Currie too hot for Rangers
From mascot to tormentor-in-chief. That is the strange journey taken by Ipswich winger Darren Currie, who not only set up Ipswich's equaliser on his debut but also scored their crucial third goal in a thrilling match.
Currie is the nephew of former England and Queens Park Rangers midfielder Tony Currie and when he was only five years old once led the team out at Loftus Road. A late developer, the 30-year-old winger was signed only on Friday from Brighton but, if anyone doubted Joe Royle's wisdom in spending £250,000 on an unsung player of that age, he soon proved them wrong after replacing Kevin Horlock in the second half.
Royle's side were 2-1 down after Paul Furlong's double had overturned Jason de Vos's opener before Currie helped Darren Bent to level the score and then put Ipswich ahead with a deflected drive.
Royle, whose team stay in second spot, was overjoyed. "We needed someone to open doors for us in big games and Darren's shown he can do it."
Despite later setbacks, Ipswich were totally dominant early on and Rangers' goalkeeper Chris Day was forced to make four fine saves in the first 16 minutes to keep them at bay.
The pressure finally told when Jim Magilton, the veteran midfieder who was an incisive playmaker throughout, caused panic in the home side's goalmouth with a corner, the ball ping-ponging back and forth before de Vos nodded it in.
Then Furlong threatened to turn the game on its head with two left-foot strikes that could not have been sweeter. First, the 36-year-old turned brilliantly past Richard Naylor and sent the ball scorching into the bottom right corner; three minutes later, from Kevin Gallen's lay off, he swerved a shot to Kelvin Davis's left and, although the goalkeepergot a hand to it, he could not alter its trajectory.
Gallen then spurned two chances to put QPR in the clear and they proved costly lapses as Ipswich moved into overdrive in the second period.
Bent whose electric pace allied to Shefki Kuqi's powerful physique gives Ipswich a potent blend up front, had already squandered an excellent opportunity before fortune favoured him and a wicked deflection brought his 11th goal of the campaign just before the hour. Kuqi had set him up following a superb searching pass from Currie.
Further Currie heroics followed as he raced on to Bent's pass; his contact was fierce enough but Day was left cursing again as the ball was diverted beyond his grasp.
However, the final goal from Kuqi - his 12th of the season in the 77th minute - owed nothing to chance. He fired home emphatically after de Vos flicked on a throw-in.
Steve Thomson (Sunday Telegraph)