Helguson's first half header looked to have won the game but Odemwingie dubiously beat the offside trap to provide Long with the late equalizer
As has been the case in three previous draws for Neil Warnock’s side at Loftus Road this season, QPR’s diligence at the back for the majority of the tie was undone in one foray forward from the visitors, and although Peter Odemwingie should have been flagged offside before providing the assist for Long, and the Republic of Ireland international was handed too much room to pounced on his strike partner’s pass.
QPR’s inconsistent form has largely been down to their poor defensive record but West Brom was greeted with a side intent on attack, and with Shaun Derry, the rugged defensive anchor, sacrificed, the onus was on Joey Barton and Alejandro Faurlin to orchestrate midfield in both departments.
The duo largely succeeded in the opening half, and combined they quashed the threat of James Morrison who was the furthest forward in midfield for the visitors. Additionally, they provided plenty of opportunities for the lively Shaun Wright-Phillips and Helguson to get forward.
West Brom’s lineup forced Long into isolation and with both Danny Gabbidon and Anton Ferdinand both intent on eradicating early-season defensive blunders, the Republic of Ireland striker struggled to fashion chances for himself. Similarly, the presence of Barton and Faurlin in midfield prevented frequent advances from Morrison and Mulumbu.
For all its forward thinking, QPR’s attacking philosophy was rewarded in the 19th minute as Helguson netted his sixth of the season. Shorey, the latest culprit of West Brom’s nonchalant approach to defending in recent weeks, squandered possession at the edge of his own area. While Mackie was unable to dribble past the left back, Barton took control and his cross to the back post was met by the in-form Icelandic striker, who headed firmly into the top corner.
Any retaliation from West Brom was not forthcoming as QPR pressed for the second. Wright-Phillips saw his arrowed shot past Foster into the top corner ruled out for offside, while Helguson had the opportunity to put the winger in with a one-on-one chance in the final minute of the first half, but his ball was cut vitally cut out by Jonas Olsson.
West Brom looked out of ideas until Odemwingie's introduction midway through the second half. The Nigerian's impact was crucial, however, as he dubiously sprung the offside trap to race clear of Luke Young before providing the ball for Long to equalize.
QPR failed to recover and despite enjoying the majority of possession and better chances, Warnock's charges only have a point to show for their efforts.