Queen’s Park Rangers got their first goal at home this season through an unlikely source as they equalised in stoppage time against Aston Villa to draw 1-1 at Loftus Road.
Richard Dunne was the unlucky goal scorer for QPR as the Aston Villa player defended valiantly for 90 minutes but was in the wrong place at the wrong time when Heidar Helguson’s low cross into the area bounced off Stephen Warnock and onto Dunne’s thigh and then into the back of his own net.
Aston Villa had taken the lead in the second half through a penalty taken and scored by Scottish midfielder Barry Bannan after Armand Traore was adjudged to have pulled down Gabriel Agbonlahor in the 57th minute.
QPR ran the game in the first half as they had most of the possession and closed down Aston Villa when they didn’t have the ball.
Despite their dominance, Neil Warnock’s team couldn’t convert their possession into goals and went in at half time still level with Villa.
QPR did have chances, and in the 5th minute Adel Taarabt rattled Shay Given’s cross bar with a long range shot.
Joey Barton and Jay Bothroyd both had chances created by each other when Barton whipped in a cross from a free kick that Bothroyd failed to get any meaningful contact on with his head.
Bothroyd then returned the favour in the 25th minute when his brilliant cross found Barton at the back post but Barton couldn’t hit the target from a tricky angle.
The best chance of the first half came to Aston Villa however, when in the 42nd minute Barry Bannan’s excellent free kick beat the wall but not Paddy Kenny, who produced a brilliant save to deny Villa the opening goal.
Aston Villa looked a different team in the second half as they kept possession much better and passed it around with greater confidence and Fabian Delph nearly put Villa ahead when his chip just went wide of the post.
The dubious reward for Villa’s good play came in the 58th minute when Agbonlahor stretched to get on the end of a cross from the left by Warnock but was pulled back by Armand Traore.
The contact seemed minimal but the referee had made his mind up as he also booked Traore for the foul.
Bannan had no trouble converting the penalty despite Kenny guessing the right way; Bannan’s shot was drilled low into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
QPR had two penalty appeals, firstly in the 71st minute when Shaun Derry’s shot was intentionally blocked by Alan Hutton’s arm and then in the 88th minute when the ball struck Hutton’s hand again, although the second time was less deliberate.
It looked like it wouldn’t be QPR’s day when Traore received his marching orders in the 90th minute when his poor tackle on Albrighton saw the former Arsenal man pick up his second yellow card and a dressing down by manager Neil Warnock on the sideline.
But Warnock’s side got their justice in the 93rd minute thanks to Dunne’s own goal and although Warnock was apoplectic towards referee Michael Oliver by the end, a point each was the deserved result.
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QPR 1-1 Aston Villa
Full time: The referee blows the final whistle and QPR gain a point after trailing for so long in the second half. Aston Villa’s second half performance was much better than their first but QPR deserved something from the game after their dominance in the first half. The penalty was a soft one and QPR will also count themselves unlucky not to get at least two penalties after Hutton handled it twice inside his own box.
90min+3: GOAL! QPR equalise after Helugson’s low cross from the left causes trouble in the Villa box as the ball bounces off Richard Dunne and into the back of the net. OG to Dunne.
90min+3: Albrighton breaks and wins a corner after a deflected shot. QPR eventually get a goal kick and will look to send the ball into the Villa box.
90min+2: There will be 5 minutes of added time.
90min: Helguson crosses to Smith whose header is cut back but no one can get on the end of it. Armand Traore then sees red after rushing into a tackle late on Albrighton. It’s the full backs second yellow and he’s off.
89min: Villa win a corner and are taking their time over it.
88min: QPR win a free kick and the resulting cross looks to have hit Hutton’s hand again but the referee gives nothing.
87min: Tommy Smith comes on for Shaun Wright-Phillips.
85min: DJ Campbell puts a poor shot over the bar from the free kick. Charles N’Zogbia makes way for Andy Weimann.
84min: Barton hits the wall with a poor shot from the free kick. Collins gives away another free kick in a similar position.
83min: Warnock gives away a free just outside Villa’s box.
82min: Villa break from the corner and the ball is eventually put out for a corner to Villa by Fitz Hall. The corner comes to nothing and N’Zogbia is booked for stopping the counter attack.
81min: N’Zogbia fouls Barton on the halfway line and QPR have a free kick. Helguson climbs high to get onto Barton’s cross and wins a corner.
80min: James Collins blocks Taarabt’s cross but the ball rolls out for a goal kick.
79min: Heidar Helguson comes on for QPR and replaces Shaun Derry.
78min: Agbonlahor is booked for a soft challenge on Ferdinand after the Villa striker was nearly through on goal.
76min: QPR win a corner after some good build up play but Villa defend it well and break. Traore nearly gives it away to N’Zogbia but he gets away with his mistake.
74min: QPR have a corner but Given is fouled by Barton and a free is given to Villa out.
73min: Paddy Kenny mistimes his run to collect the ball and looks in trouble against Agbonlahor but he displays good foot work to regain the ball.
71min: Barton’s free kick is put out of play by Given and Shaun Derry nearly scores from the corner. Shouts for hand ball as the ball seemed to strike Alan Hutton’s arm.
70min: Petrov is booked for a tough challenge on Wright-Phillips.
69min: Wright-Phillips has a shot brilliantly saved by Shay Given.
66min: DJ Campbell comes on for Jay Bothroyd. Barton was lucky to escape a tackle on Delph without at least a caution as his studs were showing.
65min: Barry Bannan latches onto to a cross at the back post but Kenny saves.
63min: Collins is booked for a foul on Jay Bothroyd.
62min: Faurlin wastes the opportunity as his shot goes over the bar.
61min: Wright-Phillips wins a free kick outside Villa’s box after Richard Dunne brings him down.
60min: N’Zogbia has a shot go wide of the post.
58min: GOAL! Barry Bannan scores the penalty. It was one of the softest penalties you will see and looks like a gift from the referee to Villa.
57min: Penalty to Villa. The referee has given a penalty after Traore is adjudged to have pulled down Agbonlahor.
55min: Fabian Delph has a brilliant opportunity to score after Barry Bannan sets him up with a great pass but his chip goes wide of the post.
54min: Barry Bannan has a shot on goal but it hits N’Zogbia on the head and Paddy Kenny collects.
53min: Paddy Kenny does well to cut out a chance for N’Zogbia on the edge of the QPR area.
52min: Agbonlahor nearly gets past Anton Ferdinand but he is adjudged to have fouled the QPR defender and gives away a free kick.
49min: Foul by Bothroyd on Petrov. Villa have had better possession of the ball in this half as Collins gets on the end of the free kick but no one is in the box to finish the chance.
48min: Alan Hutton is booked for a challenge from behind on Wright-Phillips.
47min: Chance for Villa as N’Zogbia sets up Fabian Delph inside the QPR box but his shot is blocked. Better play from Aston Villa.
46min: We’re underway at Loftus Road for the second half.
Half time: It’s half time at Loftus Road and QPR have been on top. They dominated play in midfield but have failed to turn their good work into goals.
45min+2: Petrov wins a corner after good interplay between himself and Barry Bannan. James Collins should do better from the corner as he has a free shot at goal but it’s off target.
45min: There will be 3 added minutes of stoppage time.
44min: Villa win a free kick in a good position outside QPR’s box. Barry Bannan beats the wall and has a brilliant effort saved by Paddy Kenny.
42min: Villa win a corner and Richard Dunne forces another one. Luke Young clears as Dunne puts more pressure on the QPR defence.
41min: Bothroyd wastes the opportunity as he hits the wall. Barton is back on the pitch.
40min: Stephen Warnock is booked for a Barton-esque challenge on Joey Barton and QPR have a chance from a free kick.
39min: N’Zogbia wins a corner for Villa. Shots for handball off Bothroyd but the referee gives nothing as Paddy Kenny collects.
37min: Ireland gets a rare opportunity to cross into the box but no one is in there to capitalise on it.
36min: Play gets back underway as Barton over hits a cross which results in a goal kick to Villa.
34min: Richard Dunne is penalised for a foul on Bothroyd. It didn’t look like the Irish centre-back did much wrong there as he just held his ground but the game stops as Bothroyd receives attention.
33min: Wright-Phillips is clean through on goal but he is flagged for offside.
30min: Corner to QPR after Barry Bannan defends well. Faurlin hits the short corner over the bar.
26min: Barton shoots but it goes well over the bar.
25min: Bothroyd’s cross finds Barton at the back post but his right-footed shot is mishit and Villa are let off the hook once again.
20min: Traore overhits a cross and then Taarabt’s shot is closed down by Petrov. Villa can’t get a foothold in the game as QPR are dominating the midfield play.
18min: The corner results in a free kick from the right of Villa’s box that Stephen Ireland gives away. Barton whips in a great ball that Bothroyd should have put into the back of the net. Let off for Aston Villa there.
17min: Good play from Bothroyd whose low cross across the face of Villa’s goal has to be turned out for a corner.
15min: The corner comes to nothing and replays show Joey Barton and N’Zogbia coming together as Barton’s arm collides with N’Zogbia’s face.
14min: Long free kick finds Bothroyd in the box but his header is weak. Stephen Warnock then makes a mistake and QPR pounce as Wright-Phillips shot is deflected out for a corner.
11min: Some neat passing by QPR in midfield but Villa have numbers behing the ball.
9min: The wall does its job and the Taarabt’s shot goes out for a corner which is defended by Villa.
8min: Petrov fouls Young and QPR have a free kick in a dangerous position a couple of yards outside Villa’s box.
7min: Stephen Ireland fouls Traore in the QPR box.
5min: Wonderful strike from Adel Taarabt who picks the ball up outside Villa’s box and lets fly with a shot that hits the post and goes wide. Unlucky.
4min: They take the corner short and the ball is easily cleared by Villa. Wright Phillips makes another diagnol run to try and get on the end of a long pass from the back but it’s over hit.
3min: Jay Bothroyd has a shot deflected for the first corner of the game to QPR.
1min: Villa kick off to get the game underway. Wright-Phillips gets on the end of a long pass from Luke Young but he fouls the Villa defender.
QPR: Paddy Kenny, Luke Young, Anton Ferdinand, Fitz Hall, Armand Traore, Alejandro Faurlin, Shaun Derry, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Adel Taarabt, Joey Barton, Jay Bothroyd.
Aston Villa: Shay Given, Alan Hutton, James Collins, Richard Dunne, Stephen Warnock, Stiliyan Petrov, Stephen Ireland, Fabian Delph, Charles N’Zogbia, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Barry Bannan.
Aston Villa will travel to Loftus Road on Sunday to face Neil Warnock’s new-look Queen’s Park Rangers; kick off at 4pm.
QPR haven’t conceded in their last two Premier League games and go into this Sunday’s clash with Aston Villa fresh from last week’s victory over Wolves, after not having to play in the midweek Carling Cup fixtures.
Warnock’s team were knocked out of the League Cup a month ago after a 2-0 defeat by Rochdale ended their hopes of a cup run but allowed QPR the breathing space of concentrating all of their energy on the league.
Alex McLeish’s fond memories of the Carling Cup from last year were cut to an abrupt end when Aston Villa were dumped out of the competition on Tuesday at the hands of a 2-0 defeat to Bolton.
McLeish knows the goodwill a successful cup run can generate towards a manager under pressure in the league and his Birmingham side’s League Cup victory last year is the main reason he was able to keep his job after being relegated with the Blues at the end of last season.
McLeish’s very recent history of being the manager of Aston Villa’s most hated rivals doesn’t lend him any goodwill at Villa Park however, and this season’s results are not exactly blowing away the Villa faithful.
Pressure is mounting on McLeish after just one win in five attempts in the Premier League, which came against Blackburn in the second week of the season.
Despite remaining unbeaten this season, Villa have drawn their last three games including home games against Wolves and Newcastle; fixtures that their fans would like to see them gaining three points in.
Their 2-0 home defeat to Bolton in the Carling Cup was disappointing for the club who have sold most of their high profile players from last season, with Ashley Cole and Stewart Downing moving on to Man United and Liverpool respectively.
QPR’s fortunes are somewhat different to Villa’s as things are looking up for the London club after being backed by a new owner and a couple of key signings give them a much better chance of staying in the Premier League at the end of the season.
The controversial signing of Joey Barton looks like a good deal on the pitch for a newly-promoted side like QPR but only time will tell if Barton, who has been made club captain by Warnock, is worth the trouble he brings off the field.
The signing of players with Premier League experience could be key as Warnock has brought in the skill and pace of Shaun Wright-Phillips and DJ Campbell to bolster their attack while Danny Gabbidon, Anton Ferdinand and former Aston Villa right-back Luke Young look to sure up QPR’s Championship defence.
Since the arrival of the likes of Barton, QPR have kept two clean sheets in their last two consecutive games and have looked quite convincing in their win over Wolves away from home last weekend.
Aston Villa have leaked goals this season and Sunday’s game at Loftus Road could see McLeish’s side be the next victim of the improving Queen’s Park Rangers.