Sheffield Utd 1 QPR 1
By Ben Kosky A FIRST glance at the scoreline doesn t tell the story – after all, it s the third time these sides have drawn 1-1 in just three months. The difference is that the previous two matches, under the ill-fated stewardship of Paul Hart, left most
By Ben Kosky
A FIRST glance at the scoreline doesn't tell the story - after all, it's the third time these sides have drawn 1-1 in just three months.
The difference is that the previous two matches, under the ill-fated stewardship of Paul Hart, left most QPR fans feeling deflated, but this provided much more cause for optimism.
Not only did Rangers respond well to falling behind - instead of failing to build on a lead - they showed tenacity throughout and shaded the game against a team whose home record is formidable.
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Adel Taarabt perhaps epitomised that spirit best, overcoming the frustration of a first half when his passing didn't quite come off to keep badgering the Blades' defence and net the equaliser.
The on-loan Tottenham player might have done better when Hogan Ephraim sent him through early on, but was foiled as he attempted to take the ball around United goalkeeper Mark Bunn.
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Ephraim went closer himself on the counter-attack, manoeuvring himself into a shooting position and firing across Bunn, but the ball bounced off the post as Jay Simpson slid in hungrily.
At the other end, the Blades were restricted to long-range efforts from Jordan Stewart and Nick Montgomery that either missed the target or forced minimal effort from Carl Ikeme.
Rangers' best chance came late in the first half as Nyron Nosworthy gave the ball away to Alejandro Faurlin and he combined with Taarabt to send Ephraim through, but the finish was tame.
The visitors were punished for that miss immediately as James Harper delivered a cross from the left and Richard Cresswell stooped to head into the top corner and extend his remarkable scoring record against the Rs this season.
QPR were unlucky to be trailing at half-time and they set that record straight just five minutes after the restart, Taarabt pouncing on a slip from Marcel Seip and coolly tucking the finish past Bunn.
That was the precursor to a spell in which Rangers looked like they might well edge in front, Taarabt forcing Bunn to tip over a free-kick after Chris Morgan had felled him on the edge of the box.
The Moroccan skied a second effort over the heads of the away supporters and a third sailed into the goalkeeper's gloves after Simpson had laid off Faurlin's pass.
Meanwhile, Carl Ikeme caught everything that came his way, although the introduction of Darius Henderson to spearhead the Blades' attack did give them the upper hand late on.
They almost snatched the points at the death when Henderson's cross-cum-shot zipped across the box with nobody able to apply the finishing touch. It would have been harsh on Rangers if they had done.