QPR picked up a point against Cardiff City, as a drab Sky Bet Championship fixture finished goalless in South Wales.
In a match starved of any real opportunities at either end, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s side played out a 0-0 draw in front of a crowd of over 27,000 at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Rangers’ best chance of note arrived late on when Massimo Luongo saw his shot tipped wide by David Marshall, whilst at the other end, Matt Ingram tipped Sean Morrison’s downward header wide to mark his QPR debut with a deserved clean sheet.
Hasselbaink made it clear in the build up to this fixture that he would look to rotate and ‘experiment when the time was right’ between now and the end of the season – and he was true to his word at the Cardiff City Stadium, handing goalkeeper Ingram a first start in Rangers colours.
The 22 year-old replaced Alex Smithies in goal for his full debut following his January move from Wycombe Wanderers.
In front of him, Clint Hill returned from a recent hamstring injury to partner Grant Hall at centre-back, with skipper Nedum Onuoha and Paul Konchesky occupying the full-back berths.
The R’s gaffer named three central midfielders in his starting XI, with Ale Faurlin returning to play alongside Massimo Luongo, and Karl Henry utilised in a right midfield role.
Matty Phillips lined up on the left hand side of midfield, with Tjaronn Chery playing just off Sebastian Polter, who again led the line.
Cardiff recalled fit-again Matt Connolly to their starting line-up – the former R’s defender featuring against his old side following a recent virus.
Bluebirds top-scorer Anthony Pilkington was partnered in attack by Dutchman Lex Immers.
On a bright April afternoon in South Wales, Rangers made a promising start, retaining possession with some ease in the opening five minutes.
Indeed, it was the visitors who fashioned the first chance of note on six minutes, when Polter’s header – from a Phillips free-kick – was deflected wide.
Cardiff’s Pilkington went to ground inside the box on 14 minutes, but referee Stephen Martin was perfectly positioned and waved away the appeals, booking the Bluebirds striker for simulation in the process.
Rangers continued to enjoy the lion’s share of possession as the half ticked towards its halfway stage, but there was little by way of chances to report at either end, if truth be told.
Phillips was enjoying a bit of space down the R’s left and when he beat two men and delivered to the far post, Bluebirds keeper David Marshall did well to pluck the ball out of the air with Polter and Chery waiting to pounce.
Ingram, on debut in the QPR goal, could not have had a quieter start to a game in his entire professional career to date, with the former Wycombe stopper a virtual spectator for the opening half an hour.
In fact, Ingram could not have had an easier first half in his time as a professional, as the two sides headed into the break goalless – with not a single shot on or off target to report for either side.
The second half started slightly more encouragingly, with both Cardiff and QPR showing greater attacking intent in the opening ten minutes.
The first effort of the match arrived on 54 minutes (!) and it was the hardworking Polter who fired wide from distance following a swift Rangers counter.
Moments later at the other end, Scott Malone’s cross was met by Pilkington, who saw his header cannon off the post before flying wide.
At long last the game was showing signs of life – with Phillips the first player to register a shot on target, when his low drive was easily gathered by David Marshall.
Chery was next to try his luck following a neat passing move, but could only drag his left-footed shot wide.
Hasselbaink made his first change of the afternoon on 66 minutes, with Ben Gladwin introduced at the expense of Polter.
Cardiff responded in kind, with Sammy Ameobi coming on for Stuart O’Keefe.
Ingram’s first real involvement of any note arrived on 71 minutes – as he dived low to his right to tip Sean Morrison’s goalbound header to safety.
Soon after, last week’s matchwinner Nasser El Khayati replaced Chery, with the Dutchman brought on to offer Phillips support in attack.
However, it was Gladwin who created the next opportunity for the visitors, playing a neat ball into the near post for Luongo, who saw his low close range shot tipped wide by Marshall.
The R’s final change on 84 minutes saw Conor Washington replace Phillips, at a stadium where he made his international debut at for Northern Ireland last month.
Yet despite five minutes of second half stoppage-time, during which Hill cleared substitute Kenneth Zokore’s shot off the line, honours ended even in South Wales.