Wigan Athletic 0 Queen's Park Rangers 0 match report: Stalemate in the battle for an instant return to the Premier League

It's all square after first leg of Championship lay-off semi-final

Wigan and Queen's Park Rangers drew a blank in the first leg of their Championship play-off semi-final at the DW Stadium.

The clash between two teams relegated from the Premier League 12 months ago featured very little in the way of goalmouth action, with Wigan's Marc-Antoine Fortune spurning the best chance in the second half.

Harry Redknapp's Rangers will be the happier with the result and will hope to take advantage in their home leg on Monday.

Wigan were playing their 61st game of the season after European and FA Cup exploits and looking to secure a fifth trip to Wembley in little over a year against either Derby or Brighton.

The play-offs do not hold happy memories for either club or manager, with Wigan unsuccessful in all three previous attempts while Uwe Rosler lost the League One final last season with Brentford.

The Latics also claimed only one point from a possible six in two games against QPR during the regular season - Yossi Benayoun's winner at Loftus Road in March being the only goal in either match.

Rosler declared in the build-up he would not become involved in “pressure bingo” after Redknapp and Derby's Steve McClaren both tried to foist favouritism on others.

But Rosler was eager to point out Rangers' large wage bill, which he described as three times larger than his club's.

It was no surprise that the first half was tight and tetchy, with more yellow cards than sights of goal.

Wigan defender Gary Caldwell spurned an early chance, placing a free header from a corner tamely into the arms of Robert Green.

QPR's first opening came in the 14th minute when Gary O'Neil found space for a shot just inside the box but James McArthur produced an excellent block.

The tackles were robust and when Richard Dunne was booked for felling Callum McManaman in the 23rd minute the only surprise was that referee Mike Jones had kept his cards in his pocket for as long as he had.

A minute later McManaman and McArthur were both booked for fouls within seconds of each other.

The luckiest man on the pitch may well have been Clint Hill, though, who appeared to elbow Rob Kiernan in an incident early in the game that neither referee nor crowd spotted.

Wigan were the team doing most of the pressing but QPR did occasionally threaten on the break, with Armand Traore heading Junior Hoilett's cross over in the 37th minute.

Caldwell was looking to create openings with long balls and he did just that five minutes later, picking out Wigan's player of the year Jordi Gomez, who chested the ball beyond a defender but fired a volley straight at Green.

Rangers came out fired up for the second half and goalkeeper Scott Carson was twice called into action, first punching away a Hill cross under pressure from Charlie Austin and then keeping out a low Traore shot with his fingertips.

But Wigan weathered the storm and really should have scored in the 62nd minute.

The ball ricocheted around the penalty area before Kiernan's drilled ball fell perfectly for Fortune, who could only blaze over an open goal from eight yards.

Both sides made changes, with Kevin Doyle and Niko Kranjcar coming on for QPR and Nicky Maynard and Martyn Waghorn for Wigan, but neither team could make the breakthrough.

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen