QUEENS Park Rangers recorded their third draw in a row under new boss Harry Redknapp at the DW Stadium this afternoon.
Rangers came from behind against Wigan Athletic to lead 2-1 in the second half before James McCarthy rescued a point for the home team with his second goal of the afternoon.
That came after Ryan Nelsen scored his first Barclays Premier League goal in two-years to level up and substitute Djrbril Cisse had given his team the lead.
However, McCarthy’s strike in the 74th minute ended any hopes of QPR’s first league win of the season.
Rangers had started brightly when Shaun Wright-Phillips forced Wigan keeper Ali Habsi into a one handed save inside the fourth minute when his stinging effort from the right of the penalty area tested the stopper. Moments later Adel Taarabt also warmed the Oman custodian’s hands.
Wright-Phillips had his centre cut out inside the six-yard box, with Jamie Mackie ready to pounce ten minutes later, before Ryan Nelsen was called into defensive action at the other end to head Franco Di Santo’s cross out for a corner.
That came to nothing but Robert Green was forced into a one handed save soon after. Jose Bosingwa fouled Jean Beausejour on the edge of the R’s penalty area. Wigan’s Jordi Gomez rolled the ball back to David Jones, who flicked it up before volleying on goal, Green was equal.
From the resulting corner the R’s found themselves behind thanks to a 19th minute strike from James McCarthy. Jamie Mackie failed to clear his lines from the flag kick and with McCarthy ready on the edge of the QPR penalty area he laced his shot past Green via the slightest of deflections from Mackie’s heel.
Wigan’s lead lasted just seven minutes when Queens Park Rangers levelled proceedings. Taarabt took a corner from the left-hand side and with R’s stand-in skipper Nelsen powering his way past the static Athletic defence he slammed his header past Al Habsi in front of the travelling Rangers support.
Buoyed by the equaliser Redknapp’s side suffered a scare soon after as Nelsen opted to leave Ronnie Stam’s right-wing cross to bounce inside the six-yard box. Fortunately for the visitors Di Santo was unable to direct it in on goal at the back post – stabbing wide.
The first half finished with Arouna Kone shooting wide from distance before Wright-Phillips also missed the target at the other end as Rangers broke on the counter attack.
After the break the pace of the match continued where it left off as both sides threw attack after attack. Wright-Phillips squared to Taarabt, who shot over, before Green was called into action to deny McCarthy with his legs. Stephane Mbia had been caught out following Derry’s pass allowing the home side to break but Green did well to deny Wigan.
Green was then called into action once more when he pushed Gomez’s 20-yard shot over the R’s bar with two hands in the 55th minute. The ex-England stopper was called upon to deny Jones stinging volley almost immediately before Gomez brushed the crossbar with a delicate chip from inside the penalty area from the ensuing scramble.
Having absorbed the Latics pressure QPR responded through Mbia’s right foot shot from 14-yards. Mackie’s hard work down the right flank saw him square but Al Habsi saved the tame effort in the 68th minute.
But three minutes later substitute Djbril Cisse had put Rangers 2-1 up. Mbia slid Wright-Phillips in on the left hand side of the penalty area; he pulled the ball back to Cisse, who coolly brushed it past Al Habsi from 14-yards with his left foot.
Rangers’ jubilation was short lived however as in the 74th minute Wigan were back level through the impressive James McCarthy. He started the move, finding Beausejour out wide before making his way into the QPR box, collecting the ball 14-yards out, and beating Green in the bottom corner.
Green denied Gomez a winner three minutes from time after Kone jinked his way past the QPR rear guard but the Spaniard was unable to beat the R’s stopper as he made a strong one-handed block. It proved vital for Redknapp’s team who return to Loftus Road with another point.