Championship: QPR 1 Wigan Athletic 0
PUBLISHED: 17:33 25 August 2018
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Tomer Hemed’s debut goal earned QPR a 1-0 win over Wigan and their first Sky Bet Championship points under Steve McClaren.
The Brighton striker, playing up front alongside fellow loan signing Nahki Wells, pounced to score from close range 10 minutes before the interval at Loftus Road.
Jake Bidwell headed Luke Freeman’s left-wing corner back towards goal and Joel Lynch nudged Wigan defender Cheyenne Dunkley out of the way, enabling Hemed to hook the ball home.
It lifted Rangers - beaten in all four previous league matches since McClaren took over as boss – off the bottom of the table.
Wells, brought in from Burnley, and Hemed made an immediate impact and both were involved in a slick move in the opening minutes.
Hemed laid the ball off to Freeman, whose pass sent Wells scampering towards the edge of the penalty area.
Wells, under pressure from two Wigan defenders, saw his shot comfortably saved by goalkeeper Christian Walton.
Wigan then began to impose themselves and Rangers were under serious pressure before going ahead somewhat against the run of play.
R’s goalkeeper Joe Lumley, in for the dropped Matt Ingram, dived to his left to superbly push away a right-footed strike from Josh Windass.
Nick Powell went close from the resulting corner, heading wide from Lee Evans’ right-wing delivery.
Rangers had another let-off when Will Grigg was just unable to connect with a cross from Gavin Massey, who went off with what looked like a hamstring problem shortly before QPR’s goal.
Freeman almost put Rangers two up just 21 seconds into the second half when he fired into the side-netting after Wells had pulled the ball back from the left.
QPR, beaten 3-0 at home by Bristol City in midweek and walloped 7-1 at West Brom last weekend, overcame their first-half jitters to defend well as Wigan pushed forward in search of an equaliser.
And Lumley justified his inclusion, producing important saves to keep out Powell’s shot and Windass’ glancing header from Evans’ left-wing cross.
But Wigan’s best chance fell to Dunkley, who headed wide of the target after being found by Evans’ perfect ball in from the left.
Wells, although clearly tiring, continued to threaten in the closing stages and saw a right-footed drive well saved by Walton.
Hemed and then Wells were given a deserved ovation by the home crowd when substituted late on.