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HARRY IS BEACHED; 'Automatic almost impossible now'.

Byline: Ian Gibb

B'mouth 2 QPR 1 QPR boss Harry Redknapp saw his lingering hopes of automatic promotion washed away at the club he loves - Bournemouth.

Redknapp's spirits appeared as dampened as his smart blue suit as he stood in a downpour watching his side slipping 10 points behind secondplaced Burnley.

But he could have no complaints about the result, sweated for by the club he managed for nine years.

Goals from defender Tommy Elphick and Lewis Grabban, his 20th of the season were enough, despite Armand Traore's leveller and Harry Arter's sending-off for the home side.

Redknapp, who lives just along the beach at Sandbanks, was magnanimous in defeat, admitting that the chance of automatic promotion had gone.

And he predicted that the red-hot Cherries can gatecrash the play-off party, although they are still five points back.

He said: "The automatic is almost impossible now. Burnley are home and hosed. The horses are falling over - Derby beaten, Forest beaten at home, QPR beaten. No, no one's going to catch them now, are they? Flair "But as for Bournemouth, they can make the play-offs. If they beat Reading here on Tuesday they're right in there. They've got a real chance and I'd like to see them do it."

Redknapp added: "You're looking for more from you flair players, Junior Hoilett, Ravel Morrison. They didn't really do it. We started great, played some nice football and caused them all kinds of problems. Then we started giving the ball away and let them in.

"But Armand Traore scored a good goal at the start of the second half and I thought we'd go on and win.

"For the neutrals it was probably a good game but when they went down to 10 men we lacked imagination with our play and kept sticking it out wide for crosses they headed away.

"I like Harry Arter, he's a great little player and wants to win, I have a lot of time for him. I don't know about his red card - I'd like to see it again."

A jubilant Eddie Howe, once Redknapp's first signing at Portsmouth, said: "At the end I thought it was the best atmosphere I've seen here."

He agreed QPR started better, saying: "They had a clear plan to stop us playing out from goal-kicks, and played high up the pitch.

"We struggled with that initially but once gaps opened up and the game became stretched we got our football going."

Bournemouth certainly did, but it took a couple of flying saves from Lee Camp - first from Jermaine Jenas and then Tom Carroll - to keep it level.

QPR keeper Rob Green did not know much about Yann Kermorgant's snap shot that bounced off him.

Then on the stroke of half-time central defender Elphick - son of a racehorse trainer - gambled on Ian Harte's inswinging corner to head home.

Traore levelled within 23 seconds of the break when he controlled a Carroll pass and volleyed in the far corner. Though Arter was sent off for a lunge on Junior Hoilett on 67 minutes, Bournemouth were ahead by then.

Grabban seized on a slick pass from Kermorgant to score, via Green's hand, shortly before the hour.

Cherries deserved victory, although substitute Brett Pitman got back on the goal line to head out Richard Dunne's net-bound header right at the death.

Howe added: "The credit goes to Brett. He has one thing to do and he's a hero as much as the rest. He didn't have to drop back on the line but he did."

At least Redknapp didn't have far to go to nurse his wounds.

BOURNEMOUTH: Camp 7 - Francis 6, Elphick 7, Cook 7, Harte 7 - Ritchie 7 (Fraser, 75mins), Surman 7, Arter 4, Pugh 6 (Pitman, 90mins) - *GRABBAN 8, Kermorgant 7 (O'Kane, 69mins, 6). QPR: Green 7 - Simpson 6, Dunne 6, Hill 7, Assou-Ekotto 6 - Hoilett 6, *CARROLL 8, Jenas 6 (Benayoun, 71mins), Traore 7 (Zamora, 80mins) - Morrison 7 - Maiga 5 (Austin, 65mins, 6).

REF: J Moss 6.

CAPTION(S):

PLEADING YELL Harry Redknapp implores his QPR side for more on an unhappy return to his old club Bournemouth
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Apr 6, 2014
Words:687
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