Queens Park Rangers are still searching for their first Barclays Premier League win of the season after being held to a 1-1 draw at home by ten-man Everton.
Junior Hoilett scored his first league goal for Rangers in only the second minute of the game before an unfortunate own goal from R’s goalkeeper Julio Cesar brought Everton level before half-time.
The visitors had Steven Pienaar sent off on 61 minutes after collecting two yellow cards but QPR could not find a winner despite plenty of late pressure.
QPR manager Mark Hughes knew a decent start from his side was compulsory given the early goals conceded by his side in their previous two outings and he would not be disappointed.
Everton pressed in the opening couple of minutes but after having a second early corner cleared captain Phil Neville lost possession to Hoilett.
The former Blackburn winger burst into the Everton half before striking an effort that beat Tim Howard after taking a heavy deflection off the back-tracking Leighton Baines.
Hoilett came close to adding a second in the eighth minute as he closed down Howard, who slipped as he looked to clear the ball. The United States international just got enough on the ball and the resulting cross eluded the on-rushing Bobby Zamora.
The first real chance for the visitors came after 17 minutes as Nikica Jelavic curled a free-kick towards goal that was pushed away comfortably by Cesar.
It was QPR who then came close from a set-piece of their own but Ryan Nelsen could only direct a header from Esteban Granero’s free-kick wide of Howard’s goal.
Everton’ equalised in fortuitous circumstances at a time when they were struggling to create clear-cut opportunities. Pienaar whipped in a deep free-kick that Sylvain Distin headed onto the post with the rebound hitting a prone Cesar and nestling in the corner.
The Toffees took some momentum from their stroke of luck and might have had a penalty seconds after the re-start but referee Jonathan Moss waved away Jelavic’s appeals after he went down following a Stephane Mbia challenge.
Phil Jagielka then struck the crossbar with the resulting corner as QPR started to show the defensive fragility which has plagued them during the early part of the season.
After the initial shock of conceding the equaliser QPR finished the first half the strongest but could not test Howard before the interval.
QPR captain Park Ji-sung came close in the opening exchanges of the second period but he could not poke Samba Diakite’s cross in due to the close attention of Jagielka.
Everton manager David Moyes was quick to introduce Steven Naismith from the bench in place of Victor Anichebe, as he looked to get more support for lone striker Jelavic. But though spaces began to appear on the pitch, there was a distinct lack of creativity, with both sides guilty of conceding possession too cheaply.
Everton were reduced to 10 men with just over an hour gone when Pienaar received his second booking inside nine minutes for a challenge on Jose Bosingwa.
Despite losing Pienaar the visitors were the side pushing for a winning goal. Kevin Mirallas had an effort headed behind by Mbia and Jagielka’s header from the resulting corner was brilliantly kept out by Cesar before Hughes introduced Djibril Cisse, with Zamora the man to make way.
Nedum Onuoha was also brought on as QPR finally started to look like a team with a numerical advantage.
Following a string of corners the visitors had Howard to thank for keeping out Hoilett at full stretch, with Granero firing the rebound high and wide.
Hoilett was again foiled by Howard moments later as the former Manchester United goalkeeper flew to his right to tip a curling effort around the post.
Adel Taarabt also bent a free-kick just wide as Everton started to struggle with the continued pressure from their hosts.
Moyes took off Jelavic to replace him with the defensive-minded John Heitinga whilst Hughes was forced to replace the injured Nelsen with Anton Ferdinand.
The break in play for the substitutions seemed to take some of the sting out of QPR’s onslaught on Howard’s goal but Cisse came close to grabbing an 89th-minute winner when he fired wide.
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