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12:39 20th June 2014

Keith Millen’s third stint as caretaker manager began with a goalless draw at Queens Park Rangers as Palace picked up a useful point against a relegation rival.

The visitors enjoyed the better of the chances during the encounter, with Jason Puncheon coming closest to breaking the deadlock but he hit the post in the first-half, and nearly won the game at the death but Robert Green made a good save seconds before the final whistle.

However Millen would have been delighted with the efforts of his players who put in a much-improved performance than the Boxing Day defeat to Southampton, and were solid at the back with Julian Speroni’s clean sheet rarely threatened although James McArthur did have to clear a Steven Caulker header off his own goalline in the second-half.

Despite seeing Neil Warnock depart the day before and having playing just 48 hours earlier Palace began the livelier of the two sides and looked confident as they pushed bodies forward to try and find an early goal, but it was Rangers who had the first attempt through the in-form Charlie Austin but his first-time volley was easily saved by Speroni on 15 minutes.

Moments later Green was called into action when a stinging drive by Yannick Bolasie from 25 yards flew goalwards but the former England stopper was equal to it, however on 21 minutes he was grasping thin air when Joe Ledley squared the ball to Puncheon who curled the ball first-time around the goalkeeper but struck the post.

Millen’s men dictated the first-half and after James McArthur had zipped a long-ranger over Wilfried Zaha, playing as a lone striker, got in behind the R’s defence after a Bolasie flick-on but dragged his shot past the far post from a tight angle.

The hosts had barely troubled the Eagles during the first 45 minutes but Leroy Fer went close with a low strike from 20 yards shortly after the restart, and the Dutch international forced Speroni into a superb save with a vicious blast from fully 30 yards that the Palace custodian did well to push over his crossbar.

Puncheon was next to try his luck from distance and having seen one chance flash over, a minute later he forced Green to tip the ball over with a better attempt from range, but Palace were indebted to McArthur for keeping the scores level when Joey Barton’s corner was met by Caulker whose header was cleared off the line by the Scot.

With both sides playing on Boxing Day fatigue played its part in the latter stages and the opportunities dried up for both sides, but in the final seconds of injury time Puncheon forced Green into a low stop to prevent the Eagles taking all the points, but in the end they had to settle for just one.

QPR: Green, Isla, Dunne, Caulker, Hill, Hoilett, Barton, Henry, Fer (Vargas 65), Austin, Zamora (Phillips 75). Subs not used: McCarthy, Ferdinand, Onuoha, Mutch, Wright-Phillips. 

Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, McArthur, Ledley, Jedinak, Bolasie, Puncheon, Zaha (Campbell 67). Subs not used: Hennessey, Kelly, Hangeland, Bannan, Thomas, Doyle.