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16:56 30th October 2010


Battling Burnley beat all the odds to come from behind and earn a vital point at league leaders QPR.

Illness ripped through the Clarets camp in the build up to the testing clash at Loftus Road, where Rangers had not conceded a league goal this season.

But after Adel Taarabt fired the hosts ahead just after the half hour, the odds on a fightback lengthened.

However, the never-say-die-spirit again came to the fore and on the stroke of half time Graham Alexander coolly resumed spot kick duties to drill home a deserved leveller.

And with a little more luck and composure in front of goal, the Clarets could well have turned things around after the break to notch up a notable scalp.

A stomach bug that hit the Clarets camp hard in the wake of the Carling Cup defeat to Aston Villa forced Brian Laws to make changes.

Up to six first teamers were doubts 24 hours before the game.

As it was, Michael Duff partnered Clarke Carlisle in the heart of defence and Jack Cork and Andre Bikey were only deemed fit enough to start from the bench.

And in goal Lee Grant stepped up to make his first league start since rejoining the Clarets - in turn denying Brian Jensen the chance to make his 100th consecutive league start.

But it was the Clarets making the early running, forcing a couple of corners that failed to create a clear cut opening.

Burnley were tested for the first time 16 minutes in when Shaun Derry's mis-hit shot fell at the feet of Jamie Mackie, who looked a certain scorer until Michael Duff made a superb last ditch challenge on the striker.

Wade Elliott's attempted curler midway through the half was gloved around the post by Paddy Kenny as Burnley hit back.

And Rangers were grateful to Kenny a minute later as Burnley came within a whisker of grabbing the lead.

Chris Eagles' shot from the edge of the area was spilled by Kenny, but the last line of defence made a super block from Rodriguez's follow-up.

Chris Eagles was booked on the half hour after tearing into the Rangers box and tumbling under a challenge - referee Williamson ruling the Clarets winger had dived.

And three minutes later, out of the blue, Rangers grabbed the lead with a stunning individual strike from Adel Taarrabt.

Picking the ball up 25 yards from goal, he shifted the ball to his right and unleashed a thunderbolt past a helpless Grant.

It took Burnley a few minutes to recover from that body blow, but Eagles tried to pick the visitors up with a daisy-cutter from distance that was easy for Kenny at his near post.

But a minute before half time, the Clarets were level.

Danny Fox drilled a deep cross into the box and Chris Iwelumo nodded down to Dean Marney, who was clipped in the box as he nudged the ball past Matthew Connolly.

This time, Mr Williamson had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and Alexander, who missed from 12 yards on his last outing against Bristol City, showed true grit by finding the top corner to level things up at the break.

Chris Eagles was a surprise withdrawal at half-time, replaced by Ross Wallace, with one eye on the fact he had already been booked and received two more lectures from the official.

But the Clarets continued on the front foot as the half began. Rodriguez spun and fired wide from 25 yards and then cannoned a shot off the bar that ultimately would have been ruled out for an offside decision.

Iwelumo then had a glorious chance to put the Clarets ahead with 15 minutes remaining, taking a touch to control Wallace's cut back but firing over the angle from 10 yards.

And when Elliott's deflected ball into the box dropped for Rodriguez 10 minutes from time, he shinned a bobbling volley agonisingly wide of Kenny's right hand post.

Steven Thompson replaced Chris Iwelumo with seven minutes remaining, but Rangers were now looking to turn the screw and Gorkss blazed over from 12 yards.

Jamie Mackie had a late chance to steal it for Rangers in the 88th minute, but screwed his shot wide with Grant at full stretch.

And with half of an agonising five minutes of added on time gone, Tommy Smith curled a beauty just wide of Grant's far post as 1,400 travelling fans from Burnley held their collective breath.

Burnley: Grant, Fox, Carlisle, Duff, Mears, Alexander, Elliott, Marney, Rodriguez, Eagles (Wallace 46), Iwelumo (Thompson 84).
Subs: Cort, Cork, Paterson, Bikey, Jensen

Booked: Eagles 30, Duff 72, Alexander 78

QPR: Kenny, Hill, Derry, Taarabt (Smith 84), Faurlin, Mackie, Gorkss, Walker, Connolly, Hulse (Clarke 74), Ephraim (Agyemang 62).
Subs: Orr, Leigertwood, Rowlands, Cerny.

Booked: Taarabt 43, Gorkss 68, Mackie 81

Ref: I Williamson

Att: 15,620 (1,404 Burnley)

    Data provided by Press Association