Adel Taarabt missed a penalty as Queens Park Rangers drew 0-0 yet again, as their clash against Norwich produced an entertaining spectacle but also saw great performances from both goalkeepers.
Harry Redknapp may have gained a few creditable 0-0 draws in his time as Queens Park Rangers manager, but this was not one of them, and if they cannot escape the drop come May, it could well go down as one of the biggest opportunities they had to gain more points.
As befitted the game's status as a relegation clash, both teams got off to a shaky start, defending and finishing in a highly nervy manner. Wes Hoolahan, reinstated to the Norwich starting eleven, was the first to go close after Robert Snodgrass found him in the area with a cross, but his close-range effort was nonetheless off target.
Adel Taarabt was next to have a go, the Moroccan playmaker typically bright and lively, and he produced some fantastic skill to jink past a statuesque Norwich defence before letting fly with a long-range effort which flew just wide of the post. As the first half wore on, the Rs pressing seemed to get them into a dominant position as they desperately looked for a lead, although they almost fell behind when Robert Snodgrass suddenly materialised unmarked in the area to get on the end of a cross, but fortunately for the home side his header was tame and easily saved by Julio Cesar.
Despite the introduction of gargantuan new signing Christopher Samba, the home side were continually loking susceptible in the air, and Grant Holt had a similar chance shortly afterwards but again could only direct his header at Cesar. In the end, an even half ended 0-0.
After the break, the game continued in much the same fashion before exploding into life when Norwich came very, very close to taking the lead. Julio Cesar proved he's still a great keeper by pulling off a superb save from Wes Hoolahan, before Grant Holt wastefully directed a header over when the ball was sent back in. After collecting the ball, QPR immediately went on the attack, and Mark Bunn ended up bringing down Jamie Mackie in the area to give the hosts a penalty and the referee a difficult decision to make.
Neither were to be favourable for the hosts - Bunn was only given a yellow card, since Mackie was heading away from goal when fouled, and when Adel Taarabt stepped up to take the penalty, his tame effort was saved by Bunn, an atonement for his error to keep the scores level. Taarabt soon attempted to follow suit with a stinging shot from range, but Bunn again managed to claw it out.
The hosts' recent transfer activity had showed their desperation, and it began manifesting itself on the pitch too as they pressed furiously in search of a winner. The biggest - in every sense - of those signings Christopher Samba almost put the Rs in front from a free-kick, but Grant Holt, doing a better job of defending than he had in attack, cleared off the line.
Both sides were to produce clear chances in the remaining 20 minutes, but it was goalkeepers, not defences who were on top to keep the game scoreless. A long-range effort from Robert Snodgrass appeared to be arrowing to the top corner before Julio Cesar pulled off another remarkable stop, before Mark Bunn did the same from Andros Townsend's effort. A draw was a fair result for both sides, but Taarabt's missed penalty will had left the home side feeling stung.