QPR 1 Sheffield Utd 1
By Ben Kosky UNLIKE his new employers, it looks as if Paul Hart is a man easily pleased. The latest short-term tenant of the manager s office at Loftus Road has never been renowned for his upbeat manner, but seemed enthused by his new team s performance o
By Ben Kosky
UNLIKE his new employers, it looks as if Paul Hart is a man easily pleased.
The latest short-term tenant of the manager's office at Loftus Road has never been renowned for his upbeat manner, but seemed enthused by his new team's performance on Saturday.
Unfortunately, too many among the crowd remember the sizzling football served up by Hart's predecessor only a couple of months ago - and there were few signs of that returning in this bore draw.
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Rangers did more of the attacking, it was true - but their midfield looks a pale shadow of the potent unit that put Preston, Reading and Derby to the sword back in October.
Hart couldn't have wished for a better start to what will undoubtedly be a brief reign as the Blades half-cleared Ben Watson's second-minute corner and skipper Mikele Leigertwood fired home with the aid of a deflection.
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But the visitors were level six minutes later when Watson carelessly gave the ball to Tony Kallio, who delivered a low cross for Richard Cresswell to stab past the floundering Radek Cerny.
That was about it for meaningful entertainment, with neither side able to get on top and Adel Taarabt - Rangers' trump card on previous occasions - putting in one of his poorer displays.
Taarabt yielded possession too easily and often and, after a decent effort on the turn midway through the first half, his attempts at goal were invariably over-optimistic.
United, meanwhile, failed to make the most of the few opportunities they created, with Jordan Stewart firing one weakly towards Cerny and Jamie Ward screwing a left-foot volley wide.
In the second half, Jay Simpson found himself on almost exactly the same square of turf when Patrick Agyemang's run and cross provided him with a chance to volley - sadly, the end result was similar to Ward's effort.
There was disquiet among the home fans when Simpson went tumbling under Chris Morgan's lunge soon afterwards, but referee Neil Swarbrick dashed their hopes and also waved away what looked a better appeal, for a push on Kaspars Gorkss.
At the other end, James Harper's curling attempt sailed fractionally over and so did a Cresswell header, but it was QPR who finished the contest in the ascendancy.
And they almost snatched victory in the last of three added minutes when Wayne Routledge's cross located the head of Watson, but the ball grazed the bar with Blades goalkeeper Mark Bunn rooted to the spot.
Perhaps it was just as well for Rangers fans that the ball failed to cross the line - there can't be many who have the stomach for yet another false dawn.