QPR still unbeaten under Critchley after stalemate in Cardiff
Neil Critchley extended his unbeaten start to life as QPR manager as his side made it four points from six with a scrappy goalless draw at Cardiff.
Having ended an alarming run of six games without a victory in their 1-0 win at Preston in his first game in charge last week, QPR stayed on the fringes of the play-off places by taking a point on their travels.
For Cardiff, it was another year without a win on Boxing Day – their last triumph came when current manager Mark Hudson was captain back in 2012 – and they are still without a win at home since they beat Rotherham 1-0 on October 29.
On a cold, wet night both teams were strong at the back, but pretty ineffectual up front. There was only one shot on target in the first half and a mere four touches in the respective boxes.
QPR midfielder Tim Iroegbunam picked up a yellow card in only the fourth minute for a cynical tackle from behind on Mahlon Romeo as he drove towards the box. That gave Wales’ World Cup player Rubin Colwill the chance to shoot for glory, but his free-kick from a good position went wide of the right-hand upright.
Hudson handed the 20-year-old only his second start of the season and also welcomed Jayden Philogene back to the starting line-up after undergoing surgery on a hernia.
Ryan Wintle went into referee Keith Stroud’s notebook for a push on Iroegbunam in the 32nd minute, but from a great position just outside the D, Ken Paal failed to hit the target or force a save.
Rangers felt they should have had a penalty for shirt-pulling by Romeo on Jimmy Dunne, yet the officials were having none of it. Cardiff then ended the half with the best chance of the opening 45 minutes when Wintle sent in a ball from the right that Perry Ng met but headed wide.
The second half started brightly for both teams and Cardiff striker Kion Etete had a couple of chances to break the deadlock. His first effort hit the stanchion just to the right of a post after turning smartly in the box.
His second miss came on the hour mark when a back-post flick across goal by Callum Robinson, from a ball into the box from the left by Joe Ralls, found Etete only for him to blast his shot over the bar.
Critchley rolled the dice on 72 minutes when he changed his whole frontline, taking off Albert Odomah, Chris Willock and Lyndon Dykes and replacing them with Tyler Roberts, Olamide Shodipo and Moroccan World Cup star Ilias Chair.
It was a gamble that did not bear fruit and the game petered out into a lacklustre goalless draw, leaving Cardiff two points above the drop zone in 20th.