QPR drop off the top

QPR 1 Burnley 1 by Ben Kosky at Loftus Road

NEIL Warnock bemoaned wasted opportunities after watching his QPR side surrender the league leadership with their fifth draw in six games.

Rangers failed to force a single genuine save from Burnley goalkeeper Lee Grant and, although they finished with a flurry of attacks, never really did enough to merit all three points.

And Warnock was unimpressed by referee Iain Williamson, who made a string of questionable decisions, including the penalty award that allowed Clarets veteran Graham Alexander to become the first visiting player to score a league goal at Loftus Road this season.

Williamson ruled that Dean Marney had been illegally felled by Matthew Connolly on the stroke of half-time and Warnock reflected: “I don’t see how he could see it – he had four bodies in front of him.

“I think the referee had a bad day at the office – decisions in the penalty box have got to be spot on. But you can’t blame the ref for the chances we missed.

“We created some good chances, but if you can’t take your chances you’re not going to win games. I think frustration creeps in if you don’t create chances, but at the moment we’re just not scoring enough goals.

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“We’ve got to get goals from every angle and it’s not just the forwards, it’s every other department as well. It’s disappointing, but I thought the lads showed spirit and kept driving forward.”

One poor decision that the Rangers boss omitted to mention was Williamson’s failure to book Adel Taarabt for a disgraceful dive on the edge of the Burnley penalty area.

Burnley’s Chris Eagles was rightly yellow-carded for a similar offence soon afterwards and Taarabt then displayed the more attractive side of his Jekyll and Hyde footballing persona to put the Rs in front on 32 minutes.

Collecting a ball from the left, the Moroccan shimmied his way into a shooting position and cracked a sizzling 25-yarder that left Grant helpless as it nestled in the top corner.

That lead was only made possible by the earlier efforts of Paddy Kenny, who clawed Wade Elliott’s deflected effort around the post and then produced an excellent double save to deny Eagles and Jay Rodriguez.

But Kenny – who recently rescued Rangers with a penalty stop at Swansea – could do little to protect his clean sheet as Alexander drilled the equaliser past him from the spot.

And it was Burnley who looked more lively at the start of the second half, with substitute Ross Wallace twice going close and Chris Iwelumo finding space but blazing over from an angle.

Rodriguez seemed to have won the game when he lunged to meet Elliott’s pass and stabbed the ball past the advancing Kenny, but Rangers breathed a sigh of relief as it trickled wide.

The Rs bombarded their visitors in the final 10 minutes, with Tommy Smith again handed too little game time – but enough to set up Jamie Mackie for a chance that fizzed narrowly wide of Grant’s goal.

Smith’s curling attempt sailed just as close to the far post but, when Shaun Derry sliced a loose ball over deep into added time, Rangers’ hopes of retaining top spot had fizzled out.