Rams Hold Rangers
Attendance: 16, 475
A disciplined away performance saw Derby County match table topping Queens Park Rangers and take a point away from Loftus Road and it could have been all three but for a stunning save from Paddy Kenny. Rangers` started brightly and had the early chances without really troubling Brad Jones until Adel Taarabt`s twenty-five yard effort with the outside of his right foot forced him to tip over the top. James Bailey and Stephen Pearson fired wide of the mark with Derby`s closest efforts of the half and neat work from Jamie Ward down the left saw him pick out Pearson twelve yards out with an hour gone but Kenny pulled out a superb save to deny him as he tipped the ball over the top. Chances were at a premium in the second period as The Rams backline stood firm as Rangers went in search of the winner to boost their promotion hopes but they had to settle for a point as Derby comfortably saw out the closing stages.
Theo Robinson came into the side in place of Ben Davies in the only change to the side that beat Leeds Untied six days ago with Rob Hulse only being named amongst the Rangers` substitutes in the first clash of the sides since his move to Loftus Road in the closing days of the summer transfer window although Tommy Smith did line up against his former side. The home side started brightly as they looked to edge ever closed to promotion and Heidar Helguson had an effort deflected behind from Adel Taarabt`s fifth minute corner. Wayne Routledge was next to threaten after Bradley Orr`s lofted ball into the area eventually fell to him but he dragged his effort wide of the far port. Robbie Savage was having an entertaining tussle with Taarabt but he was booked for a challenge on fourteen minutes as was Wayne Routledge for needlessly getting involved in the follow up.
Tommy Smith headed over the top from a Taarabt freekick and the Moroccan crafted a neat effort with the outside of his right-foot from twenty-five yards but Brad Jones comfortably tipped his shot over the bar. The Rams were playing some neat football at times although they were restricted to long range efforts with James Bailey firing well wide from outside of the area and Stephen Pearson then lashed over from fifteen yards when Bailey`s ball over the top fell kindly for him. Bailey again threatened when the Rangers defence backed off him but he fired a few yards wide from twenty yards and Theo Robinson had the final chance of the half when his blistering pace took him away from Clint Hill but with Steve Davies well placed in the middle his wild effort blazed wide when well placed.
Rangers came out quickly at the start of the second period but The Rams stood firm at the back and had the best chance of the match just after the hour mark. Jamie Ward left Bradley Orr for dead down the left and his cut back found Stephen Pearson twelve yards out but Paddy Kenny superbly turned the ball over the top to deny the midfielder. Chances were few and far between although Savage eventually won his battle with Taarabt with Patrick Agyemang coming off the bench to replace him after a fruitless second half and there were further changes up front for the hosts with Ishmael Miller and Rob Hulse coming on for Wayne Routledge and Heidar Helguson as they huffed and puffed but lacked the guile to break down a well marshalled Derby defence. Russell Anderson and Dean Leacock come on in the dieing stages to tighten things up and they comfortably saw out the closing stages for a well deserved point.
Queens Park Rangers: Kenny, Orr, Hill, Derry, Taarabt (Agyemang 71), Helguson (Hulse 85), Faurlin, Gorkss, Routledge (Miller 83), Connolly, Smith.
Subs: Cerny, Buzsaky, Ephraim, Shittu.
Derby County: Jones, Brayford, Roberts, Ayala, Barker, Savage, Bailey, Pearson (Anderson 89), Robinson, Ward, S Davies (Leacock 90).
Subs: Atkins, B Davies, Porter, Bueno, Doyle