QPR still without a win after draw with Aston Villa
Aston Villa 1
Queens Park Rangers equalled the Premier League's longest ever winless start to a season today as they failed to overcome Aston Villa in Harry Redknapp's first home match at the helm.
The west Londoners have now failed to a collect victory from any of their opening 15 matches - an abysmal start that is only matched by the Swindon side of 1993/94.
Much had been expected from QPR today in what was Redknapp's first match at Loftus Road since replacing Mark Hughes at the helm.
The Rs boss had never previously lost a Premier League home debut as a manager, but that record looked under serious threat after just eight minutes when Brett Holman fired Villa ahead from distance.
Jamie Mackie's superb header dragged QPR level after 18 minutes but an entertaining first half was overshadowed by a nasty injury sustained by Stephane Mbia.
The Cameroonian went to hospital for a precautionary check-up, with fellow midfielder Samba Diakite also forced off injured in a second half in which neither side were able to find a winner.
QPR came into this afternoon's match eight points adrift of the safety and their defensive frailties were quickly exposed as Christian Benteke wriggled free in the box, only to be denied by a last-ditch Clint Hill challenge.
The effort appeared to put QPR on edge and only eight minutes in they found themselves behind, with Holman striking a fierce 25-yard drive that Robert Green, making his first start since September 1, was unable to keep out in front of the 1,632 visiting fans.
It was the worst possible start for the nervy home side, who saw Mbia head wide and then Diakite lash over as they attempted to make immediate amends.
QPR did manage to eke out a leveller 10 minutes after going behind, though, as Mackie met a Diakite cross with a superb looping header that beat Brad Guzan.
Benteke thought he had put Villa back in front in the 20th minute but was denied by the offside flag, before play returned to the other end.
Shaun Wright-Phillips was put through one-on-one with Guzan by Esteban Granero's exquisite pass, although he failed to find a way past the American.
The recalled winger came closer again in the 32nd minute, outpacing Nathan Baker down the right and firing a half volley that beat Guzan at his near post but hit the woodwork.
The match was entertaining but took a nasty turn moments later when Mbia was involved in an off-the-ball incident with Gabby Agbonlahor, which forced the Cameroonian off on a stretcher after lengthy treatment.
Shaun Derry came on in his place and helped QPR weather the storm for the remainder of the first half, with a right-footed Agbonlahor effort the closest Villa came.
Park Ji-sung replaced Granero when the team re-emerged for a second half that took 10 minutes to warm up.
When it did, QPR were on top, with Wright-Phillips, Ryan Nelsen and Diakite all getting away shots in quick succession.
Guzan kept out the latter pair and was again alert to deny substitute Park when put through on the left, before Diakite limped off and was replaced by Junior Hoilett.
The tempo began to slow as frustration creeped in and, after a tame Nelsen header went wide, Hill almost hit the crossbar with an 80th-minute header from a an Adel Taarabt corner.
Armand Traore tested Guzan as QPR pushed for a winner, but Paul Lambert's side defended resolutely and came close to a winner themselves through substitute Karim El Ahmadi.