REPORT: WIGAN ATHLETIC 0 QPR 0
Latics will travel to west London on Monday for the Play-Offs of the Sky Bet Championship second leg with QPR as it started after a goal-less stalemate with the Hoops at the DW Stadium on Friday.
A game of little clear-cut opportunities saw Latics dominate possession with the visitors travelling back to the capital perhaps the happier with the draw.
Uwe Rosler made eight changes from the side that lost 4-3 at Blackburn Rovers on Saturday with Scott Carson, Gary Caldwell and Rob Kiernan the only players to retain their place.
Harry Redknapp made six changes to the Rangers side that won at Barnsley with Ravel Morrison, Junior Hoilett and Joey Barton all returning.
Danny Simpson, Richard Dunne and Clint Hill were all restored to a five-man back line at the DW Stadium.
Latics had the first chance of the evening as they retained the ball well in the early stages with Callum McManaman winning an early corner before Jordi Gomez’s deep take saw Caldwell force Rob Green into an early claim.
QPR come more into the game after the ten minute mark passed and it was only a fine block from James McArthur denying Gary O’Neil’s goal-bound effort that prevented Carson from being forced into his first save.
The real cup final atmosphere created by Latics’ intense start saw McArthur, McManaman and Hoops defender Dunne all booked inside the first half-hour.
The first-half saw little in the form of clear-cut opportunities, though Armand Traore went close when he burst forward and met Hoilett’s header 12 yards out only to see his effort go comfortably over.
A touch of class from Gomez almost sent Latics in at half-time ahead as he chested Caldwell’s diagonal pass down through Simpson’s legs before forcing a magnificent near post stop from Green with a stinging left-foot drive.
Rangers had the first effort on goal of the second half as Traore forced a good low save from Carson before McManaman broke up the other end and had Dunne back-pedalling towards his own goal, leaving Green to rush out and collect.
Latics replied with Marc-Antoine Fortune winning a free-kick 25 yards from goal before Shaun Maloney’s free-kick was blocked into the path of Gomez who floated a cross to the back post which Kiernan headed towards Green’s top corner but the England international claimed comfortably.
James Perch then went close to heading Latics in front as he raced into the area to go inches from meeting Jean Beausejour’s whipped cross just prior to the hour mark.
The golden opportunity for Latics fell to Fortune on 62 minutes as a Maloney corner wasn’t cleared by QPR and fell to Kiernan who drove across the six-yard box to an unmarked Fortune at the back post but he steered his effort over.
Fortune had another great chance minutes later as Beausejour’s cut-back was perfect for the Frenchman but his drive was well blocked by Simpson for the visitors.
Hoilett looked the most dangerous outlet for the visitors but he was limited to long range efforts as he met Barton’s pass and cut in from the left to fire wide, 25 yards out.
In fairness, QPR saw most of the play between the hour and 75th minute, though they created no clear-cut chances with O’Neil firing over from 25 yards as close as they come.