QPR held as battling Blackburn grab a point
Heidar Helguson scored his 100th goal in English football – but it wasn’t enough to give QPR victory as they were held to third consecutive home draw by struggling Blackburn Rovers.
It was a disappointing stalemate for Rangers, who looked on course for three points when they took the lead through Helguson’s speculative cross on 16 minutes, but once Christopher Samba headed his side level, the hosts struggled to break down Blackburn’s stubborn defence.
Neil Warnock suffered a blow in the build-up to the match with the news that forward DJ Campbell had suffered a suspected broken foot in training, and was due to see a specialist to determine the seriousness of the injury.
With Campbell absent, Warnock made two changes to his starting line-up, with Helguson replacing Jay Bothroyd up front, while Jamie Mackie made his first start for nine months in place of Adel Taarabt.
Rangers almost went behind early on as Anton Ferdinand swiped Martin Olsson’s cross onto the crossbar, and the hosts made the most of that left-off by taking the lead on 16 minutes.
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It was a scrappy goal for the hosts, as Blackburn’s defence only half cleared a corner, and Helguson lofted a cross towards the far post only to watch it drop into the net, and became the first Rs player to score a top-flight goal at Loftus Road since Kevin Gallen in April 1996.
QPR immediately set about doubling their advantage, with Samba clearing Barton’s dangerous cross, before, against the run of play, Samba provided Blackburn’s equaliser.
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Rangers’ defending left plenty to be desired, as the Blackburn captain rose above Fitz Hall to head home a corner past Paddy Kenny.
The visitors came close again when Junior Hoilett cut in from the left touchline past Shaun Derry and Barton, and fired in a low shot which Anton Ferdinand blocked on the goal-line.
Rovers ended the first half the stronger side, and QPR began the second in sluggish fashion, struggling to build up any momentum against a stubborn Blackburn defence.
Taarabt replaced Mackie just after the hour-mark, and wasted a great chance soon afterwards when he raced away from Michel Salgado, only to take his shot far too early from the edge of the area and pull the strike wastefully wide of Paul Robinson’s left-hand post.
And the Moroccan was involved again seven minutes from the end when he went down under a challenge in the box, only for the referee to wave away QPR’s claims for a penalty.
Hall then wasted a glorious chance to win it, sending a free header from Barton’s corner sailing over the crossbar, while for Blackburn Olsson’s shot was tipped over by Kenny.
Neither side could muster a winner and, in truth, a second goal would have flattered Warnock’s disappointing side, who are still yet to win in front of their own fans this season.