The hosts were unlucky to go behind early on, but came back almost instantaneously and were unlucky not to go on to snatch a winner with a dominant second-half displayA resurgent QPR side drew 1-1 against Aston Villa this afternoon, in what was Harry Redknapp'sfirst home game in charge of the club.
Both sides started well in front of an electrified crowd at Loftus Road. But it was the hosts who struck first through a fantastic strike from Brett Holman, before the hosts grabbed an equaliser courtesy of a Jamie Mackie header.
The closing stages of the first half were marred by an injury to Stephanie Mbia, as he was stretchered off towards the end of the first half with a suspected neck injury and taken straight to hospital as a precaution. The hosts were unlucky not to snatch a winner during the second period, as they continued to dominate possession and create chances throughout.
There was just one change to the hosts’ lineup from the side that drew with Sunderland on Wednesday, as Shaun Wright-Phillips stepped in to replace Djibril Cisse, allowing Mackie to function as a lone striker with Adel Taarabt in support. Robert Green came into goal for Julio Cesar, who is suffering from a groin injury.
For the visitors, Chris Herd and Eric Lichaj replaced Andreas Weimann and Enda Stevens. Christian Benteke continued up front, as want-away striker Darren Bent was once again left on the substitutes’ bench.
After a strong start from QPR, it was Aston Villa who struck inside the opening ten minutes. Ashley Westwood found Holman just outside the penalty area and the Australian took a touch before smashing a stinging half-volley towards goal, which Green could only touch into his own net.
But it was fantastic link up between Gabriel Agbonlahor and Benteke which led to the chance, with the latter showing good strength to fend off the defensive pairing of Clint Hill and Ryan Nelsen earlier in the move.
The home side then began to find its way back into the game, quickly netting an equaliser. Jose Bosingwa raced down the right before finding Samba Diakite on the edge of the area. The Malian produced an excellent cross towards the far post, and Mackie rose highest to nod past Brad Guzan.
Almost immediately after the restart Villa had the ball in the net through Benteke, but Howard Webb correctly ruled that the Belgian was offside. Wright-Phillips then went close twice in quick succession, with both opportunities coming from passes over the top of the Villans’ defence.
Guzan did well to rush out and narrow the angle for the first, forcing the winger to shoot straight at him. But the 31-year-old did better with the second, taking the chance early and smashing the ball against the post.
The Hoops started the second half much like the first, creating two fantastic chances within the first 15 minutes, but neither Wright-Phillips nor Park managed to find the back of the net. The home side continued to pepper the visitors’ goal through the half and was unfortunate not to snatch a winner in the closing stages.