Queens Park Rangers vs. Everton: Final score 1-1 as ten-man Toffees hold firm

Scott Heavey

Queens Park Rangers could only earn a draw against an Everton side that were reduced to ten men in a match filled with controversy.

If beleaguered Q.P.R. boss Mark Hughes had been offered a draw prior to his side's clash with in-form Everton, he would probably have taken it, but the R's indifferent start to the season largely continued as they could only earn a draw against ten men.

The home side could hardly have gotten off to a better start at Loftus Road, with Junior Hoilett rewarding Mark Hughes' faith to start him with a 60-yard solo run on the counter-attack before firing a shot which deflected off the heel of Leighton Baines, wrongfooting Tim Howard in goal and putting Q.P.R. into the lead with just three minutes on the clock.

After the goal, Q.P.R. appeared to put their woes behind them and controlled the game with composure and confidence, looking like the team they surely have the potential to be and giving a display not seen since their game against Tottenham. They were unfortunate not to double their advantage when Ryan Nelsen headed over from a corner.

Everton, however, were soon to make the home side pay for wasting their spell of dominance. A Leighton Baines free-kick found Sylvain Distin close to goal, and his header ricocheted into the net via first the post and then Julio Cesar. It went down as an own goal, though the Q.P.R. keeper was largely faultless.

Whether a sign of Everton making a slow start to the game and finally getting into their groove, or Q.P.R. going to pieces, the away side should have put themselves into the lead shortly afterwards as the R's defence crumbled. Phil Jagielka missed an easy chance when he headed against the crossbar, and Nikica Jelavic had a more than decent penalty shout turned down.

After the restart the pattern of play continued in much the same fashion, but disaster was to strike for David Moyes' side. Steven Pienaar, already on a yellow card, collided accidentally with Jose Bosingwa and was shown an extremely harsh second yellow card, giving him an early bath and Everton a man disadvantage.

Everton were undeterred at first and almost took the lead when a goalmouth scramble resulted from a corner, but as they began to flag, the game swung more and more in favour of the home side, with the lively Junior Hoilett forcing a fine save from Tim Howard before being denied another fine penalty shout towards the end of the game.

Eventually, Everton hung on to take the point, a decent result given the circumstances. QPR are undoubtedly beginning to come together as a side with their quality should, but there are still question marks over their mentality which could result in a spectacular and expensive failure come May. David Moyes was predictably and understandable incensed about the red card in his post-match interview, but in the cold light of day he will see it as a decent result, and be quietly confident that his side have the capability to challenge for the Champions League places this year.

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