Blues held to first goalless draw of the season
Bersant Celina and David McGoldrick went close at either end of the game but Town had to settle for a point at Portman Road.
McGoldrick was denied early on and Celina sent a free-kick just over after Josh Scowen had been sent-off five minutes from time.
Rangers had their chances as well but were let down by the final ball in what was Town’s first goalless draw of the season.
Teddy Bishop was one of five changes to the Town side that went down at Wolves on Saturday, the midfielder making his first start of the campaign. Freddie Sears, Jonas Knudsen, Dominic Iorfa and David McGoldrick also came in.
Sears and McGoldrick were involved in Town’s first attacking foray, McGoldrick testing Alex Smithies with a right foot drive that the ‘keeper forced behind.
Idrissa Sylla was forced wide by Bart Bialkowski at the other end after a deflection fell kindly for the Rangers frontman, Iorfa doing well to quell the threat after former Town loanee Massimo Luongo had led a break for the visitors.
It needed a terrific tackle from Luke Chambers to block Sylla’s shot at goal after Luke Freeman had fed him inside the box, Iorfa unlucky at the other end to see the ball go behind after a slick Town move opened the way for him to get behind the Rangers defence.
Bialkowski had to be alert to tip over Jake Bidwell’s volley from Freeman’s free-kick, then the Town ‘keeper was in the right place to keep out Alex Baptiste’s header as Rangers looked the more likely to make the breakthrough.
McGoldrick went close with a left foot curler from 25 yards after he had linked up with Martyn Waghorn, Bishop then weaving his way past three opponents before being fouled - Waghorn’s delivery cleared.
Sylla volleyed over before Town were forced to make a change with Bishop, who had been bright, limping off and replaced by Grant Ward.
McGoldrick robbed Jordan Cousins inside the Town box with a timely challenge, then Blues broke and Sears’ cross was cleared at full stretch by Pawel Wszolek.
Smithies pushed out Callum Connolly’s blockbuster as Town began to build some momentum just before the break, Joe Garner almost finding Sears with a clever backheel.
The second-half got underway with Smithes plucking Iorfa’s cross out of the air as Garner challenged, Sylla then inches away from getting on the end of Cousins’ driven cross at the other end.
Nedum Onuoha kept out McGoldrick as the Town striker burst in on goal, Iorfa then doing superbly down the Blues’ right, his cross smothered away from danger.
Sylla couldn’t get on the end of Wszolek’s cross, Garner going close from Knudsen’s cross, then Bialkowski punched clear with distance as the points continued to hang in the balance.
Matt Smith replaced Sylla in the game’s first change deep into the match, the substitute denied an immediate impact with what looked to be a tap in by Chambers’ excellent interception.
Bright Osayi-Samuel entered the fray soon after, Cousins making way. Celina’s Town second change, Sears replaced.
QPR were reduced to 10 men five minutes from time when Scowen was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Ward on the edge of the box and from the free-kick, Celina was a foot over with the free-kick.
Garner claimed a penalty when his header from Celina’s cross hit a defender and Smith went close for the visitors but no Boxing Day knockout for either team.
Town: Bialkowski, Iorfa, Knudsen, Chambers, Webster, Bishop (Ward 41), Connolly, Sears (Celina 83), Garner, McGoldrick, Waghorn. Subs not used: Crowe, Smith, Spence, Kenlock, McDonnell. Booked: Knudsen.
QPR: Smithies, Bidwell, Onuoha, Freeman, Cousins (Osayi-Samuel 83), Scowen, Robinson, Baptiste, Luongo, Wszolek, Sylla (Smith 79). Subs not used: Lumley, Furlong, Hall, Washington, Chair. Sent-off: Scowen. Booked: Scowen.