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22:00 30th October 2013
By  Nick Taylor


Wigan Athletic continued their unbeaten run at the DW Stadium this season with a hard fought battle against one of the league's early front runners in a stalemate which saw Chris McCann hit the woodwork for a second game in succession.

Owen Coyle made three changes from the side that drew 0-0 against Charlton Athletic at the Valley on Sunday afternoon, with Ryan Shotton, Callum McManaman and Jordi Gomez coming in for Thomas Rogne, James McClean and Ben Watson.

It was a tight first half with flashes of an open opportunity, and it was Latics who struck first with the impressive Nick Powell.

In quick succession Powell forced QPR goalkeeper Rob Green to punch the ball away twice, first with a dipping, inswinging free kick and then moments later the Manchester United loanee fooled Danny Simpson with a series of step overs to get a shot away at Green's right post, again with the England international goalkeeper being forced to punch.

At the other end Latics' stopper Lee Nicholls looked comfortable in the first half of his home debut for the club, coming to claim crosses on a number of occasions and saving a low Gary O'Neil effort to his right as he pounced on the ball.

QPR threatened out wide with Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Simpson pushing high up from their full backs positions, but it was Latics who came closest in terms of genuine chances.

Callum McManaman on the night that he signed a new deal with the club struck first when he jinked inside from the left wing and hit a dipping shot just beyond the right post.

Jordi Gomez then followed up with a similar effort closer to half time, as Powell won possession from Richard Dunne on the edge of the area to tee the Spanish midfielder up, with his shot curling around the left hand post.

With a minute left before half time QPR were forced into their first change of the night when Niko Kranjcar picked up a knock, with Matt Phillips replacing him.

All square at half time, setting up an interesting second 45.

Latics burst out of the traps in the second half, as Marc-Antoine Fortune replaced Grant Holt at the break, forcing his way forwards inside the first five minutes as Latics won three consecutive corners.

As the pressure began to force QPR into retreat, Gomez wriggled his way beyond Assou-Ekotto playing in a perfect ball to the back post for Chris McCann who headed against the post.

The ball fell outwards to McManaman in a perfect position to shoot, but the man who signed a new contract earlier this evening rushed his effort and sliced the ball over the bar.

Physicality reared its head in the second half and the first of a few clatterings fell on James McArthur when he battled his way through to defenders, before being upended and shunted into the thigh of a QPR defender, taking a knock to his head.

Nicholls continued to look comfortable at the other end, coming out to claim well from crosses and corners, despite the physical presence of the likes of Richard Dunne.

With 16 minutes remaining Latics made a double attacking change as James McClean entered the fray along with debutant Marc Albrighton.

QPR also made a change of their own with Andy Johnson coming on and involving himself from the off.

First the striker caught Ryan Shotton late as the centre back attempted to clear, but it went unnoticed.

Moments later he was involved in a tussle with Nicholls as the goalkeeper came out to meet the striker just outside of the penalty area.

Nicholls stopped dead in his tracks and tackled Johnson, muscling him off the ball to the dismay of the former Everton man who claimed for a foul, but to the delight of Latics' fans the referee deemed it a good challenge.

Latics carried on pushing late into the game, but a clear cut chance wasn't rearing it's head despite McClean firing a shot into the side netting.

Before the final whistle there was more anguish for a Latics player as Fortune was flattened by Clint Hill with a free kick given against him, and then Powell received the same treatment, again without consequence for the visitors.

The final whistle blew to appreciation from the fans for Latics battling display as they ensured their unbeaten home run continued into the weekend's game against Huddersfield Town.