QPR 0 Watford 0
PUBLISHED: 16:14 29 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:26 24 August 2010
GERARD FARRELL / DZ PICS
By Ben Kosky PAULO Sousa has quickly earned himself a reputation as an ideas man – but his QPR side looked completely devoid of those in Sunday s tedious draw. It was Watford who won the tactical battle as they matched Sousa s diamond formation with a n
By Ben Kosky
PAULO Sousa has quickly earned himself a reputation as an 'ideas' man - but his QPR side looked completely devoid of those in Sunday's tedious draw.
It was Watford who won the tactical battle as they matched Sousa's diamond formation with a narrow midfield of their own, looking sharper than Rangers and thoroughly deserved to claim a point.
"It's a little bit disappointing. Watford had a lot of quality and we conceded a lot to them in the first half," observed the Rs boss.
"In the second half we made some adjustments and the team started to control and create a lot of opportunities, but sometimes you need the killer instinct."
Until the final quarter of an hour, Sousa's assessment was mildly optimistic as QPR forced just one save from Hornets goalkeeper Scott Loach, a nimble overhead kick by Patrick Agyemang.
And even when the contest belatedly broke into top gear, the visitors came closest to winning it as Lee Williamson's free-kick crashed against the post and bounced off Radek Cerny to safety.
Rangers failed to make inroads against a youthful Watford midfield trio of Williamson, Ross Jenkins and Liam Bridcutt, while Tommy Smith and Jobi McAnuff pushed on ahead of them in support of Tamas Priskin.
Priskin could not get enough purchase on an awkward header after McAnuff had flicked on a corner and Jenkins set up Williamson to drill a 30-yarder narrowly wide of Cerny's left-hand post.
The Rs created just one chance in the first period - Heidar Helguson stealing in late to head Lee Cook's free-kick wide and failing to stay onside in any case.
Sousa reacted to his side's tepid showing by sending on Dexter Blackstock, which did add more potency to the attack, but Agyemang's effort was still the only end product.
Finally Rangers did apply some pressure and, when Helguson's drive was deflected behind, Blackstock had a clear header from the resulting corner, but directed it over the bar.
From then on, the game could have swung either way. Helguson gave away the free-kick that Williamson slammed into the woodwork, but the striker then broke and whipped in a low cross that Adrian Mariappa diverted just clear of his own goal.
Blackstock has made a habit of coming off the bench to score the winner at Loftus Road in recent weeks, but his header from Martin Rowlands' corner was comfortably gathered by Loach this time.
QPR will have been delighted to end the calendar year with their highest attendance since last season - but how many will hurry back to Loftus Road in 2009 after watching this stinker?
QPR: Cerny; Ramage, Stewart, Hall, Delaney; Ephraim, Mahon (Leigertwood 84), Rowlands; Cook (Blackstock 45); Helguson, AGYEMANG*. Subs not used: Connolly, Ledesma, Alberti.