Wasteful QPR miss out on top spot as Blackburn hold on

Gary O'Neil is tackled by Blackburn's Gary Spurr during Saturday's 0-0 draw

Gary O'Neil is tackled by Blackburn's Gary Spurr during Saturday's 0-0 draw - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Championship: QPR 0 Blackburn Rovers 0

QPR spurned the chance to move top of the Championship as Blackburn Rovers produced a determined defensive display to earn a goalless draw at Loftus Road.

The Rs were poor in the first half, only slowly improving after the break. Charlie Austin headed against the post, and Matt Phillips was denied by a fine save from Simon Eastwood.

But Blackburn also created and missed chances, notably in the first half, when Jason Lowe saw his shot headed off the line by Clint Hill.

Leicester City’s defeat at Brighton ensured that Rangers sit second in the Championship, behind Burnley on goal difference. However, Harry Redknapp will feel that this was a chance wasted, as his side failed to build on Wednesday’s win over Bournemouth.

Redknapp made one change from that 3-0 win, with Phillips replacing Gary O’Neil in midfield. The game was preceded by a minute’s applause for former South African president Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday.

Rovers created the only chance of note inside the opening 20 minutes, and it almost led to the first goal. Ben Marshall crossed from the left, and Jason Lowe arrived at the back post with a bundled effort which Clint Hill headed off the line.

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A blocked Charlie Austin shot aside, QPR struggled to threaten the Rovers back-line for much of the opening 45 minutes. Junior Hoilett and Phillips provided occasional threats from the wings, but the visitors were comfortable for long periods.

And Blackburn twice went close again just before half-time, when Marshall sent in another fine cross which Chris Taylor met with a firm header, but the ball flew over the crossbar. In added time, Jordan Rhodes flicked a header across Rob Green’s goal and narrowly wide.

At the other end, Phillips saw his shot blocked in front of Simon Eastwood’s goal, but QPR went in at the break having failed to seriously test the Blackburn keeper.

Eastwood was finally called into action early in the second half, as Phillips missed a glorious chance to give his side the lead.

Andy Johnson raced away from Grant Hanley and sent a low cross into the area. Austin missed it, and Phillips arrived to blast the ball straight at the keeper from a few yards out.

Redknapp brought on Niko Kranjcar for Hoilett just past the hour mark, and the Croatia international quickly tried his luck with a rising shot wide of Green’s right-hand post.

Phillips was also taken off, replaced by Gary O’Neil, before the hosts carved out another gilt-edged chance on 72 minutes thanks to a piece of brilliance from Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

The left-back flicked the ball past a defender and drilled a powerful into the area, where Austin sent a glancing header against the inside the post. As the ball bounced back into play, O’Neil arrived on the follow-up but drilled his effort against Austin and out for a goal-kick.

QPR applied plenty of late pressure, but failed to create another clear-cut chance, as Blackburn held on for a point their defensive efforts probably merited.