Swansea City missed the chance to end QPR’s unbeaten start to the season as David Cotterill’s first half penalty kick was saved by goalkeeper Paddy Kenny.
Tonight’s match attracted the highest attendance of the season at the Liberty Stadium as the Swans hosted the Championship league leaders QPR, 16,700 fans watched the two teams play out a goalless draw in a high-tempo game.
Brendan Rodgers’ side went into the game with plenty of confidence after a good run of results which had put them to 4th, while QPR had yet to experience defeat after 11 matches – winning 8 of them.
The Swans were without Mark Gower this evening which was a blow to Rodgers’ team plans as the central midfielder has been impressive so far this season, so Andrea Orlandi started while Joe Allen was back amongst the substitutes. There was also a place there for new loan signing Marvin Emnes following his recent arrival from Middlesbrough.
Rangel – Monk – Williams – Tate
Cotterill – Pratley – Orlandi
QPR got off to a much start in the game as they settled in from the first kick, while it took the Swans a good 20-25 minutes to have any decent spell of possession.
Warnock’s side showed early on why they were top of the Championship table as they forced us back in our own half in a good opening 15-minute spell for the visitors.
QPR’s first good chance came when Adel Taarabt picked up the ball from his corner kick, he struck the ball hard and low from the by-line which De Vries could only parry, and Mackie followed up with fierce shot that hit the side netting.
Dorus De Vries then had to make another good save from a long range curling effort from QPR’s left flank. An opposition player cut inside and got away from Rangel and had time and space to curl a shot at goal, but de Vries at full-stretch palmed it away to safety.
The Swans then created their first chance in front of goal which came thanks to a good tackle in midfield from Andrea Orlandi. The Spaniard then sprayed the ball out to Cotterill who found Dobbie running through. Dobbie poked a low shot at goal but it was straight at goalkeeper Paddy Kenny who blocked the effort.
QPR were having the benefit of a picky and biased referee – stopping play for every challenge on a Rangers players but ignoring the majority of those on the Swans – which began to annoy the home fans.
However, despite the fans beginning to show their constant frustration at the referee’s decisions, the linesman waved his flag for a foul on Darren Pratley inside the box and the ref pointed to the penalty shot.
Before the spot-kick we hardly created a threat in front of goal as Kenny had a rather quiet start to the first half, but we had a superb opportunity to take the lead 6 minutes before the break. David Cotterill stepped up but he struck a poor and weak effort low to Kenny’s right, and he palmed it away and out for a corner. Disappointing to say the very least, as that’s the second time Cotterill has missed a penalty, he had a very similar spot-kick saved away at Norwich City earlier in the season.
Swansea City ended the opening 45 minutes quite well as they began to flow some passes together, while QPR’s early dominance faded mid-way through.
The second half saw a big improvement from Rodgers’ side and we needed to as Warnock’s team were the one with the attacking momentum and creating the most goal opportunities in the first 45, as De Vries was forced into making a few good saves early on.
Joe Allen came on to replace David Cotterill and that gave us a bit more strength and control in the middle third as he we had someone else alongside Pratley who could win the ball and distribute well.
Stephen Dobbie did well to create some time and space to shoot at distance just his right-footed shot flew just inches over the crossbar.
Walker also did well to get the better of Sinclair down the right but his shot went just high and wide from an acute angle. Taarabt was causing problems all evening for the Swansea defence but his final shot or pass was letting him down – luckily for us. He raced forward into space and got the better of Joe Allen, but his low left footed shot went harmlessly wide.
Taarabt had space yet again to run into and he slotted the ball through to Mackie who was in on goal, but De Vries closed him down and made a good save to keep the scores at 0-0.
Swansea City’s main problem and annoyance for the fans in the second half was our refusal to shoot from distance. We certainly had players who can like Dobbie, Sinclair and Allen to name a few, but we were always looking to pass and score that super goal. Apart from Dobbie’s early effort just after the break, Sinclair was the first to shoot from outside the box. The winger did well to create space and get away from a few defenders, but his left-footed strike went just over the target.
We then went even closer to breaking the deadlock as Andrea Orlandi sent in a difficult cross for the QPR defenders to deal with, they didn’t and the ball fell to substitute Frank Nouble who couldn’t direct it goalwards, it then fell to Pratley but his effort was blocked on the line.
Craig Beattie also came on as Rodgers added further attacking options to try and get a winner, but in the end we had to settle for a well-earned point against the leaders QPR, who still remain unbeaten after 12 games.