Dec 8 2012 By Paul Warburton
Wigan 2-2 QPR
DJIBRIL Cissé made his point with a goal that looked to have broken the QPR hoodoo – only to see his second goal of the season cancelled out two minutes later.
The sub came on in the second half, but Rangers hearts sank when James McCarthy levelled to set a new Premier League record of 16 games without a win from the start of the season.
In truth, even the point was down to heroics of captain Ryan Nelsen – brilliant at the back, and behind him the much-maligned Rob Green in goal who pulled off a string of vital saves in the pouring rain.
A bright start from Rangers got dampened when McCarthy lashed home a half-cleared corner on 19 minutes.
The galling thing for Rs was Jamie Mackie instinctively turned his back on his own clearance as McCarthy took aim.
The low drive caught the striker’s heel to fly past Green’s right and echo the same way Hoops conceded the telling Wigan goal 12 months ago when Akos Buzsaky also flinched to catch a deflection and in for 2-0.
However, Rangers were level six minutes later when Adel Taarabt’s corner was powered home by Nelsen at the near post.
One of the few QPR successes of a miserable campaign saw Ali Al Habsi get a hand to the bullet header – but was powerless to prevent it smack the back of the net.
Clint Hill’s earlier aerial challenge on Arouna Kone was lucky to go unpunished. And the Rs defender got away with it a second time when he let go a snaking cross from the right only to see Franco Di Santo at the back post stab the ball into Green’s grateful hands.
As the conditions worsened, Taarabt picked up a pointless yellow card under the nose of his boss on the touchline when he scythed down Ronnie Stam on the stroke of half time.
Green made a great save on 50 minutes when Kone wormed his way through the centre and saw McCarthy fire point blank only to see the Rs keeper shin the ball away.
Jordi Gomez then twice hammered efforts Green did well to parry – one in the air; one low to his left, but was powerless to do anything but watch Di Santo hook against the bar seconds later.
For the first time in the half, Al Habsi was called into action on 68 minutes when great work on the right from Mackie was rewarded with a scooped shot from Stephane M’Bia that needed the keeper to push the ball away.
The anonymous Shaun Wright-Phillips then produced a moment of magic to time his square pass to perfection that saw Cissé (pic) sweep home inside the box.
The lead was short lived, however, a little over two minutes to be precise.
Jean Beausejour was given all the time he needed on the left to cut back into the path of McCarthy who stabbed through Hill’s legs and beyond Green and produce a point that does neither side much good at the foot of the table.
QPR: 4-1-4-1: Green, Bosingwa (Fabio 85), Nelsen, Hill, Traore; M’Bia; Wright-Phillips, Derry, Diakite (Granero 77); Taarabt (Cissé 58); Mackie; Substitutes not used: Murphy, Ferdinand, Faurlin, Hoilett