WBA late show punishes QPR

2011-12-03 20:00

London - A late equaliser from Shane Long earned West Bromwich Albion a 1-1 draw at QPR on Saturday that poured cold water on QPR coach Neil Warnock's birthday celebrations.

Warnock turned 63 on Thursday and saw in-form Heidar Helguson put the hosts ahead in the first half at Loftus Road, but his side were punished for their inability to extend their lead when Long levelled in the 81st minute.

Long's goal prevented QPR from registering only their second home win of the campaign and left them 11th in the Premier League table, one place and one point above Roy Hodgson's West Brom.

QPR created the game's first clear chance, with Shaun Wright-Phillips skewing wide from Jamie Mackie's cut-back, before Jerome Thomas spurned an opening at the other end when he failed to test Radek Cerny with a tame shot.

Back in the QPR team after suspension, Joey Barton created the opening goal in the 20th minute with a measured cross that Helguson converted with his head to claim his sixth goal of the season.

The hosts had the ball in the net again moments later, Wright-Phillips rattling a superb shot into the top-right corner, but the strike was incorrectly disallowed for offside.

The former Chelsea and Manchester City winger spurned an opportunity to double the Hoops' lead in first-half injury time when he lifted the ball over the bar after finding himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Ben Foster.

West Brom had a penalty appeal turned down early in the second half, after James Morrison appeared to be bundled over by Danny Gabbidon.

Barton then squandered a fine opportunity to put daylight between his side and the visitors, robbing Jonas Olsson and exchanging passes with Helguson but then curling the ball wide with only Foster to beat.

QPR were given a big let-off shortly afterwards, as Gareth McAuley headed wide from only six yards out, before Wright-Phillips allowed yet another chance to make the game safe pass his side by.

Armand Traore rounded the floundering Foster and pulled the ball back for the England international but, despite having only one man to beat on the line, he contrived to miss the target.

West Brom almost punished their hosts' wastefulness immediately, but Chris Brunt's 25-yard shot whistled fractionally wide of Cerny's goal.

Cerny's goal would not survive much longer, however, as with nine minutes remaining, Long seized on Peter Odemwingie's deflected shot and tapped home at the far post to earn his side a point and spoil Warnock's day.