There was a touch of bemusement about the new Crystal Palace manager, Neil Warnock, after a match that leaves both teams in the Championship relegation zone. The way in which his side earned their point – an 88th-minute header from Clinton Morrison which was the Selhurst Park favourite's 100th goal for the club – meant that an afternoon of largely turgid football ended on a crescendo of excitement. "You'd have thought we'd won the World Cup," Warnock reflected drily.
Yet he made no secret of the fact that he had had to bawl out a number of his underachieving players after a first half in which they had fallen behind on the stroke of half-time to a smart header by Scott Sinclair – on loan from Chelsea – after an equally smart cross from Akos Buzsaky – on loan from Plymouth. The pair may be temporary, but they look capable of doing permanent damage to Championship sides.
"I had to say a few words to my players for the first time since I've been here – but now they know what I'm like," said Warnock with the ghost of a grin. "People at the club have to understand what I want. If they can't or won't do it I'll have to change things around."
After six games in charge, the man who took Sheffield United up the Premiership hill and down again is still without a win; certain players are clearly operating on borrowed time.
Morrison offered corroboration of his manager's interlude of wrath. "It's the first time I've heard him ranting and raving," he said. "He was breathing heavy. It's not a nice sight – but it wasn't directed at me. And he was right. The players know what they have to do and they were not doing it.
"We didn't get in their faces and the manager let us know about it. They were there for the taking if we had played the football which we can do. But we are lacking in confidence. We've got to start being more ruthless."
If that is true of Palace, it is half true of Rangers, who are also accommodating to a new manager following Luigi Di Canio's arrival late last month. They made three clear chances to put this game beyond doubt in the second half, but on each occasion inspired interventions by the Palace keeper Julian Speroni frustrated them.
Goals: Sinclair (45) 0-1; Morrison (88) 1-1.
Crystal Palace: (4-4-2): Speroni; Lawrence, Hudson, Fonte, Hill; Soares (Freedman, 72), Watson (Bostock, 54), Ifill; Kennedy; Songo'o (Hall, h-t), Morrison. Substitutes not used: Idrizaj, Hills.
Queen's Park Rangers (4-5-1): Camp; Timoska, Stewart, Mancienne, Barker; Rowlands (Ainsworth, 86min), Bolder (Rehman, 90), Buzsaky, Leigertwood, Sinclair; Vine (Sahar, 89). Substitutes not used: Cole, Nardiello.
Referee: P Walton (Northants).
Man of the match: Speroni.
Attendance: 17,010.Reuse content