QUEENS Park Rangers and Reading’s relegations from the Barclays Premier League were confirmed this afternoon as the R’s played out a goalless draw at the Madejski Stadium.
Despite the two sides drawing, with Aston Villa facing Wigan Athletic on the final day of the season it meant that only a QPR win today would be enough to stand a remote chance of avoiding the drop.
In a match that was devoid of chances and quality from both sides Rangers made five changes to the starting XI that lost 2-0 to Stoke City last weekend. It was one of those returning faces – Jermaine Jenas – that tested the Royals first when his shot from the edge of the box flew over keeper Alex McCarthy’s crossbar.
Esteban Granero then clipped the top of the home sides bar with a 22-yard free-kick after R’s talisman Adel Taarabt was brought down, as he closed down on the penalty area, by Reading midfielder Jem Karacan.
Midway through the first half Rangers supporters behind Rob Green’s goal thought Jay Bothroyd had put their side ahead and it was the closest QPR went to scoring all afternoon.
The ex-Cardiff City forward raced onto a ball over the top before toeing it past onrushing custodian McCarthy from just outside the 18-yard box. However, Bothroyd could only to watch it bounce agonisingly wide of the Reading post as Royals centre-back Sean Morrison ushered it out for a goal kick.
Taarabt then side footed past the angle from distance in the 32nd minute after a loose ball dropped kindly for the Moroccan on the edge of the area.
Redknapp's side nearly found themselves caught out seven minutes before half-time following a quickly taken free-kick by the Royals but Rob Green did enough to scramble away Pavel Pogrebnyak’s effort inside the six-yard box. Moments later the Berkshire club were denied a penalty when Stephen Kelly was sent crashing to the ground only for referee Kevin Friend to ignore the home crowds’ appeals.
Rangers started the second half with Loic Remy heading a corner from Granero over the Reading bar before Jose Bosingwa picked out Jenas with a cross from the right flank but his tame header rolled gently back to McCarthy in the Royals goal.
Reading’s Russian forward Pogrebnyak should have done better when gifted with an opportunity to open the scoring just after the hour mark but he shot wide of the target. The ex-Fulham frontman was played through on goal but bent his shot from 12-yards wide of Green’s far post before Danny Guthrie’s long range effort warmed the ex-England stoppers gloves.
Guthrie’s centre was headed over by Royals substitute Adam Le Fondre in the final ten minutes before a fine save from Rob Green denied Sean Morrison a winner. A corner from the Royals picked out the defender 8-yards from goal but his goalbound header was spectacularly tipped over to safety by Green.
Rangers’ response was for Bothroyd to force a low stop from McCarthy that the young Reading stopper spilled before gathering at the second attempt as three minutes of stoppage time failed to find a breakthrough.
In what has been a season to forget for the R’s they now know for certain that they will ply their trade next term in the Championship.