Royce rolls Derby a rare blank

Derby County 0 Queen's Park Rangers 0
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The Independent Football

So there are some teams in form after all in the race for Championship play-off places. Following Tuesday night's failings by the chasing pack, Derby County and Queen's Park Rangers produced an entertaining, albeit goalless, clash at Pride Park.

Rangers, in danger of being run off their feet in the first hour, moved closer to sixth spot while the point edged their hosts back into fourth place.

Derby are wont to start at the gallop and began this one with the pent-up energy of a side playing their only match in four weeks. Rangers dealt untidily with a threatening, inswinging corner by Inigo Idiakez and saw Simon Royce pull down Tommy Smith's 25-yarder.

Such was Derby's vitality that it was not difficult to see why they had scored in each of their last 10 games in also going eight unbeaten in the League. Royce produced back-pedalling tip-overs to deny Marcus Tudgay and Idiakez, the latter landing another of his trade-mark free-kicks on top of the bar when leaving the keeper standing from close on 30 yards.

Although Kevin Gallen was shut out by Lee Camp at the other end and Martin Rowlands headed Lee Cook's centre over, the pressure continued pretty much unabated. Even Mo Konjic blazed one over, having got in on the act in more characteristic fashion when requiring treatment to his nose, which he broke in his previous game.

Grzegorz Rasiak, Derby's Polish international striker, was not having one of his better nights but was close to a breakthrough with a low left-foot drive that Royce saved well.

Not for nothing, though, had Rangers built a useful one-defeat-in-eight sequence of their own and they counter-attacked to good effect. Gallen hammered wide from Tom Huddlestone's clearing header, then Paul Furlong extended Camp with a powerful free-kick.

Derby replaced Tudgay with Marco Reich only to run out of ideas and Gallen almost won it for an increasingly menacing Rangers with a cross that curled inches wide.

Derby County (4-3-2-1): Camp; Kenna, Konjic, Huddlestone, Makin; Bolder, Bisgaard, Idiakez; Smith (Peschisolido, 82), Tudgay (Reich, 66); Rasiak. Substitutes not used: Grant (gk), Mills, Taylor.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Royce; Bignot, Davies, Rose (Edghill, 89), Shittu; Rowlands, Santos, Bircham (Ainsworth, 86), Cook; Furlong, Gallen. Substitutes not used: Rossi (gk), Thorpe, Cureton.

Referee: K Friend (Leicestershire).