Town 0-0 QPR - Half-Time
Saturday, 11th Jan 2014 15:57
Town and QPR remain locked at 0-0 at half-time but the Blues have had the better of an entertaining first 45 minutes.
Mick McCarthy returned to his 4-3-3 formation with Paul Anderson starting on the left of the three-man attack alongside David McGoldrick and Paul Taylor, although with the trip regularly switching around throughout the half.
Yossi Benayoun headed an early Tom Carroll cross well wide for the visitors, but it was the Blues who enjoyed most of the possession in a cagey and uneventful opening.
Chances were rare in the opening quarter of an hour but with Rangers getting on top and forcing two corners, although Joey Barton was unable to create any threat from either. From the second, McGoldrick broke for the Blues but was unable to find Anderson on the left of the area.
On 17 the Town top scorer shot over from 25 yards as the momentum swung back towards the Blues.
A minute later, Taylor saw a shot blocked after good work from Luke Hyam on the left, then in the 22nd minute Aaron Cresswell’s effort was blocked after Anderson had twice crossed from the right. Soon after Hyam was booked for a foul on Barton.
Town repeatedly went close to going in front in the 25th minute from a goalmouth scramble from which QPR were fortunate to escape. Luke Chambers exchanged passes with Anderson, who stabbed the ball back into his path inside the area on the right.
The Blues skipper’s shot was superbly saved by Rob Green and Taylor just failed to get a touch on the loose ball before it was half-cleared by Barton.
Rangers were unable to get the ball completely away from goal, however, and Hyam ran in from the left and found Chambers, who turned his shot over from eight yards. The Blues were somewhat unfortunate not to be in front.
After Anderson had failed to make the most of a break down the right when Clint Hill was caught in possession, Gary O’Neil sent a dangerous ball across the Blues’ six-yard box, Ryan Tunnicliffe diverting it behind at the back post.
But overall Town were still on top with McGoldrick hitting a 31st minute shot which was deflected wide.
Town keeper Dean Gerken was forced into serious action for the first time in the 34th minute when O’Neil chipped a cross in from the right. One-time Town target Charlie Austin headed goalwards but Gerken tipped over.
Almost immediately the action moved to the other end, Taylor breaking away on the right at pace but his shot was blocked. McGoldrick subsequently volleyed the dropping ball not far wide from 25 yards.
There was a scare for the Blues in the 37th minute when, after a mix-up between Smith and Skuse, Austin found himself through on goal. However, Berra got back to make a superb saving challenge.
The game had developed into an exciting end to end affair and the visitors threatened again a minute later when Chambers cleared ahead of Austin after a freekick had fallen to the striker off Skuse. Moments later, Barton was replaced by Karl Henry having suffered what looked like a groin injury.
A minute before the end of normal time, Anderson hit a powerful 25-yard strike which Green couldn’t hold onto but reclaimed ahead of McGoldrick. Second later, Skuse played in Taylor, the striker losing his footing as he looked to take the ball past Benoit Assou-Ekotto.
A thoroughly entertaining half came to an end with the deadlock still to be broken. After a very quiet opening, the Blues had gradually take control and had had most of the better chances, although with the visitors also having threatened once or twice.
Town: Gerken, Chambers, Smith, Berra, Cresswell, Hyam, Skuse, Tunnicliffe, Anderson, McGoldrick, Taylor. Subs: Loach, Mings, Edwards, Tabb, Hunt, Lee, Nouble.
QPR: Green, Simpson, Dunne, Hill, Assou-Ekotto, Barton (Henry 40), Carroll, Benayoun, O'Neil, Kranjcar, Austin. Subs: Murphy, Onuoha, Traore, Phillips, Wright-Phillips, Johnson. Referee: Phil Dowd (Staffordshire). Att:
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