Soccer

Goalkeepers on top as Birmingham and QPR play out goalless draw

Birmingham could not find a way past QPR goalkeeper Asmir Begovic (Nigel French/PA).
Birmingham could not find a way past QPR goalkeeper Asmir Begovic (Nigel French/PA). Birmingham could not find a way past QPR goalkeeper Asmir Begovic (Nigel French/PA).

Goalkeepers John Ruddy and Asmir Begovic were the stars as Birmingham and QPR battled to a 0-0 Championship draw at St Andrew’s.

Begovic, the former Chelsea, Bournemouth and Stoke goalkeeper, and ex-Wolves keeper Ruddy, both 36, produced a string of saves as the hosts missed the chance to climb into the top six overnight.

QPR created the first chance when Ilias Chair crossed from the left and Sinclair Armstrong looped a header over the bar.

Only a desperate, acrobatic goal-line clearance from QPR midfielder Sam Field prevented Blues taking a 21st-minute lead.

Lee Buchanan’s fierce cross flicked off centre-back Steve Cook and looped over Begovic, but Field hooked the ball away, replays showing it was half over the line.

For all Birmingham’s attacking intent, QPR forced the first save of the game when Paul Smyth cut in on his left foot and his shot from just inside the box was pushed away by Ruddy.

Blues responded soon after when right-back Cody Drameh’s cross-shot was shovelled away at the near post by Begovic.

The home side continued to push for the opening goal and had three efforts blocked in the box, Jay Stansfield trying his luck with a header and then a shot either side of an effort from Miyoshi.

They then went close to taking the lead within two minutes of the restart.

This time Krystian Bielik produced a snapshot that was kept out by a stunning one-handed save by Begovic at full stretch.

Rangers went just as close to breaking the deadlock from the next move.

Chair gave himself room to cross on the run after a one-two split the defence and he pulled the ball back to Field, whose side-footed effort was palmed away by Ruddy and hit Armstrong before bouncing just wide.

Scott Hogan then missed a golden chance. The Birmingham striker had only Begovic to beat after Miyoshi put him through but sidefooted too close to the keeper.

Stansfield forced another save from Begovic when he cut inside and fired goalward from just inside the box.

But Ruddy produced arguably the save of the match when he tipped away Lyndon Dykes’ downward header from Albert Adomah’s cross as both sides had to settle for a point.