QPR 0 Cardiff City 1
By Ben Kosky STYLE over substance could have been the QPR motto in recent years – and that is now their problem on the field rather than off it. Rangers produced some scintillating build-up play at times, with the likes of Adel Taarabt, Alejandro Faurlin
By Ben Kosky
STYLE over substance could have been the QPR motto in recent years - and that is now their problem on the field rather than off it.
Rangers produced some scintillating build-up play at times, with the likes of Adel Taarabt, Alejandro Faurlin and Hogan Ephraim outwitting a Cardiff side that were steady rather than flamboyant.
But, with Jay Simpson kept under a tight rein and Tamas Priskin... well, the word useless probably covers it... there was no cutting edge to the home side's possession football.
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Manager Neil Warnock is well aware of that, but he blundered by failing to replace the hapless Priskin or indeed making any other substitutions until it was far too late.
Lee Cook should have been off the bench earlier than the 84th minute and it would have been worth giving Josh Parker, Antonio German or the wily Rowan Vine a run-out when Rangers began to lose their way in the final quarter.
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The Rs were certainly on top during the early stages, with Taarabt - at the hub of most of their attacking play - firing just wide after only 30 seconds and Simpson going close on the turn.
The Moroccan midfielder was unfortunate not to open the scoring in the 20th minute when he collected Faurlin's pass and struck a skidding low drive that beat David Marshall, but struck the base of the post and spun to safety.
That near miss encouraged Taarabt to shoot on sight from then on, without any success, but he also created two sparkling opportunities that Priskin rather half-heartedly attempted - and failed - to convert.
Meanwhile, Cardiff manufactured very little during the first half as Radek Cerny smothered Jay Bothroyd's cross-cum-shot and Peter Whittingham and Stephen McPhail both sliced wide from distance.
It was a similar story when the contest resumed after half-time, with Priskin stabbing Dusko Tosic's cross tamely at Marshall and Ephraim unable to inject enough power into his header to beat the goalkeeper.
Ephraim should have done better with Rangers' best opportunity of the second half, blazing over after Simpson had knocked down a superb Faurlin pass - but by then Cardiff should have been ahead.
Anthony Gerrard was the culprit, bundling the ball wide from a few yards out after Ross McCormack's awkward free-kick had bounced off Cerny's chest.
But the Bluebirds - who, unlike QPR, did introduce fresh legs when necessary - began to threaten on the counter-attack and finally broke the deadlock with 10 minutes left as Mark Kennedy's cross to the far post was headed home by Joe Ledley.
Warnock belatedly made a double change and that almost paid off as Taarabt swung over a cross from the left and Cook caught it on the volley, only for Marshall to produce a fine reaction save.
That was as close as the Rs came and Cardiff could have wrapped up the points in injury time when one of their own substitutes, Kelvin Etuhu, nipped round the back but failed to beat Cerny.