QPR 0 Plymouth Argyle 0
By Ben Kosky FIREWORKS heralded the start of Rangers home campaign, but to claim they ended it with anything but a damp squib would be an outright lie. Saturday was fairly typical of much of the intervening eight and a half months, though – no goals and
By Ben Kosky
FIREWORKS heralded the start of Rangers' home campaign, but to claim they ended it with anything but a damp squib would be an outright lie.
Saturday was fairly typical of much of the intervening eight and a half months, though - no goals and precious little entertainment, although Plymouth should have wiped out the first of those problems.
Paul Sturrock's side squandered numerous chances to treble their single point, while Romain Larrieu had nothing to do apart from take a routine catch from Heidar Helguson's header in first-half injury time.
And the positives? An unexpected return for Patrick Agyemang up front, decent run-outs for two young reserve team players and, er... that was about it.
"It was a typical end of season game, a boring 0-0 really," was Rs caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth's frank assessment. "I think Plymouth came for the point and they slowed the game right down.
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"It was the same old story. The defence were rock solid, but I just wish we could have scored a few more goals this season."
Plymouth - with fewer goals than anyone in the Championship bar Doncaster and yes, Rangers, this season - would probably have hoped to be more prolific as well and, while they looked sharper than their hosts, that wasn't saying a great deal.
Paul Gallagher wasted two early opportunities, firing straight at Radek Cerny and then volleying wide, while Ashley Barnes bundled a better chance over after the goalkeeper had spilled Jamie Mackie's cross.
Although Mikele Leigertwood's storming run into the penalty area almost created a shooting opportunity and Wayne Routledge was inches from reaching Agyemang's through ball, there was nothing else to rouse the home crowd.
That didn't really change in the second half, although Angelo Balanta produced a couple of cracking runs after replacing Lee Cook on the left, and Helguson blazed over with a left-foot finish on the run.
The most noteworthy incident came in the shape of two junior pitch invaders, who ran around to better effect than some of the players had done - and at least ensured they would miss the rest of this tedious spectacle.
Damion Stewart's mistake almost gifted Argyle the winner with eight minutes remaining, but Cerny parried Gallagher's finish and Barnes, again, managed to put the rebound over.
In injury time, Gallagher blazed over another chance and Mackie nipped clear of both Stewart and Kaspars Gorkss, only to steer a tame effort at the grateful Rangers keeper.
A couple of attempts from Matthew Connolly were as close as QPR came - and that, along with the fact that the stadium was half-empty by the time the players re-emerged for a rather subdued 'lap of honour', tells you all you need to know.
QPR: Cerny; Leigertwood, Stewart, GORKSS*, Connolly; Routledge, Miller (Ramage 62), Mahon, Cook (Balanta 56); Helguson, Agyemang (German 66). Subs not used: Delaney, Hall.