Reading and QPR are still looking for their first wins of the Premier League season, following a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road on Tuesday afternoon.
Many were keen to see how the Royals would respond from their second half collapse to Arsenal on Tuesday night and bizarrely enough, Brian McDermott made two changes from that side, with the entire back four remaining the same. It meant it was also a Premier League debut for central defender Sean Morrison, who came in for the injured Adrian Mariappa, while McCarthy coming in for Federici was the other change.
Reading started the brighter at Loftus Road, forcing some early set pieces which proved unsuccessful. The Royals also created the first opening, as smart play from Jay Tabb set away Noel Hunt in the box, but his effort was deflected away for a corner by Anton Ferdinand. Adel Taraabt also had a drilled effort at goal in the early exchanges, but was blocked away by Premier League debutant Sean Morrison.
Rangers, similarly to Reading as they are without a win, we’re struggling to take a strangle hold of the game against Brian McDermott’s side. Djibril Cisse scored a beauty in the Capital One Cup fixture last month and almost did the same in this fixture, as he struck a well-hit effort at goal, just going over Alex McCarthy’s bar. Junior Hoilett then had an effort at goal, driving a superb 20-yard shot which grazed off the right-hand post.
Despite Rangers going close on these two occasions, it was the away side that took the lead and you could argue deservedly so. A corner in from Nicky Shorey was initially headed by Sean Morrison, whose second bite at the cherry hit the bar and Kaspars Gorkss shaped his body well to swipe home from 8 yards against his former side. Mark Hughes’ side almost responded moments later, but Cissé mishit his effort from 12 yards, following Diakite’s low cross.
QPR were being forced into long-range efforts from Brian McDermott’s side, but once again came close through Taraabt’s 25-yard bulleting-strike. The Moroccan appeared to be having some joy against the Reading back line, finding space to shoot from lang range. He seemed to be Rangers’ only outlet, this time having an effort from the edge of the box which Royals goalkeeper Alex McCarthy accepted gracefully.
Jason Roberts was a thorn in Arsenal’s side during midweek and was proving to be so for today’s opponents. Similarly to Cisse, Nicky Shorey scored a superb free-kick in last month’s fixture but could not recreate his previous heroics this time from 30 yards, following good work from the tenacious Jay Tabb. Alex McCarthy wasn’t really tested by QPR’s early efforts but pulled off a tremendous save eight minutes from half time.
Sean Morrison fouled Jamie Mackie on the edge of the box and former Real Madrid player Granero stood over the ball and curled a 20-yard effort towards goal, which McCarthy did superbly to tip onto the crossbar, with Bosingwa firing his left-foot rebound over. Despite late pressure from the hosts, Reading held out for a 1-0 lead at half time, which many could argue they deserved.
Rangers started with more a purpose in the second period, going close through another Granero free-kick outside the box, which went against the side netting. Sean Morrison then had Reading’s first effort of the half, attacking Nicky Shorey’s free kick on the left, but went harmlessly over the bar. It was then Leigertwood’s turn to attack a Shorey set-piece, but his free header ballooned over the Cesar’s cross bar.
Towards the hour mark, Rangers started the exert more and more pressure on the Royals backline. Jamie Mackie felt he had a shout for a penalty as Sean Morrison appeared to be holding the forward in the penalty area, but Michael Oliver did not see it worth of a spot kick.
However, Mark Hughes wouldn’t mind too much as QPR found themselves on level terms five minutes later. Good work gave Taarabt space on the right to fire in a low cross, which was stabbed home by Djibril Cisse, after Morrison completely missed his header. The creator of the equaliser Taraabt then had an effort of his own from 20-yards, which was palmed away well by McCarthy.
Substitute Jimmy Kebe then almost had an immediate impact for Reading, as the Malian went on a surging 50-yard run, evading a challenge from Armond Traore but his end product was wild. Royals striker Jason Roberts then had a half chance as he found space in the box, but Anton Ferdinand blocked his goal-bound effort. Set pieces seemed to be Reading’s only way of edging past the home side, this time Hal Robson-Kanu should have at least got his header on target.
Rangers then had the best chance of the game to go in front, as a swift break set Cisse away, whose square ball put Adel Taraabt in, but the Moroccan was denied by a superb save from Alex McCarthy with his feet to keep the scoreline level. Both teams continued to push with Zamora and Hunt having late sights of goal. Cisse then almost won the points for Rangers, with an amazing 30-yard drive, just going wide of McCarthy’s right-hand post.
QPR: Cesar, Bosingwa, Ferdinand, Nelson (C), Traore, Mackie, Diakite, Granero, Taraabt, Hoilett, Cisse
Subs: Green, Hill, Onuoha, Derry, Faurlin, Wright-Phillips, Zamora
Reading: McCarthy, Gunter, Morrison, Gorkss, Shorey, McCleary, Tabb, Leigertwood, McAnuff (C), Hunt, Roberts
Subs: Federici, Pearce, Kebe, Cummings, Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak
The young keeper is making his name known after another fine performance between the sticks. Made two superb saves from Granero and Taarabt to keep us in the game. England to come calling soon?
Looked a lot better than usual today, offered attacking support when he needed to.
Didn’t look out of place despite his first Premier League appearance. Solid in the air and made some crucial interceptions
Did well enough, took the goal well. Distribution still needs to improve dramatically.
Did a decent job, set pieces were consistently good too. His attacking intent to help McAnuff is pleasing to see.
Tried a little too hard at times. Substituted for Kebe on the hour mark.
Great performance from the little midfielder. Deserved Man of the Match.
Had a very good first half, keeping a QPR midfield full of quality at bay. Second half looked quite frantic and was over run a lot.
His delivery need to improve. The biggest shock was that he was substituted.
Wasn’t really in the game. Played the majority of the match with a booking to his name, which probably didn’t help.
Did well in the first half, but didn’t get a huge amount of supply in the second period.