QPR 0-0 Derby

By Michael Da SilvaBBC Sport
QPR 0-0 Derby

Derby earned a goalless draw at QPR, as the Championship leaders edged closer to securing automatic promotion to the Premier League.

The Rams failed to contain QPR's danger man Adel Taarabt in the first half, as the Moroccan brought a fingertip save out of Brad Jones with a dipping drive.

Heidar Helguson and Tommy Smith also went close for the home side.

Derby would have won it but for a flying save from Paddy Kenny to deny Stephen Pearson in the second half.

QPR went into this game knowing that a win would have been a giant stride towards securing their automatic promotion to the top flight.

But Neil Warnock's team were confronted by a committed Derby side intent on making life difficult for the champions-in-waiting.

Taarabt's delivery caused the visitors problems early on, as Nigel Clough's side struggled to get to grips with the star man's movement and impeccable delivery from dangerous areas.

Robbie Savage picked up an early yellow card for an over-enthusiastic lunge on the Moroccan, beginning an intriguing battle that brought together two contrasting styles.

Taarabt's delivery from the wings created chances for Helguson and Smith, but both opportunities were squandered from close range.

QPR's key moment of inspiration in the first half came from the outside of the right boot of Taarabt in the 17th minute.

Collecting the ball in space 25 yards out, the former Spurs man attempted an audacious swerving effort that would have dipped under the crossbar, but Jones's excellent fingertip save kept it out.

It wasn't all one-way traffic though and, on the stroke of half-time, Derby striker Theo Robinson found himself clean through on goal, only to slice his shot high and wide despite having team-mates arriving in the penalty box.

And it was Derby who came closest to taking all three points.

Jamie Ward raced down the left wing and pulled back for Pearson, whose goal-bound shot from 12 yards was acrobatically saved by Kenny.

The stop was even more impressive given that he had been largely a spectator for the previous 62 minutes.

Having controlled the first half Taarabt was relatively anonymous in the second, with Savage doing well to deny him the space within which to operate, hastening Taarabt's withdrawal 20 minutes from the end.

Derby held firm for the draw, but QPR can effectively clinch promotion to the top tier of English football after a 15-year absence if they win at Cardiff City on Saturday.

QPR still have an FA charge hanging over them regarding the transfer of Alejandro Faurlin, but a points deduction remains unlikely.

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