Friday 15 December 2017

Lawrence fails to lift Pompey

Liam Lawrence made his debut for toothless Portsmouth, who remain bottom of the Championship table after missing a host of chances to beat Roy Keane's Ipswich in a 0-0 draw at Fratton Park.

Portsmouth boss Steve Cotterill handed debuts to recent signings Dave Kitson and Lawrence and in the first half Lawrence, who had his loan move to Fratton Park sanctioned only yesterday, swung over a corner from the left and Kitson rose highest but headed wide of Marton Fulop's goal.

Fulop was called into action again in the second half to tip David Nugent's strike around the post while Jamie Ashdown produced a sharp save at the other end to deny Grant Leadbitter.

Helguson gets QPR rolling

QPR's second-half onslaught earned them a 3-0 victory and kept them on top of the Championship as Middlesbrough slipped further behind the pacesetters.

QPR tore out of the blocks after the break to pile the pressure on Boro manager Gordon Strachan. Heidar Helguson got the ball rolling when he stroked home a 49th-minute penalty.

Hogan Ephraim made it two four minutes later and Jamie Mackie buried his fourth goal of the season to seal an emphatic win. Rangers have now hit nine goals without reply at home while Boro, the pre-season promotion favourites, remain winless on the road.

Blackstock rises to level

Dexter Blackstock turned from villain to hero as Nottingham Forest rescued a point with a 1-1 draw against high-flying Millwall.

The Lions looked set to secure a fourth win in five league games courtesy of Steve Morison's early header -- the striker's fifth goal of the season. But Blackstock -- who blazed a penalty over the bar in the ninth minute -- grabbed an equaliser for the hosts with 10 minutes remaining when he rose to convert Chris Cohen's cross.

McCourt puts gloss on rout

Celtic returned to the top

of the Scottish Premier League with a 3-0 victory over Hearts at Parkhead.

The game turned in the 28th minute when, seconds after Hearts midfielder Suso Santana had hit the post with a drive, James Forrest opened the scoring by knocking in a Daryl Murphy cross. Shaun Maloney grabbed a clinching second before the break and in the dying stages Paddy McCourt, on for Anthony Stokes, who was making his Celtic debut, scored a wonderful third.

Smith lauds Gers keeper

manager Walter Smith hailed the efforts of Allan McGregor in Rangers' 2-1 victory over Hamilton.

"He has done well for us for a long period and we are delighted with that aspect, his consistency of form has been terrific," said Smith.

"He has been doing that for us on a regular basis."

Nikica Jelavic opened his goalscoring account for Rangers early on at New Douglas Park, before Hamilton looked set to earn a deserved point thanks to an own goal from Madjid Bougherra. However, Miller came off the bench to rescue the match for Rangers and claim his sixth SPL goal of the season.

Terrors strike early and often

Dundee United scored three times in the opening nine minutes as they won at home for the first time this season with a 3-1 victory over a below-par Aberdeen.

The hosts took the lead after only three minutes through captain Jon Daly before Aberdeen goalkeeper Mark Howard punched the ball into his own net three minutes later. David Goodwillie looked to have put the game beyond the Dons when he slotted home a penalty after Paul Hartley had fouled Craig Conway in the box with only nine minutes on the clock.

However, Scott Vernon pulled a goal back with a magnificent volley after 26 minutes to give his side some hope. The Dons were denied a penalty six minutes before the break when Zander Diamond looked to have been held by Garry Kenneth, with Aberdeen boss Mark McGhee was sent to the stands for his protest at the decisions.

Hercules feat stuns Barca

Champions Barcelona suffered a humiliating 2-0 home defeat by Hercules yesterday when Nelson Valdez struck twice to give the tiny, just-promoted club a shock La Liga victory at the Nou Camp.

Barca had not lost at home in the league since May 2009 but Paraguay striker Valdez scored either side of half-time to help Alicante-based Hercules pull off one of the biggest giant-killing acts of recent seasons.

David Trezeguet should have made it three for the visitors in the 89th minute but keeper Victor Valdes scrambled across to deny the France striker.

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