Warnock's goodwill tested
Swansea City 1 Queens Park Rangers 1
Is it too late to send a Christmas card? If not, perhaps Lee Probert should pop one in the post for Jamie Mackie for helping him escape the very worst of Neil Warnock's venom yesterday.
As it was the QPR manager didn't hold back, regardless of how courageously he tried. Swansea's opener by Danny Graham was clearly handled and when put alongside a gutsy QPR fightback at a stadium where only Manchester United have won as League visitors this season, it added up to inevitable malcontent.
"I'm disappointed that we haven't got three points," said Warnock. "We got the stuffing knocked out of us. I spoke to the referee and he said he had seen it but decided it was not deliberate, which makes it even worse for me. It was a crucial decision, a big decision like that. You have to know the game."
Warnock was asked what he made of Probert's performance over the 90 minutes. "He was consistent right from the first minute to the last," he replied.
At least his opposite number agreed with Warnock on that point. Brendan Rodgers was aghast that Graham, the striker who has recently done so much to justify the tag of record signing, was not awarded a spot-kick late on.
"It was a clear penalty," said Rodgers concerning the incident involving Armand Traoré. " Our movement was good and Traoré's made the foul on Danny. Normally when that happens you expect to get a penalty. I thought it summed up Lee's performance, which was interesting to say the least."
In truth, the draw was the right result, as Warnock acknowledged. "I haven't seen it, but I hope it was a stonewall penalty for Swansea," he said. "Because, at least it evened things out."
Swansea's crisp passing game controlled the first half, but QPR showed plenty of gumption to wrest back the momentum. Saying that, before Swansea broke through in the 14th minute, Rangers might have scored themselves when Mackie came close to deceiving Michel Vorm with a looping header. The message from Warnock was clear: disrupt the Swansea tippy-tappy and work from there. To this end Joey Barton was born, while Adel Taarabt had one of his good days. But in Leon Britton Swansea possess a little marvel. The diminutive midfielder knows the quality his side possesses on the flanks and Wayne Routledge justified this faith with the low cross which led to Graham's sixth goal of the season. The problem is he used his left arm to control it, which was a shame as the finish was exemplary. No doubt he was given too much time, but his swivel and curling shot into the far corner were on the superlative side of commendable.
The same could be said of Vorm 15 minutes later. The Dutch goalkeeper produced a superb, one-handed reflex save to repel a ferocious Barton strike.
Mackie's leveller, in the 58th minute, was, in its own way, as impressive as that of Graham, capitalising on the error by Britton before a clinical shot past Vorm.
QPR largely bossed proceedings from there on in – but were hugely fortunate not to concede that penalty.
Man of the match Britton.
Match rating 6/10.
Referee L Probert (Wiltshire).
Points made: Bumper number of draws
There were seven top-flight draws in the last two days, the most since December 1995. Those results in full:
Chelsea 1-1 Fulham
Liverpool 1-1 Blackburn Rovers
Stoke City 0-0 Aston Villa
Sunderland 1-1 Everton
West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Man City
Arsenal 1-1 Wolves
Swansea City 1-1 QPR
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