Cardiff 0-1 QPR (report)
QPR arrived in Cardiff full of confidence after a resurgence in form under new manager John Gregory. Cardiff duo Paul Parry and Steve Thompson passed late fitness tests while teenage defender Chris Gunter started his first Championship game for Cardiff.
The game started brightly with Chelsea loan player and in-form attacking midfielder Jimmy Smith seeing an early shot fly wide. The game was even but neither time could get their foot on the ball and few chances came around. Just 14 minutes in former Cardiff player Gareth Ainsworth was withdrawn after landing on his ankle, he went off to a good reception from both sets of fans and responded with a forlorn ayatollah as he trudged off.
On 17 minutes, £10million rated winger Lee Cook failed to beat Gunter but still found the space to whip a dangerous cross met by Dexter Blackstock but his glanced header went wide and just minutes later Cook forced a superb fingertip save from Alexander with a curling 18 yard shot. Another hairy moment for Cardiff came on the half hour when a woeful hooked backpass from McPhail left Alexander under pressure and his clearance hit the onrushing Blackstock and rebounded favourably for the striker but he fell at the crucial moment and Alexander blocked with his feet.
Cardiff were having their fair share of possession but creating no chances, a Parry thunderbolt flew over from 20 yards and on half time Michael Chopra was cynically blocked off by defender Stewart as he darted into the box. It probably wasn`t worth a penalty but still frustrating for Cardiff as Chopra was almost through and Stewart clearly blocked his path.
HT: Cardiff City 0-0 Queens Park Rangers
On 54 minutes came Cardiff`s best moment of the match as Kevin McNaughton ran the length of the pitch, cutting inside to curl a rasping shot onto the crossbar, the dip on the shot was fantastic and the Scottish defender was desperately unlucky with Royce well beaten. A Paul Parry goal was then disallowed for offside as Cardiff began to dominate after the break. There looked to be only one possible winner as QPR sat deeper and became more content with a point b ut still City failed to create chances and gave the ball away with alarming regularity.
With the game all but over a quick QPR break stole all 3 points for the R`s to leave Cardiff devastated and end the unbeaten home record. A push on Darren Purse saw penalty appeals waved away and QPR swept forward. Nick Ward cut between McNaughton and Ledley and curled an enticing low cross across the area where teenage substitute Ray Jones was lurking to poke past Alexander. It was a cruel blow for Cardiff as they were by far the more threatening side in the second half.