Super-sub Stead secures win
Jonathan Stead climbed off the bench to score twice to earn Ipswich Town a 2-0 win over QPR.
Last Updated: 01/11/08 5:49pm
Jonathan Stead climbed off the bench to score twice in the last 20 minutes to earn Ipswich Town a 2-0 win over Queens Park Rangers.
The visitors, under the guidance of caretaker manager Gareth Ainsworth, enjoyed the brighter moments during the first half at Portman Road.
But the introduction of Stead sparked Ipswich into life as the striker opened the scoring on 73 minutes before sealing the win two minutes later.
QPR dominated the opening period and Ipswich had goalkeeper Richard Wright to thank for keeping them in the game.
The 30-year-old recaptured some of the form that once earned him an England call-up as he produced a string of stunning saves to keep QPR at bay.
On-loan midfielder Lee Cook was in the sort of scintillating form which persuaded Fulham to part with £2.5million last year as his free-kick from the edge of the area rattled the crossbar with Wright rooted to the spot.
Wright was forced to take more decisive action in the 16th minute as he stooped to make a superb save to keep out Martin Rowlands' downward header, and he then tipped on-loan Real Madrid striker Daniel Parejo's ferocious 35-yard free-kick around the post at full stretch.
The home side were being played off their own turf by the visitors and Alan Quinn's rising 25-yard shot summed up the home fans' frustrations as the ball ballooned high into the stands
The home side were rejuvenated after the interval and two shots in quick succession from Norris and Jonathan Walters threatened to break the deadlock.
Ainsworth introduced towering striker Dexter Blackstock for the ineffective Samuel Di Carmine but it was the home side who continued to press.
Striker Kevin Lisbie could only muster a weak effort as the defence opened up in front of him while Shumulikoski's long -range effort failed to trouble Radek Cerny.
But the Tractor Boys got their reward in the 72nd minute when Stead, who had only been on the pitch for four minutes, headed home McAuley's cross from the left wing.
And before QPR had time to regroup, Stead doubled the home side's advantage as he rose above the static Rs defence to nod home Owen Garvan's 75th-minute corner.
The visitors were shell-shocked and were helpless as Ipswich continued to lay siege to Cerny's goal as Pablo Counago twice went close and Stead's fine turn and shot came back off the post to deny him a memorable hat-trick.