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Saturday 30 August K.O. 17:30

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Loftus Road Stadium | 21st October 2012 16:00

QPR v Everton

A second consecutive draw on the road maintains Everton's grip on fourth spot in the Premier League table as the focus now turns to the Merseyside derby.

David Moyes' men had to dig deep though to hold on for a 1-1 draw after having to play the final 30 minutes of this contest with 10 men.

A controversial red-card for Steven Pienaar after a second yellow card from referee Jon Moss not only presented the Toffees with a major challenge in this contest - it means the South African is now likely to be suspended for the derby.

Everton had to be thankful to an own goal from QPR keeper Julio Cesar for their share of the spoils in this contest - a Sylvain Distin header against the post re-bounding off the shot-stopper.

It was no less than Everton merited though - and that slice of luck was certainly deserved after the home side's opening goal.

It seemed unfeasible after an impressive spell of possession from Everton straight from the kick-off that the side to net the opening goal would be wearing hoops.

But that is precisely what transpired, Junior Hoilett leading a one-man counter-attack from the second of two early Everton corner-kicks before unleashing a shot that found the net courtesy of a wicked deflection off Leighton Baines which wrong-footed the helpless Tim Howard.

But a characteristic of this Everton side so far this term has been their cool headed approach in such circumstances. And from the restart they continued playing neat football.

Sylvain Distin heads at goal, resulting in a Julio Cesar own goal.Sylvain Distin heads at goal, resulting in a Julio Cesar own goal

QPR maintained a threat of their own though, as a strong header from Ryan Nelsen that flashed over the bar in the 22nd minute illustrated.

Ironically, when the equaliser did come it was at a time in the game when we appeared to have gone off the boil a little.

Steven Pienaar floated a free-kick into the box, Distin headed against the post and the rebound went in off Julio Cesar.

Reinvigorated, before the interval a strong penalty claim for a foul on Nikica Jelavic was denied and Phil Jagielka rattled the crossbar with a header.

Having started the game in a more central position, Pienaar switching back to the left side helped the balance of the side and provided Baines with his customary passing partner. Whilst he was on the pitch at least.

His red-card for a second yellow on the hour mark deprived the Blues of a key attacking lynchpin. The reaction of those 2,994 Everton fans in the wake of the dismissal suggested their view of referee Moss' decision was one of incredulity.

Early in the second period Steven Naismith replaced Anichebe and when Pienaar saw red the focus of much of Everton's attacking play fell to the Scot and Mirallas.

Steven Pienaar tangles with Esteban Granero.Steven Pienaar tangles with Esteban Granero

Mirallas' quick feet saw a thunderbolt deflected over for a corner. And from that corner a Distin back-post header was guided goalwards by Jagielka.

The England international was denied by a stooping save by Cesar. Indeed, despite QPR's numerical advantage it was the men in black who looked most dangerous and hungry for victory in the closing stages.

And that hunger was reflected in some outstanding defending, with Coleman and Distin both putting their bodies on the line to deny shots. When Hoilett did get a shot away in the 75th minute Howard produced a stunning one-handed stop - and then bettered it to deny the same player eight minutes later.

The home fans called for a penalty against Coleman with 10 minutes remaining but referee Moss waved away the claims as the numerical disadvantage finally started to take its toll on Moyes' men.

But they held on brilliantly, with the imperious Jagielka setting the tone with a series of brave challenges - the final coming in injury time as QPR searched for a winner.
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