James McCarthy scored twice to earn a point for the Latics and leave Harry Redknapp still searching for his first win as Rs boss despite holding a brief second-half lead
Harry Redknapp's search for a first win as QPR manager goes on after two goals from James McCarthy salvaged a point for Wigan against the Premier League's bottom club.
McCarthy broke the deadlock in the 19th minute, beating Rob Green with a brilliant volley, but the home side were pegged back by Ryan Nelsen's thumping header seven minutes later. Substitute Djibril Cisse gave the Rs the lead in the 71st minute, but Redknapp’s hopes of achieving a first victory were dashed by McCarthy’s equaliser.
An injury crisis forced Roberto Martinez, also without the suspended Maynor Figueroa, to shuffle his defensive pack with Emmerson Boyce, Ronnie Stam and Adriano Lopez forming a new-look back three, while David Jones was deployed in an unfamiliar right wing-back position.
Harry Redknapp made just one change to the side that drew at Aston Villa last week, bringing Sean Derry into the midfield to provide some defensive shielding at the expense of Esteban Granero.
Despite being marooned at the foot of the table, Rangers have perked up since Redknapp replaced Mark Hughes in the dugout and started brightly, Shaun Wright-Phillips threatened first, stinging the palms of Ali Al-Habsi with a cross-cum-shot from the right in the third minute.
But, against the run of play, the Latics snatched the lead courtesy of a stunning strike from McCarthy. An unorthodox free kick from David Jones was tipped over by Rob Green but, from the resulting corner, the midfielder reacted to a poor defensive header from Jamie Mackie to rifle a superb first-time volley into the far corner.
The visitors regrouped and deservedly restored parity seven minutes later when Nelsen gave Lopez the slip to meet Adel Taraabt’s in-swinging corner at the near post and thunder a header past Al-Habsi. Both sides continued to press towards the end of the halfm with Franco Di Santo missing a sitter at the back post for hosts.
It was one-way traffic after the break as Wigan looked to regain the lead and McCarthy was denied a second goal by a close0range save from Green. The Rs shot-stopper then had to be on his toes to palm away two long-range efforts from Jordi Gomez as Redknapp's men found themselves penned into their own half.
A brief spell of respite came with 20 minutes remaining and QPR took full advantage. Cisse guided Wright-Phillip's low cross past Al-Habsi from 12-yards after the winger had profited from Lopez's misplaced pass deep in Wigan territory.
However, the lead would last just over two minutes and, not for the first time this term, QPR switched off at the back allowing Jean Beausejour to pick out McCarthy, who took advantage of the space provided to control and drive the ball past Green through a crowd of red and white shirts.