Friday 27 April 2018

QPR set winless record

Wigan 2

Richard Jolly

A damp, dark afternoon in the Lancashire drizzle hardly had the feel of a historic occasion but the record books now need rewriting. Since the Premier League's inception in 1992, 45 clubs have started 426 campaigns between them. Only one has begun by going 16 games without a win.

This Queens Park Rangers team have plumbed depths that even Swindon's slow starters of 1993-94, who failed to record a victory in their first 15 matches, did not. They are in uncharted territory.

"You don't go that amount of games without winning if you are that good," said Harry Redknapp. He remains unbeaten in his brief reign, three games at the helm producing as many points, but this was a spurned opportunity nonetheless.

When Djibril Cisse, who secured their last victory against Stoke seven long months ago, slid them into the lead, they sensed a belated action replay. Instead, a depleted Wigan rallied and James McCarthy scored his second goal to extend Rangers' wait.

They are running out of time, if only for the recruitment drive Redknapp envisages in January. Still, Robbie Keane's bubbly character and proven goalscoring record appeal. "I'd love to get Robbie," Redknapp said, eyeing a loan deal from LA Galaxy. "He's the type of lad you need in this situation. But I haven't spoken to anybody."

Yet Rangers' star-studded buying contrasts with Wigan's more economical policies and this was an advertisement for manager Roberto Martinez's approach. Both Athletic goals came from McCarthy, signed from Hamilton as a comparatively unknown 18-year-old. He was incisive and, twice, decisive.

His goals bookended the game, the second earning a point when he beat Robert Green with a precise poke. The opener was a drilled volley, clipping off Jamie Mackie's foot, after the Scot had headed a corner away. Ryan Nelsen had evened the score for QPR on 19 minutes.

As it is, QPR have unprecedented difficulties. "We just need that one win," said Redknapp. "It could kick-start it." He has proved an expert at escapology before and remains the master of the one-liner. How many points, Redknapp was asked, did he think it would take to keep QPR up? "I'm hoping it's going to be about 14," came the reply. He is halfway there.


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