QPR 0 Reading 0
TECHNICALLY, Rangers recorded their fourth home draw in a row on Saturday – but they should undoubtedly look at this one as a point gained. Forget the dross served up against Watford, Burnley and Coventry – this was an enticing tug-o-war...
TECHNICALLY, Rangers recorded their fourth home draw in a row on Saturday - but they should undoubtedly look at this one as a point gained.
Forget the dross served up against Watford, Burnley and Coventry - this was an enticing tug-o-war with one of the league's top sides, the rope twisting each way in turn but never too far from the red mark.
And the home side must feel satisfied with the way they nullified Reading's chief strongman Kevin Doyle, while new signing Liam Miller provided the cut and thrust in a midfield where Gavin Mahon really took charge.
Two scoreless games against Reading is certainly no disgrace, even if the Rs often looked just as unlikely to score as they had done at the Madejski Stadium three months earlier.
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Their best opportunity came just 12 minutes into the match when Damien Delaney swung in a deep cross and Heidar Helguson should have done better than direct his header wide.
Although QPR shaded possession and Wayne Routledge and Lee Cook buzzed around dangerously, switching wings to good effect, it was Reading who always posed a more potent threat in the penalty area.
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They came close when Doyle's drive was blocked by Damion Stewart, but the ball spun to Kalifa Cisse, whose low effort skimmed the post and drifted behind.
And Lee Camp produced vital stops to deny Leroy Lita either side of the break after the striker's pace had extricated him from the close attention of Stewart and Kaspars Gorkss.
Cook's delivery into the box gave Reading some anxious moments, with more than one incisive cross begging to be converted, but still no genuine saves required from Royals goalkeeper Adam Federici.
The home side survived a penalty area scramble of their own in the final 20 minutes when Jimmy Kebe, then Doyle, seemed set to break the deadlock, but right-back Matthew Connolly kept the ball from crossing the line.
Rangers coach Paulo Sousa finally turned to his talisman on the bench, Dexter Blackstock - too late, it would seem, for several disgruntled fans who had been calling for the top scorer's introduction for some time.
But it was Reading who finished the game more strongly, with Stephen Hunt stabbing a loose ball wide and Delaney hurling himself into the path of a thunderous goalbound Doyle volley to ensure the points would be shared. Again.
QPR: Camp; Connolly, Stewart, Gorkss, Delaney; MAHONP (Ephraim 77); Routledge, Miller, Leigertwood, Cook (Di Carmine 90); Helgusonl (Blackstock 86). Subs not used: Hall, Alberti.
Reading: Federici; Rosenior, Duberryl, Pearce, Armstrong; Kebe (Gunnarsson 90), Cisse, Harper, S Huntl; Lita, Doyle. Subs not used: Andersen, Matejovsky, Bikey, Long.