Premier League: Managerless Crystal Palace hold QPR to 0-0 draw at Loftus Road
By Pete Hall
Last Updated: 28/12/14 7:57pm
Managerless Crystal Palace showed how resolute they can be by holding QPR to a 0-0 stalemate at Loftus Road.
With only 24 hours to prepare his team following the sacking of Neil Warnock, Palace caretaker manager Keith Millen named a surprising line-up, with no recognised striker in the starting XI.
The first half was a scrappy affair, but it was Millen's side who had the better of the play, and they were only denied by the post after a fine, flowing move.
After the break, the R's came into the game, with set pieces their main threat, but the Eagles, who have looked insecure at the back of late, were solid throughout.
James McArthur cleared off the line as Harry Redknapp's side posed a real threat from set-pieces, but it was Palace who had the better of the chances in the second period.
After such a poor run of results, and with QPR in fine form on their own patch, it was very much a point won by Palace and Millen, whose side remain in the bottom three, with QPR up to 15th.
The opening 45 minutes were very scrappy, with the home side guilty of wastefulness in and around the box.
Charlie Austin, who has been in fine form, especially at Loftus Road, had the first effort on target, volleying straight at Julian Speroni in the Palace goal after his own cross had not been cleared.
Yannick Bolasie then tried an audacious effort from distance, which forced Robert Green to be alert to keep out.
The move of the opening period almost led to the deadlock being broken, with McArthur and Joe Ledley exchanging passes to play in Jason Puncheon, who curled an effort past the despairing dive of Green, but could only look on as the ball cannoned back off the post.
Leroy Fer twice came close to opening the scoring after the interval, with one volley flying just wide of Speroni’s goal, and another powerful strike from the edge off the box was brilliantly tipped over by the Argentine stopper.
Set-pieces were very much the weapon of choice for the R’s, with Austin lurking with intent.
Bolasie was a constant danger on the counter attack with his pace and power, but his decision making let him down when it mattered most, and he took one touch too many from numerous good positions.
Steven Caulker saw his header was cleared off the line by the retreating McArthur, while Junior Hoillet had another good chance for the hosts, but he got his volley from the edge of the box all wrong, and he sliced wide.
Palace almost won it at the death, with Puncheon’s low drive stinging the hands of Green, who could only parry in front of him, but Joey Barton was on hand to eventually keep the ball out, despite slipping when trying to clear.
QPR: Green (7), Isla (6), Caulker (7), Hill (6), Dunne (7), Hoilett (5), Barton (6), Fer (6), Henry (5), Zamora (4), Austin (6).
Subs: Vargas (6), Phillips (5).
Crystal Palace: Speroni (7), Ward (7), Delaney (7), Dann (7), Mariappa (6), Jedinak (8), Ledley (8), McArthur (7), Zaha (4), Bolasie (6), Puncheon (7)
Subs: Campbell (6).
Man of the Match: Joe Ledley