Helguson’s goal not enough for QPR

QPR 1 West Brom 1

Shane Long’s late equaliser rescued a point for West Bromwich Albion and punished QPR for missing chances.

Heidar Helguson continued his excellent scoring run by heading in Joey Barton’s cross, but Long’s tap-in after being set up by Jerome Thomas made it a happy return to west London for former Fulham boss Roy Hodgson.

Had Barton and Shaun Wright-Phillips not been wasteful in front of goal, Rangers would have killed off Hodgson’s side well before Long struck.

Helguson’s 20th-minute opener was his sixth goal of the season and fourth in as many games, although Jamie Mackie deserved much of the credit.

Mackie caused panic in the Albion defence with a bulldozing run into the box and when the forward was dispossessed, Barton chipped the loose ball towards Helguson who headed into the far corner.

Wright-Phillips, who passed a late fitness test, hit the net with a spectacular volley but was denied his first goal for QPR after incorrectly being ruled offside.

And Wright-Phillips missed a glorious chance to open his account on the stroke of half-time, hurriedly heading wide with only keeper Ben Foster to beat.

During a lively start to the second half, Albion appealed in vain for a penalty when James Morrison went down under a challenge from Danny Gabbidon, before R’s captain Barton miscued after finding himself through on goal.

Wright-Phillips then spared Foster’s blushes by missing another golden opportunity on 68 minutes.

Foster got himself into an awful mess near the left-hand touchline, allowing Armand Traore to go past him and cut the ball back for an unmarked but off-balance Wright-Phillips, who was unable to find the target.

Unfortunately for Rangers, Long made no mistake at the other end with nine minutes remaining.

Having got away from Alejandro Faurlin, Morrison picked out Thomas and after Luke Young was unable to block the former QPR loanee’s low cross, Long pounced at the far post.

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