Rodallega rocket isn't enough to pull off fight back at Loftus Road
Queens Park Rangers 3
Helguson 33, 81
Wigan Athletic 1
Report by Nick Taylor
It was a game of spectacular goals and set pieces, both saved and scored today as Hugo Rodallega scored a contender for goal of the month with a curling right-footed free kick but, QPR put forward their contenders as well.
QPR went ahead with a Heidar Helguson penalty following a handball in the box by James McCarthy. They then made it 2-0 through an Akos Buzsaky free kick before half time. Rodallega's strike gave Latics hope but then QPR were given another penalty which was expertly saved by Ali Al Habsi
On 81 minutes the game was finished off when Tommy Smith smashed a shot in from 35 yards.
Latics travelled to a blustery and rainy London with three changes to their team as Steve Gohouri replaced the injured Antolin Alcaraz, Ben Watson came in for Albert Crusat and Emmerson Boyce coming in for Ronnie Stam.
In what was QPR manager Mark Hughes' first game, Latics almost made it very uncomfortable twice within the first seven minutes of the game. Firstly through Gohouri who found space in the area from a free kick but, saw his placed shot edge just wide of the post and then Victor Moses found space down the left hand side but, his ball across goal seemed to be in slow motion and nobody could get onto the end of it.
Al Habsi was in wonderful form once again this afternoon and he pulled off a string of saves that kept the game level but, when McCarthy gave away a penalty for handball, there was nothing the keeper could do about as Helguson tucked the ball into the bottom corner despite the Omani diving the right way.
It then became worse for Latics as another foul was made, this time by Gohouri on the edge of the area and Buzsaky punished the Ivorian defender and his team mates as he whipped the ball over the wall and into the net.
Roberto Martinez ringed the changes and brought on Conor Sammon for James McArthur at half time, with Stam and Crusat also making appearances in the second half.
The game struggled to pick up pace, but when Gohouri was fouled on the egde of the QPR area, Rodallega did the honours to turn in his second goal of the season.
The strike was beautiful to say the least as it curled around the wall and knicked the post on the way in.
More twists and turns were to come as Gary Caldwell gave away a penalty but, Al Habsi's outstretched right hand denied Helguson a second and then on 81 minutes, substitute Tommy Smith found himself in space 35 yards out and hammered it home. Smith's goal has to be admired but the Latics midfielders should have closed down better.
The game ended with yet more fouls and little creative play as QPR saw the game out.
Latics remain in 20th place and four points away from the safety mark.
Latics team: Al Habsi, Boyce (Stam 69), Gohouri, Caldwell, Figueroa, McArthur (Sammon 45), Watson, McCarthy, Gomez (Crusat 60), Moses, Rodallega.
Unused subs: Pollitt, Lopez, McManaman, Di Santo.
QPR team: Kenny, Young, Hall, Ferdinand, Hill, Barton, Buzsaky (Derry 82), Wright-Phillips, Mackie, Helguson, Campbell (Smith 45).
Unused subs: Cerny, Orr, Ramage, Bothroyd, Macheda.