- Wigan Athletic were unlucky to lose 2-1 at Championship leaders Queens Park Rangers. Referee Dean Whitehouse controversially failed to give a second-half penalty when Tom Naylor was dragged to the floor.
- QPR had taken the lead from a corner when Sam Field fired home from close range on 12 minutes but Latics were level on 22 minutes when Nathan Broadhead’s low strike found the bottom corner.
- Latics were only level for a minute though as they conceded from another set-piece routine, Leon Balogun powering his header past Ben Amos.
- Broadhead unluckily had a second goal ruled out for offside as Latics responded well to the setback.
- In the second half Latics were the dominant force and hit the frame of the goal through substitute Josh Magennis but Rangers held on.
- Latics drop to 19th in the Championship table and QPR remain in top spot.
Leam Richardson made three changes from the midweek defeat to Middlesbrough with Jason Kerr, Graeme Shinnie and Broadhead coming into the starting line-up for Joe Bennett, Thelo Aasgaard and Charlie Wyke.
Rangers threatened first when Lyndon Dykes fired a low effort on target but Amos was able to save comfortably.
The hosts went ahead on 12 minutes from a corner when Field was allowed to volley home from the centre of the penalty box.
Latics were not behind for long though and drew level in the 22nd minute. Shinnie’s free-kick was helped on by Jack Whatmough, Max Power and Will Keane before finding Broadhead, who rifled his low strike into the bottom corner.
But only one minute later, Latics defence switched off and QPR regained their lead from another set-piece. Former Latic Leon Balogun powering his header past Amos from inside the six-yard box.
Latics responded well and they thought they had restored parity when Broadhead struck another instinctive finish into the corner, but the Latics forward was adjudged to have been offside.
Broadhead had another chance soon afterwards when he tried his luck from 20 yards out, but his effort flew wide of the post.
Just before half-time Latics created another opportunity when James McClean set the ball back for Jordan Cousins to hit first time, but a last-ditch tackle from Jake Clarke-Salter blocked the danger.
Rangers started the second-half strongly and Tim Iroegbunam’s powerful effort from the right of the penalty area was well turned behind by Amos.
Latics then moved up a gear and started to assert their authority, with Kerr curling an effort just over the crossbar after some good build-up play from Power and Cousins.
They had another opportunity after the hour mark when Power’s dangerous cross from the right was met at the far post by Keane, but the Republic of Ireland striker was unable to keep his headed effort down.
Latics continued to push forward and from a corner Latics they should have been awarded a penalty when Tom Naylor was dragged to the floor. Referee Whitehouse clearly saw the incident but inexplicably failed to award the spot-kick. It was to be a crucial moment in the game.
Latics then had a great opportunity to draw level in the 86th minute. Substitute Ashley Fletcher found Shinnie in the area and his low cross was acrobatically turned towards goal by fellow substitute Magennis, but the striker’s effort agonisingly came back off the frame of the goal.
Latics couldn’t make the breakthrough that their second-half performance had deserved. If only the referee had the courage to award the penalty Latics would’ve come away with at least a point.
After the horror show against Middlesbrough Latics were much improved against QPR, they looked better balanced than in recent games with Shinnie offering creativity in midfield and Broadhead providing a threat upfront.
However, Latics frailty at set-pieces was once again exposed with several of their defenders having another off-day. The defensive lapses need to be eradicated quickly if they are to get back to winning ways in the Championship.
Jack Whatmough who has looked jaded in recent games, picked up a knock and had to be withdrawn late in the second half. Substitute Rarmani Edmonds-Green provided a promising cameo in the final ten minutes.
Latics were the dominant force in the second-half and they should have been awarded a penalty when Naylor was dragged to the floor in clear view of referee Whitehouse. A criminal decision by the referee which directly affected the final result.
Post match comments
Speaking afterwards Richardson was pleased with his side’s display in West London despite the defeat, and felt that their performance warranted points being taken back to the North West.
“It’s mixed emotions,” he said.
“You are judged by your results, but I thought it was a high level of performance against a really good team who are going well.
“These are the days, and the challenges that we’ve worked hard to get over the last 12 months to make sure we are at stadiums like this, and playing against teams and players like this.
“The level of performance that I and the lads demand was there. We came to the top of the league, and we had to make sure that we met the challenge head-on and represented ourselves as well as we can.
“The disappointing thing is, on the level of play, we probably deserved at least a draw – and potentially a win. We didn’t get it, but we’re still learning, and we have to keep moving forward.”
Richardson was also critical that the referee did not award a penalty when Naylor was dragged to the floor.
“I was disappointed we didn’t get a penalty,” he said.
“The referee half-blew, it looked like Fletch was going to get a shot on goal. “At these stadiums, the referees have got to be a little bit stronger.
“I thought he was going to give a penalty, and then maybe he thought: ‘Do you know what, I daren’t’, so he didn’t.
“Which is wrong – what you see is what you give. “If you see a penalty, give a penalty.
“He saw a penalty today and he should have given a penalty.”