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17:00 29th December 2013
By  @OfficialQPR


QPR shared the spoils with Watford in a close encounter at Vicarage Road.

Neither team created a clear scoring opportunity and the final result was probably a fair outcome on reflection.

Goalkeepers Manuel Almunia and Rob Green were relatively untroubled in a fixture that ended goalless.

Harry Redknapp made four changes to his QPR side following the Boxing Day defeat to Nottingham Forest.

Karl Henry, Clint Hill, Jermaine Jenas and Bobby Zamora all came out of the starting line-up.

Hill and Jenas missed out altogether, however there were spots on the substitutes’ bench for both Henry and Zamora.

Joey Barton returned to the team following suspension and was also handed the captain’s armband in Hill’s absence, while Yossi Benayoun, Junior Hoilett and Nedum Onuoha also started.

Charlie Austin (hamstring) remained sidelined.

Rangers actually began the contest without a recognised striker.

Proceedings were tight early on, with Niko Kranjcar’s wayward blast the only effort on goal inside the opening 10 minutes.

QPR probably just about shaded the possession count though much of the first half made for a tentative affair.

Indeed, the first real opportunity didn’t arrive until the 21st minute. Passing play from Rangers ended with Tom Carroll back-heeling a Matty Phillips cross into the path of Kranjcar, who skewed wide.

Watford’s first attempt came shortly after, though Lewis McGugan shot way over.

The home side also enjoyed another opportunity moments later. Troy Deeney tried his luck with a chested effort that was comfortably taken by Green.

In the 27th minute, Kranjcar pulled a shot wide while Hornets starlet Sean Murray soon saw a deflected effort saved.

Kranjcar had yet another attempt just after the half-hour mark and went closest yet when curling inches past the post from 20 yards.

Phillips, meanwhile, turned Hector Bellerin magnificently well before dragging an effort wide on 38 minutes.

Barton’s defence-splitting pass in the 41st minute found Carroll in space out wide on the left and though his subsequent centre caused havoc among the home defence, Watford just managed to clear.

The first half ended goalless.

McGugan had the first attempt of the second period but fired high and wide of the target in the 48th minute.

At the other end – and just two minutes later – Phillips forced Almunia into a two-fisted punch of a save following a fierce drive. 

Green also had to produce a smart stop of his own to deny Diego Fabbrini in the 52nd minute, who shot low after a lovely one-two.

Defender Gabriele Angella headed over from a corner for the hosts in the 58th minute.

The contest remained without a goal – and just as close – come the midway point in the second half.

Rangers still just about had the better of the possession though lacked the cutting edge to open Watford up.

With that in mind, QPR boss Redknapp opted for a change in the 71st minute, with Andy Johnson brought on for Carroll.

That switch was followed with the introduction of Gary O’Neil just two minutes later, who replaced Benayoun, while Hoilett made way for Armand Traore with 12 minutes left to play.

Watford’s Murray had another deflected effort saved by Green in the 80th minute.

Rangers probed for late winner but were just unable to create any clear-cut opportunities to yield one.

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