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Last Updated: Tuesday, 13 May, 2003, 14:59 GMT 15:59 UK
Furlong sinks Oldham
QPR striker Paul Furlong
Furlon got a late winner for Rangers
QPR 1-0 Oldham
(QPR win 2-1 on aggregate)

Paul Furlong fired QPR into a play-off final with Cardiff City at the Millennium Stadium with a late match-winner against Oldham.

Furlong's 14th goal of the season proved enough to see off Iain Dowie's resilient side in a second leg marred by late tackles, play-acting and backchat at Loftus Road.

Oldham ended the game with 10 men after Wayne Andrews was sent-off for violent conduct in the dying moments.

Furlong's opportunist strike ensured a fully deserved win for Ian Holloway's men, who have endured relegation, administration, and a transfer embargo during his 27 months in charge.

But they are now just 90 minutes away from returning to the First Division.

Kevin McLeod should have given them a dream start when played clean through by Furlong with only a minute gone, but the on-loan Everton winger fired against Oldham goalkeeper Les Pogliacomi's legs.

Giant defender Dan Shittu then headed into the side netting from a Gino Padula free-kick.

But Oldham went close at the other end almost immediately when Andrews put a free header at the far post wide.

The Latics survived a good shout for a penalty when Darren Sheridan appeared to handle Kevin Gallen's cross, and escaped another scare when Furlong's header struck the upright from the resulting corner.

Sheridan came within inches of putting Oldham in front in the 29th minute with a fizzing volley which deflected just wide of Chris Day's far post, before Furlong toe-poked over the crossbar.

Latics keeper Les Pogliacomi made a stunning stop from substitute Richard Pacquette, who met McLeod's cross on the volley from close range.

But Rangers' pressure paid off when Furlong latched onto Clarke Carlisle's through-ball on 82 minutes and held off the challenge of Clint Hill to finish low into the corner.

Oldham could not reply and the bad blood which had threatened to boil over from the first leg finally did so in the dying stages when Andrews lashed out, leaving referee Mark Clattenburg no choice but to show the red card.

QPR: Day, Kelly, Carlisle, Shittu, Padula, Gallen, Bircham, Palmer, McLeod, Thomson, Furlong. Subs: Culkin, Forbes, Pacquette, Angell, Williams.

Oldham: Pogliacomi, Low, Fitz Hall, Hill, Haining, Eyres, Murray, Darren Sheridan, Armstrong, Andrews, Eyre. Subs: Duxbury, Miskelly, Baudet, Corazzin, Carss.

Referee: M Clattenburg (Co Durham)

BBC Five Live's David Oates
"This was every bit as tight as anticipated"



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