Villa: Guzan, Clark, Lichaj, Baker, Lowton, Westwood, Bannan (Delph 67), Herd (Williams 65), Agbonlahor, Holman (El Ahmadi 70), Benteke

Subs not used: Given, Ireland, Bent, Weimann

Booked: Baker, Lowton

Goal: Holman 8

Referee: H Webb

Attendance: 17,387

The latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

The Rs boss had never previously lost
a Premier League home debut as a manager, but that record looked under
serious threat after just eight minutes when Brett Holman fired Villa
ahead from distance.

Jamie Mackie's superb header dragged
QPR level after 18 minutes but an entertaining first half was
overshadowed by a nasty injury sustained by Stephane Mbia.

The Cameroonian went to hospital for a
precautionary check-up, with fellow midfielder Samba Diakite also
forced off injured in a second half in which neither side were able to
find a winner.

QPR came into this afternoon's match
eight points adrift of the safety and their defensive frailties were
quickly exposed as Christian Benteke wriggled free in the box, only to
be denied by a last-ditch Clint Hill challenge.

The effort appeared to put QPR on
edge and only eight minutes in they found themselves behind, with Holman
striking a fierce 25-yard drive that Robert Green, making his first
start since September 1, was unable to keep out in front of the 1,632
visiting fans.

Picking his spot: Holman finds the gap to put Villa into the lead

Picking his spot: Holman finds the gap to put Villa into the lead

Hit back: Jamie Mackie equalised for Redknapp's side

Hit back: Jamie Mackie equalised for Redknapp's side

Not again: Redknapp watched his side draw their second in a row since his arrival

Not again: Redknapp watched his side draw their second in a row since his arrival

Impact sub Park Ji-Sung could not create the killer chance

Impact sub Park Ji-Sung could not create the killer chance

It was the worst possible start for
the nervy home side, who saw Mbia head wide and then Diakite lash over
as they attempted to make immediate amends.

QPR did manage to eke out a leveller
10 minutes after going behind, though, as Mackie met a Diakite cross
with a superb looping header that beat Brad Guzan.

Benteke thought he had put Villa back
in front in the 20th minute but was denied by the offside flag, before
play returned to the other end.

Shaun Wright-Phillips was put through
one-on-one with Guzan by Esteban Granero's exquisite pass, although he
failed to find a way past the American.

Worry: Stephane Mbia was taken to hospital after sustaining a neck injury

Worry: Stephane Mbia was taken to hospital after sustaining a neck injury

Worry: Stephane Mbia was taken to hospital after sustaining a neck injury

Worry: Stephane Mbia was taken to hospital after sustaining a neck injury

The recalled winger came closer again
in the 32nd minute, outpacing Nathan Baker down the right and firing a
half volley that beat Guzan at his near post but hit the woodwork.

The match was entertaining but took a
nasty turn moments later when Mbia was involved in an off-the-ball
incident with Gabby Agbonlahor, which forced the Cameroonian off on a
stretcher after lengthy treatment.

Shaun Derry came on in his place and
helped QPR weather the storm for the remainder of the first half, with a
right-footed Agbonlahor effort the closest Villa came.

Park Ji-sung replaced Granero when the team re-emerged for a second half that took 10 minutes to warm up.

Going to ground: Clint Hill tries to dispossess Benteke

Going to ground: Clint Hill tries to dispossess Benteke

Thoughts Harry Redknapp (right) looks on with Joe Jordan

Thoughts Harry Redknapp (right) looks on with Joe Jordan

Not quite: Christian Benteke had a goal ruled out for offside

Not quite: Christian Benteke had a goal ruled out for offside

When it did, QPR were on top, with Wright-Phillips, Ryan Nelsen and Diakite all getting away shots in quick succession.

Guzan kept out the latter pair and
was again alert to deny substitute Park when put through on the left,
before Diakite limped off and was replaced by Junior Hoilett.

The tempo began to slow as
frustration creeped in and, after a tame Nelsen header went wide, Hill
almost hit the crossbar with an 80th-minute header from a an Adel
Taarabt corner.

Armand Traore tested Guzan as QPR
pushed for a winner, but Paul Lambert's side defended resolutely and
came close to a winner themselves through substitute Karim El Ahmadi.

Good point: Paul Lambert's side held on for the draw

Good point: Paul Lambert's side held on for the draw

Powerhouse: Benteke holds off Clint Hill

Powerhouse: Benteke holds off Clint Hill

MBIA RECOVERING IN HOSPITAL

Recovering: Stephane Mbia

QPR midfielder Stephane Mbia was taken to hospital after a nasty clash of heads with Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor during this afternoon's match at Loftus Road.

The Villa man (right) immediately turned to tend to his fallen opponent after the accidental collision.

Mbia required lengthy on-field treatment, as the game was held up for over six minutes before he was carried off and taken to hospital.

The 26-year-old was replaced by Shaun Derry after 39 minutes and fans of both sides watched intently as he was carried off in a neck brace.

The Cameroon international tweeted from hospital as he convalesces after what appeared to be a serious injury.

He said: 'Actually in hospital ;( i want and i will come back soon as i can! #QPR'

West Brom success down to squad rotation

Clarke puts stunning West Brom success story down to squad rotation

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UPDATED:

22:31 GMT, 25 November 2012

West Bromwich Albion boss Steve Clarke has put his side’s success down to the way his players have taken to his rotation system.

The Baggies are up to third in the Premier League but Clarke is trying to keep his players grounded.

'I’m mildly happy,’ he said with half a smile after his side's win over Sunderland.

Party time: West Brom climbed to third with their win over Sunderland

Party time: West Brom climbed to third with their win over Sunderland

Boaz Myhill narrowly survived three scares before goals from Zoltan Gera, Shane Long, Romelu Lukaku and Marc-Antoine Fortune scored to give West Brom their fourth successive top flight win for the first time since 1982.

Goals from Craig Gardner and Stephane Sessegnon gave Sunderland brief hope, and a rally, but the visitors were good value for their win.

Clarke said: 'I said at the start I was happy with the squad and only thing I said to them was they should be comfortable in the Premier League after two seasons finishing mid-table. The only way to build on that is with better performances and we have.

'I just try to use the squad the best I can to get the best out of them. They have bought into what I am trying to do and that is really important.

Main man: Shane Long continued his fine form with a goal on Saturday

Main man: Shane Long continued his fine form with a goal on Saturday

'The game now is not about 11 players now, it is about your squad. The stronger your squad, the more chance you have of winning games in the Premier League. I turn round, look at the bench and want to make changes. I am always really happy with what I see.

'I am never satisfied. If we get to our target of 50 points in March, I will go for another target. But the philosophy we have and the way we have worked is to build game to game and we look no further.’

And while Clarke may have praise for the collective effort from all his players, he rightly singled out Long and Gera for their contribution to an impressive away win, which made up for the undeserved defeat at Newcastle earlier in the month.

In charge: Steve Clarke

In charge: Steve Clarke

He added: 'Zoltan has been terrific all season. He had a career-threatening injury, it took him a long time to get over it and we nursed him through it to protect him.

He is at the stage of his career where you can’t play him in every game because that would be detrimental to him. He accepts that fact and you see the quality of the guy’s performances. He is always for me one of the better players.

'I speak about Shane every week, whether he plays 70 or 60 minutes or comes on for 20. I have run out for superlatives for him, he has been tremendous every week.

'But he also has Lukaku sitting on his tail which keeps him lively. As well as Marc-Antoine and Marcus Rosenborg, who didn’t get on the pitch, we have Peter Odemwingie who has found another level. So there is great competition for the front places and Shane is a big part of that.’

Harry Redknapp says QPR players have not been good enough

It's the players' fault we're in trouble! Redknapp defends sacked Hughes after taking charge at QPR

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UPDATED:

15:28 GMT, 24 November 2012

Harry Redknapp has told the QPR players they are to blame for their current predicament.

Redknapp, as revealed by Sportsmail, was brought in to replace Mark Hughes after the Welshman was sacked on Friday.

Hughes walked out in disgust when he was
asked to take charge of Saturday’s game at former side Manchester
United but told he would then be dismissed whatever the result.

First look: Harry Redknapp takes his seat at Old Trafford to watch QPR against Manchester United

First look: Harry Redknapp takes his seat at Old Trafford to watch QPR against Manchester United

Centre of attention: Harry Redknapp is in Manchester to watch his new side face United

Centre of attention: Harry Redknapp is in Manchester to watch his new side face United

Redknapp has now has put pen to paper on a two-and-a-half-year deal worth 3million a year.

He inherits a squad without a Barclays Premier League win all season and one which is subsequently rooted to the bottom of the table and firmly entrenched in a relegation battle.

But Redknapp is not blaming Hughes for the problems and has told his new charges they need to look at themselves.

Ready for a fresh challenge: Harry Redknapp arriving home on Friday

Ready for a fresh challenge: Harry Redknapp arriving home on Friday

Watching brief: Club shareholder Kamarudin Meranun (left) and QPR chief executive Phil Beard (second left) watch QPR's Stephane Mbia train after boss Mark Hughes was sacked

Watching brief: Club shareholder Kamarudin Meranun (left) and QPR chief executive Phil Beard (second left) watch QPR's Stephane Mbia train after boss Mark Hughes was sacked

'The players have not performed to their potential,' he told Sky Sports News.

'They had a good manager in Mark
Hughes but for whatever reason it did not work out. We now have to
produce in the last two thirds of the season to try and get out of
trouble.'

Redknapp will watch today's meeting at Old Trafford but will not take the team until Tuesday's game at Sunderland.

Fury: Fans turned on Hughes following the defeat to Southampton at home, his final game before being sacked

Fury: Fans turned on Hughes following the defeat to Southampton at home, his final game before being sacked

WITH HARRY THERE'S HOPE

QPR
are the only team out of 92 league clubs yet to win a match this
season. But Harry has performed miracles before. When he took over from
Juande Ramos at Tottenham the team had only two points and his only
brief was to stop them slipping them into the Championship. He managed
to finish in eighth place that very season, and took Tottenham to the
Champions League two years later.

'We need a better performance today,'
he added. 'The players have to be at it. The buck stops with them. I
know Mark lost his job, but it's down to the players. He could only do
what he could do. The players have not performed to their potential.

'There are some good players here and
they really need to step up and start performing. They are man enough
to know they're to blame for the position we are in.

‘I’m looking
forward to it. It’s a big challenge and a tough job to take on but I’m
up for the challenge.

'I'm delighted to be back in the managerial hot-seat at QPR.

'When I spoke to the shareholders and they told me about their plans I knew this was too good an opportunity to turn down.

'There's
no doubt there's a lot of ability in the squad, but for one reason or
another things haven't gone as well as everyone expected since the start
of the season.

'I can't wait to get to work and get the results necessary to kick-start our season.'

On the ground: Beard watches training as shareholder Kamarudin Meranun (right) shares a joke with a QPR staff member

On the ground: Beard watches training as shareholder Kamarudin Meranun (right) shares a joke with a QPR staff member

A positive result appears unlikely
today but regardless of whether QPR win or not, Redknapp is taking over a
side in firm danger of returning to the Championship.

'We can't get any lower,' he said. 'We
are rock bottom. We have to try and get up that table. I remember when I
was at Portsmouth and we stayed up with a game to go at Wigan – it was
the most fantastic feeling.'

QPR chairman Tony Fernandes said: 'Harry
was our number one target, the unanimous choice of the board and we're
delighted we've been able to attract him to the club.

Harry Redknapp photographed in Mayfair

Mark Bowen

The boss men: Redknapp (left) will take charge on Sunday, while Bowen
(right) will be in charge of the QPR team for the trip to Manchester
United

On the brink: Hughes took QPR training this week before being axed on Friday morning

On the brink: Hughes took QPR training this week before being axed on Friday morning

FERNANDES TWEETS OF SUPPORT

Cracked: Tony Fernandes wanted to keep hold of Hughes, but finally snapped

OCTOBER 21 (QPR 1-1 Everton)
'Stop wasting your time and energy
on negative tweets. QPR needs time and stability. We have great squad
great manager great ceo. Takes time and a bit of luck.'

OCTOBER 29 (two days after Arsenal 1-0 QPR)
'I
honestly believe we have one of the best managers in the premier
league. And we are in for the long term. Whatever happens. We love QPR.
Ill be there at reading so rangers fans ill be available to meet and
chat. Trust me on this one. Keep the faith. Stability is the key.'

'Completely
right. Mark has my backing and the shareholders. We need a little luck
and no injuries. What’s written in the press is all rubbish. RT
@wayneoeyers: @tonyfernandes we must stick with Hughes. We haven’t been
playing poorly. The club needs stability, manager change would be
suicide!'

NOVEMBER 4 (QPR 1-1 Reading)
'We are doing
our best. Keep the faith. Need to get behind the team now. Positive
energy is what we need. RT @martingreen_qpr: Message to the entire QPR
team, staff, manager and **** head @tonyfernandes. Please don’t **** up
another one of my weekends.'

'A game of 2 halves. Players getting
used to premier league and different type of teams. Keep calm we will
come good. Plenty of time. Many opps to win the game. I’m calm. Won’t
please everyone. But as I keep saying stability is key.'

NOVEMBER 10 (Stoke 1-0 QPR)
'We
got to cut out errors. One error cost us and we got to take our
chances. Team played as planned. Must win next win. No panic. Table is
compressed. Defense was awful now fairly solid. Midfield strong. Got to
score now.'

'Keep the faith. Panic is not what the doc ordered.'

NOVEMBER 16
'Won’t
be happening. For the one millionth time. Hahaha. Stability. RT
@timnmcollins: @Jeffro_QPR @tonyfernandes @lieyaM_M Maybe you can
practice the “You’re fired” line on Mark Hughes #QPR'

NOVEMBER 17 (QPR 1-3 Southampton)
'I
feel gutted. I have put my heart and soul into this with my other
shareholders. And done all we can to give support to players and all
management. I can only apologise to the QPR fans. we keep fighting.'

'Let
me tell you Fans come first. Everyone including me let the fans down.
Many of us need a hard look at themselves. QPR has amazing fans. They
deserve better.'

AFTER HUGHES' SACKING…

NOVEMBER 23
'Though we have a change the long term vision of the club remains and much good work has already been done and will continue.'

NOVEMBER 23
'This is a club where the chairman and shareholders look at all things in a long term view. But also take the views of the fans who are the most important constituents of the club. To us fans come first.'

'His man-management skills are second
to none and we are confident he is the right man to lead us away from
the bottom of the table.'

Hughes, 49, was ready to start Friday’s training session when chief executive Philip Beard arrived at the
club’s west London complex with shareholder Kamarudin Merarun.

Sportsmail revealed on Monday how the
majority of the club’s hierarchy wanted Hughes sacked and we predicted
he would be gone before the weekend.

The Welshman had become so infuriated with external speculation over his position that he challenged Beard on the issue.

That’s when Hughes was given the
chance to take charge of QPR for the match against United but told he
would be sacked afterwards.

The manager declined the offer before leaving the training ground.

Hughes’s advisers thrashed out a severance package on Friday night on the 19 months left on a 3m-a-year deal.

His assistants, Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki, took training and will be in charge of the team at Old Trafford.

The news did not come as a major shock to the squad — Hughes’s future had been openly discussed.

Certain players are believed to have been consulted over the manager’s sacking and the appointment of Redknapp.

In addition to his salary, Redknapp will land a survival bonus of around 1m if he keeps the club up.

Redknapp admitted on Football Focus he was interested in coaching Ukraine and it was the eastern Europeans' public courting of the man they wanted three days a week on a 3m deal that triggered QPR’s sacking of Hughes, fearing they could miss out on
their top target.

All eyes will now be on the January
transfer market to see who, if anyone, Redknapp opts to bring in to a
club which had a high turnover of players under Hughes in the summer.

Michael Dawson, Redknapp's former
captain at Tottenham, has been mentioned, but Redknapp would only say:
“I have not discussed the money (for players) situation.

'I didn't say I wanted money to
spend. There are some good players here and we need to get them
performing so come January we might not need too much.'

One player who will not be wearing a
hooped shirt this season, though, is midfielder Joey Barton who is on
loan to French club Marseille after a falling out with Hughes.

'Joey is out on loan for the season so he can`t come back anyway,' Redknapp said.

'He has a proven track record in the
Premier League and has all the characteristics we were looking for to
get us out of the current situation we find ourselves in.

DATE'S FOR HARRY'S DIARY

Harry Redknapp will face his old club Tottenham for the first time as QPR manager on Monday, January 14 at 8pm.

Happy New Year, Harry.

BEFORE THAT…

Man Utd (away) tomorrow, Sunderland (away) Tuesday, Aston Villa (home) Sat, Dec 1

Wigan (away) Sat, Dec 8, Fulham (home) Sat, Dec 15, Newcastle (away) Sat, Dec 22

Fulham 1 Sunderland 3 – match report

Fulham 1 Sunderland 3: Black Cats punish 10-man hosts with second-half treble

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UPDATED:

17:52 GMT, 18 November 2012

Sunderland picked up their first win since late September as they threw off the shackles to down 10-man Fulham at Craven Cottage.

The Black Cats have been the division's most lacklustre in front of goal this season, but scored three times in 20 second-half minutes to punish their hosts.

Fulham captain Brede Hangeland was sent off in the first-half for a reckless lunge on opposite number Lee Cattermole, making anything other than a draw a big ask for Martin Jol's team.

And so it proved. Steven Fletcher grabbed the first five minutes after the break, but substitue Mladen Petric levelled things up seven minutes later from close range.

However, it was Sunderland who reacted the best, taking the lead through Carlos Cuellar, and adding a spectacular third through Stephane Sessegnon's first goal of the season.

More to follow…

On song: Sunderland ended a winless run dating back to September after Brede Hangeland was sent off

On song: Sunderland ended a winless run dating back to September after Brede Hangeland was sent off

On song: Sunderland ended a winless run dating back to September after Brede Hangeland was sent off

MATCH FACTS

FULHAM: Schwarzer, Riise, Hangeland, Hughes, Riether, Sidwell, Karagounis (Senderos 35), Duff, Kacaniklic (Rodallega 27), Berbatov, Ruiz (Petric 59). Subs not used: Stockdale, Kelly, Smith, Dejagah,

Booked: Sidwell

Sent off: Hangeland 31

Goal: Petric 62

SUNDERLAND: Mignolet, Bardsley, O'Shea, Cuellar, Rose, Cattermole, Larsson (McClean 70), Colback (Vaughan 79), Johnson, Sessegnon, Fletcher. Subs not used: Westwood, Kilgallon, McClean, Campbell, Wickham, Saha

Booked: O'Shea, Johnson

Goals: Fletcher 50, Cuellar 65, Sessegnon 70

Click here for the latest Premier League table, fixtures and results

XX

Classy: Steven Fletcher got the ball rolling with a brilliantly taken strike early in the second half

Classy: Steven Fletcher got the ball rolling with a brilliantly taken strike early in the second half

Classy: Steven Fletcher got the ball rolling with a brilliantly taken strike early in the second half

Back in it: Mladen Petric responded quickly for Fulham, and suffered a cut on his leg as a result

Back in it: Mladen Petric responded quickly for Fulham, and suffered a cut on his leg as a result

Back in it: Mladen Petric responded quickly for Fulham, and suffered a cut on his leg as a result

Back in it: Mladen Petric responded quickly for Fulham, and suffered a cut on his leg as a result

Paul Lambert backs Martin O"Neill to end Sunderland slump

Lambert backs O'Neill to end slump after Villa overrun Black Cats

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UPDATED:

18:53 GMT, 3 November 2012

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert backed Sunderland counterpart Martin O'Neill to get it right after inflicting a demoralising defeat on his side.

The Scot, who still refers to the Ulsterman as 'the Gaffer' after their time together at Celtic, was a happy man after seeing Villa claim just their second Barclays Premier League win of the season with a 1-0 victory at the Stadium of Light.

Winner: Gabriel Agbonlahor scores the only goal of the game as Aston Villa beat Sunderland

Winner: Gabriel Agbonlahor scores the only goal of the game as Aston Villa beat Sunderland

In the process, he piled further
pressure on O'Neill, whose team have now won only one of its last 17
league games and managed just a single notable effort on target.

However, Lambert is convinced the former Villa manager will turn things around on Wearside.

He said: 'It's a tough, tough job, it really is a tough job. But if there's one person who will turn it around, it will be him.

'I have got the utmost respect for the Gaffer. I am not in a position to sit here and say I have got one over him or anything.

'It's a game of football I had to win and Aston Villa had to win, and we did it. It's a good three points.'

In a contest between two sides who
have found the going difficult in recent weeks, one goal was always
likely to be enough to claim the points, and it was Villa who snatched
the advantage 12 minutes after the break.

Christian Benteke, who had caused
problems all afternoon, climbed above Phil Bardsley at the back post to
head down Matt Lowton's cross and Gabriel Agbonlahor pounced to volley
into the roof of the net from close range.

Eyes on the ball: Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon and Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood battle for the ball

Eyes on the ball: Sunderland's Stephane Sessegnon and Aston Villa's Ashley Westwood battle for the ball

It was scarcely more than the
visitors deserved after largely containing their hosts throughout, and
it was telling that the man who came closest to registering for the
Black Cats was skipper Lee Cattermole, who has never scored for the
club.

Cattermole's 84th minute effort was
Sunderland's only serious attempt on goal on another frustrating
afternoon for O'Neill's men.

Lambert, who had to withdraw
left-back Joe Bennett after just 11 minutes and then saw replacement
Eric Lichaj limp off 19 minutes from time, said: 'I thought we deserved
it.

Chance: Sunderland's Louis Saha heads wide as the home side fall to defeat

Chance: Sunderland's Louis Saha heads wide as the home side fall to defeat

'I thought we were excellent today
considering the knockbacks we took with the left-backs and Ashley
[Westwood] making his debut. I thought we were excellent.'

Benteke in particular caught the eye
with a powerful display which left Sunderland bruised and battered and
his manager searching for superlatives.

Lambert said: '”He could be anything he wants. He could be one hell of a player.

Gutted: Saha is stunned after failing to hit the target with his header

Gutted: Saha is stunned after failing to hit the target with his header

'I have always said he is playing in a Belgian national team at the minute that is top class, and he is in there on merit.

'He is playing extremely well and since he has come to this football club, he has been a revelation for us.'

O'Neill was still able to take
positives despite hearing his players booed from the pitch for the
second time in five days, but admitted the responsibility for finding a
solution lies with him.

Tussle: Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson and Aston Villa's Eric Lichaj fight for the ball

Tussle: Sunderland's Sebastian Larsson and Aston Villa's Eric Lichaj fight for the ball

He said: 'It's me, I'm the manager, I'm the manager of the football club, absolutely.

'Yes, it's difficult, it's been a difficult week for us, obviously, losing against Middlesbrough and then not scoring here.

'It's been a difficult week, but we will come through.

Happy days: Villa celebrate their narrow win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light

Happy days: Villa celebrate their narrow win over Sunderland at the Stadium of Light

'We threw just about everything at them to try to get on the scoresheet, but it eluded us today again. But it will turn.'

The Black Cats thought they should
have been awarded a second half penalty for handball against Benteke,
but referee Mike Jones was not impressed, to O'Neill's obvious surprise.

He'll get it right: Martin O'Neill (right) receives the backing of Paul Lambert (left)

He'll get it right: Martin O'Neill (right) receives the backing of Paul Lambert (left)

He said: 'All the players around said it was a penalty. The referee has chosen not to give it, that's his prerogative.

'Interestingly, we did have a meeting
at the beginning of the season where referees came to speak to us to
tell us that if you have your arms in the air, even it's to avoid
something hitting your face, then there's the likelihood that they will
be giving a penalty.

'It wasn't today.'

How can Martin O"Neill turn it around at Sunderland?

Second season syndrome: How can O'Neill turn it around at Sunderland

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 2 November 2012

Second season syndrome: Martin O'Neill roars during the midweek defeat to Middlesbrough

Hard times: Martin O'Neill roars during the midweek defeat to Middlesbrough

Martin O’Neill faces former club Aston Villa at the Stadium of Light after a disappointing start to his first full season at Sunderland.

O’Neill was the only manager the fans wanted when Steve Bruce was sacked 11 months ago and, as a proven, cup-winning self-confessed Mackem, he was supposed to take the club into a new era.

But this week’s embarrassing Capital One Cup defeat to Middlesbrough was a major blow and his under-fire team have the worst goals and shots on target totals in top flight European football, and all four divisions in England.

O’Neill cut a defiant figure at his press conference, saying: ‘I would expect to be judged over a season. People can say what they want, I can’t change it. The only way I can change it is by winning some football matches.’

Things need to change — and fast — but what is it that is going wrong at Sunderland

A CRISIS OF CREATIVITY

Adam Johnson, James McClean and Stephane Sessegnon all look terrified on the ball and are making basic mistakes. McClean was the sensation of last season but opposition scouts have identified his weaknesses and he is struggling. Most teams put two men on him and have realised that he struggles when forced to cut back on to his right foot.

Summer signing Johnson, brought in from Manchester City for 10million, has been a disappointment. He may have been affected by a thigh injury he picked up on England duty as well as the weight of expectation because of his price tag.

Sessegnon is one of the most naturally gifted players Sunderland have ever had. But he’s played more like Milton Nunez than Lionel Messi this season. He’ll say it’s not related, but fans are asking why he looks so disinterested since signing his new contract. Eight goals and nine assists last season have been followed by none this campaign.

Falling down: Stephane Sesssegnon (centre) has been unproductive this season

Falling down: Stephane Sesssegnon (centre) has been unproductive this season

A STRIKER LIGHT

Summer signing Steven Fletcher scored five in four, but has now gone four matches without a goal. And who is Sunderland’s second top scorer Newcastle’s Demba Ba, who scored an own goal in the derby draw. O’Neill clearly doesn’t feel he has many options to help Fletcher either. The club’s other strikers — Fraizer Campbell, Ji Dong-won, Connor Wickham and Louis Saha — have played just 406 minutes between them.

Solo effort: Steven Fletcher has netted five of Sunderland's six Premier League goals

Solo effort: Steven Fletcher has netted five of Sunderland's six Premier League goals

HOME DISCOMFORTS

The Stadium of Light crowd is notoriously difficult to please. Naturally pessimistic, Sunderland fans are at their worst when expectations are high, as they were at the start of the season. More than 40,000 are expected to bait Darren Bent, which will delight chairman Ellis Short, but they need to be patient and understanding. Attendances could dwindle unless performances and results improve.

O’Neill said: ‘The players are saying in the dressing room they’re a bit surprised (at the reaction) because they’ve only lost one game. Maybe they need to gamble a bit more and take risks. If you lose the ball once or twice, you have to have the confidence to go again.’

Fickle fans: The Stadium of Light faithful are tough to please

Fickle fans: The Stadium of Light faithful are tough to please

THE DRAW DEMONS
Sunderland by numbers

12: The number of shots on target Sunderland have had this season – the lowest in the league and 18 fewer than the next best team

42: Sunderland’s attempted shots this season, the lowest in the league.

0: The Black Cats are the only Premier League team not to have hit the woodwork this season.

28.57%: Sunderland have the worst shooting accuracy in the Premier League.

30: Sunderland have had the fewest shots off target in the league.

Finally Sunderland had their Messiah. A boyhood Sunderland fan, who can roll out the stats, matches and memories. Destiny may seem a bit strong, but that was what fans believed.

O’Neill said: ‘I came in last season and joked that having an affiliation with Sunderland might give me a couple of games.

‘I’ll be judged on football matches. I’ve completed 11 months here and my ambition is to build a side that fans can be really proud of and can actually make an impact in this league.’

He got off to a terrific start with Bruce’s under-achieving squad, winning 10 out of 17 games and reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Cup.

But they’ve never really recovered from the dreadful home defeat to Everton. They have drawn 11 of 16 games since, including disappointments at the tail-end of last season against Bolton and Wolves.

They are hard to beat but that’s not enough.

Tough to beat: Simon Mignolet saves from Stoke's Peter Crouch

Tough to beat: Simon Mignolet saves from Stoke's Peter Crouch

SO WHAT NOW

You can understand why O’Neill has persevered with his creative players. On their day, they win matches.

He says he will put it right on the training ground, but it’s a test of his famous man-management skills

O’Neill had a similar run in his first season at Villa, winning one in 13, and look how he transformed them.

He’s not about to walk out on this one. Sunderland mean too much to him. But he knows he needs to start finding answers soon.

Sunderland 0 Middlesbrough 1 – match report: Scott McDonald stuns Black Cats

Sunderland 0 Middlesbrough 1: McDonald stuns Black Cats and grabs Teeside glory

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UPDATED:

21:42 GMT, 30 October 2012

Martin O'Neill's halo is in danger of slipping after his side crashed out of the Capital One Cup in an embarrassing defeat to near-neighbours Middlesbrough.

The Championship side were thoroughly good value for their victory and a place in the quarter-finals, less than a year after they nearly pulled off an FA Cup triumph at the Stadium of Light.

Former Celtic striker Scott McDonald, who once denied O'Neill the Scottish title as a Motherwell player, scored the dramatic winner in the first half as the visitors totally outplayed their shot-shy hosts.

More to follow.

Aussie rules: Middlesbrough striker Scott McDonald (centre) celebrates scoring with Emmanuel Ledesma (left)

Aussie rules: Middlesbrough striker Scott McDonald (centre) celebrates scoring with Emmanuel Ledesma (left)

Back of the net: McDonald (centre, part obscured) flicks Middlesbrough into the lead at the Stadium of Light

Back of the net: McDonald (centre, part obscured) flicks Middlesbrough into the lead at the Stadium of Light

Close contest: McDonald (left) and Sunderland striker Stephane Sessegnon battle for the ball

Close contest: McDonald (left) and Sunderland striker Stephane Sessegnon battle for the ball

Committed: Middlesbrough's Grant Leadbitter (right) tries to stop Sunderland's Lee Cattermole

Committed: Middlesbrough's Grant Leadbitter (right) tries to stop Sunderland's Lee Cattermole

Match facts

Sunderland: Westwood, Bardsley, O'Shea, Cuellar, Colback, Johnson (Campbell 82), Cattermole, Vaughan, Sessegnon, Fletcher, Saha (McClean 69).

Subs not used: Mignolet, Wickham, McFadden, Kilgallon, Meyler.

Middlesbrough: Steele, Hoyte, Hines (Parnaby 65), Bikey, Friend, Ledesma (Reach 79), Leadbitter, Bailey, Haroun, Miller, McDonald.

Subs not used: Leutwiler, Zemmama, Halliday, Park, Smallwood.

Goal: McDonald 39

Booked: McDonald

Referee: Phil Dowd.

Attendance: 32,535

Click for the latest League Cup results and stats

Pressure mounting: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill endured a difficult night for his side

Pressure mounting: Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill endured a difficult night for his side

Tricky: Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher, (right) attempts to get past Middlesbrough's Nicky Bailey

Tricky: Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher, (right) attempts to get past Middlesbrough's Nicky Bailey

Jack Wilshere says he did have doubts he would return during injury lay-off

Wilshere admits he had doubts over return during the dark days of his recovery

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UPDATED:

14:17 GMT, 28 October 2012

Jack Wilshere admits there were times during his 14 months on the treatment table he did not want to even think about football, but now hopes Arsenal can 'push on' after getting back to winning ways against QPR.

Wilshere last played a competitive first-team game for the Gunners in May 2011 and was forced to sit out the whole of last season because of niggling ankle and knee problems, which also dashed any hopes of featuring for England at Euro 2012 or representing Team GB at the London Olympics.

The 20-year-old came through more than an hour of Saturday's battling 1-0 win over QPR, which was secured by a late goal from Mikel Arteta after full-back Stephane Mbia had been shown a straight red card for kicking out at Gunners captain Thomas Vermaelen.

Jack's back: Wilshere made his first appearance for Arsenal in over a season

Jack's back: Wilshere made his first appearance for Arsenal in over a season

Wilshere was relieved to be finally playing again, having only been told he would start by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger on Saturday morning.

'There are some days when you came into the physio room and the lads were going out, you just do not want to be there because after 10 or 11 months it gets to you,' Wilshere said.

'I am happy to be back now, so hopefully we can push on.'

Wilshere accepts it will take a while for him to be firing on all cylinders, and could now be rested for next week's Capital One Cup tie at Reading with Arsenal away to Manchester United on Saturday.

'This is my first long-term injury, so I am not really used to it. After 60 minutes, my legs were going, so maybe next time after 70 or 80 then so on,' he added on BBC Sport.

Getting stuck in: Wilshere vies with Shaun Wright-Phillips during Arsenal's win over QPR

Getting stuck in: Wilshere vies with Shaun Wright-Phillips during Arsenal's win over QPR

Wilshere had to deal with plenty of robust challenges from a hard-working QPR midfield of Samba Diakite and Esteban Granero, and the England international would not have it any other way.

'It is all part and parcel of football, there are going to be challenges on both of my ankles and my knees, it is part of my game and I am going to have to get used to it,” he said.

Relief swept around Emirates Stadium as Arteta bundled the ball home when inspired QPR keeper Julio Cesar was finally beaten six minutes from time, albeit from what looked an offside position.

QPR, though, still had time to mount a couple of counter-attacks, with substitute Jamie Mackie waltzing his way through the Arsenal defence only to see his shot blocked at the near post by keeper Vito Mannone.

Wenger felt his side's desperation to secure a victory following the disappointments of defeat at Norwich and Schalke – which led to a heated atmosphere at the annual general meeting on Thursday – was behind their late lapse in concentration.

'It was psychological. You could see that as soon as we scored we just wanted to protect the result and we were 11 against 10,' he said.

'If the team is full of confidence maybe we give a chance away, but we would continue to flow forward. However, here we just wanted to protect the result – it shows you how quickly the confidence goes in the team.'

For QPR manager Mark Hughes, it was another negative return from a performance of great industry.

The Hoops remain bottom of the table on just three points, but not yet cut adrift.
Hughes remains confident things can turn around with matches coming up against fellow strugglers Reading and Southampton.

Welcome return: Wilshere was playing in an all new midfield to the one he last played in

Welcome return: Wilshere was playing in an all new midfield to the one he last played in

Boost for club and country: Wilshere's return is good for Arsenal and England

Boost for club and country: Wilshere's return is good for Arsenal and England

'We are building in terms of performances. The guys are getting used to playing together. We are looking for continuity,' said Hughes, who berated referee Anthony Taylor and his officials for not ruling out Arteta's late winner.

'In terms of preparations for games I wouldn't question what we are doing. We just need to cut out the individual errors at key stages.

'We have played nine games, the majority against teams in the top 10.

'We have got a run of games coming up that hopefully will allow us to get maximum points.'

Hughes added: “We weren't expected to win at Arsenal, but we have had a real go and given a good account of ourselves, so we will draw belief from that.'