Latics lose out to QPR captain's early second half strike.
- Latics lose to second half QPR strike from set piece.
- QPR captain Nedum Onuoha scores the winning goal.
- Jake Buxton and Luke Garbutt make their Wigan Athletic home debuts.
- Jordi Gomez comes off the bench to make his Latics return.
WIGAN ATHLETIC 0
QUEENS PARK RANGERS 1
Attendance: 10,606 (768 away)
Nedum Onuoha’s second half strike inflicted a first home defeat of the season on Latics, in a tight game at the DW Stadium.
Both sides had their chances in a close fought contest, but Queens Park Rangers frustrated Latics throughout, and just came out on top through Onuoha’s strike.
Latics boss Gary Caldwell made two changes to the side which lost narrowly at Nottingham Forest last week, with Jake Buxton and Nick Powell coming into the side in place of Dan Burn and Yanic Wildschut.
There was also a place on the bench for Jordi Gomez, who was included in the match day squad at the DW Stadium for the first time since resigning for Latics.
Caldwell’s men made a steady start to the game , and found themselves having to dig in for the opening few minutes against the visitors, who made a bright start to the contest.
Hasselbaink’s men were moving the ball down nicely, and were forcing Latics back into their own third, with Stephen Warnock and Luke Garbutt looking strong at the back.
Latics soon got a foothold on the game, with Nick Powell and Alex Gilbey both causing trouble in the host’s engine room.
Their first chance of the contest came on the quarter of an hour mark through Michael Jacobs, who caught QPR flat footed on the break.
The winger picked up the ball inside his own half, and showed a clever touch to beat Nedum Onuoha, before bombing down the left hand side and seeing his cross blocked.
Jacobs was looking dangerous, and he was unlucky not to repeat his goal at Nottingham Forest a week ago six minutes later, after being teed up in almost exact circumstances to last week by Alex Gilbey.
Gilbey bombed down the right-hand side and pulled the ball back for Jacobs inside the area, but the visitors were on this occasion able to get in a vital block before the winger could pull the trigger.
Both sides were cancelling each other out in an even first half, and for large periods restricted each other to testing the goal from distance.
Nick Powell did exactly that on 34 minutes, when he cut inside from the left flank, before pulling the trigger on the edge of the area, but his weak effort could only draw a routine save from Alex Smithies.
Latics were on the front foot, though, and had the ball in the net six minutes before the interval, when Craig Morgan guided the ball home at the far post.
Latics won a free-kick on the right-hand edge of the area which was taken by Luke Garbutt; the defender’s deep cross was headed home by Morgan, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
The disallowed goal seemed to galvanise the hosts, and they began to spray the ball elegantly across the pitch.
Latics were looking confident, and looked unlucky once again on the stroke of half time, when Nick Powell looked to have guided the ball home, only for the visitors to hack it clear.
The chance was waved away for a foul, though, and Latics went into the interval level.
The visitors started the second half with a similar enthusiasm to the first, and edged in-front just three minutes in through Nedum Onuoha, who blasted the ball home.
The ball came in from the right-hand side and fell to the defender on the edge of the area after Latics were unable to clear their lines. Onuoha produced a fierce strike, which left Bogdan with no chance.
Caldwell soon took action after a lethargic start to the second interval, and introduced Yanic Wildschut on 55 minutes in place of Shaun MacDonald.
It was an attacking change, and it almost paid dividends just four minutes later, when Garbutt went close with a low effort.
The wing-back was released into space by Jacobs, and forced a good save from Smithies with his low strike from range.
Latics continued to have the better of the game, but the visitors were looking strong at the back, and Caldwell’s men were largely forced into trying their luck with efforts from range.
Caldwell made his second move on 68 minutes; introducing Jordi Gomez for his “second” debut in place of Alex Gilbey. The midfielder received a warm welcome from the home support, after a two year absence.
Gomez looked bright on his return to the DW Stadium, but for all of his side’s possession, Latics continued to struggle to carve out a chance in the final third.
Gary Caldwell made his final move with five minutes to go, and introduced last week’s hero Craig Davies in the hope of more heroics.
It was a bold move; with Latics finishing the game with five attack-minded players on the pitch.
Latics started to pour forward, and almost got their reward in the final minutes of the game through Will Grigg, who came agonisingly close to equalising on two occasions.
The first came in the first minute of injury time; when Grigg met Jacobs’ cross from the right hand side and narrowly headed the ball over the bar from close range.
He had another opportunity two minutes later, which somehow didn’t go in. The forward met Power’s low cross at the far post, but couldn’t quite guide it home, with a visiting defender somehow blocking his effort from point blank range.
Latics won a corner, for which Adam Bogdan came forward to attack, but Queens Park Rangers held firm to inflict Latics’ first home defeat of the season in the Championship.
Latics: Bogdan, Buxton, Power, Gilbey (J. Gomez 68), Grigg, MacDonald (Wildschut 55), Jacobs, Garbutt (Davies 80), Morgan (Capt), Warnock, Powell
Unused subs: Jaaskelainen, Flores, Burke, Burn
Queens Park Rangers: Smithies, Bidwell, Hall, Onuoha (Capt), Cousins, Cherry (Borysiuk 83), Polter, Henry, Luongo, Ngbakoto, Perch
Unused subs: Ingram, Washington, El Khayati, Shodipo, Kakay, Paul