Wigan Athletic 0 QPR 1
Wigan Athletic signed off for the international break with the dampest of squibs, courtesy of a single-goal defeat to QPR in a largely dour encounter.
Gary Caldwell’s men now have a fortnight to stew over back-to-back defeats - and a first home reversal of the campaign - after failing to break through a determined Rangers rearguard.
Once again the home side had the lion’s share of the possession and the advantage in terms of territory.
But they were unable to get any meaningful service in to Will Grigg until stoppage-time at the end.
Unfortunately, on this occasion, Grigg was unable to add to his tally of four goals in five games, sending one header inches over the bar and seeing another effort deflected wide off ex-Latic James Perch.
The only goal arrived at the start of the second period, when Latics couldn’t clar a free-kick which allowed Nedum Onouha to smash a low shot past Adam Bogdan.
And despite the second-half introduction off the bench of Yanic Wildschut, Jordi Gomez and Craig Davies, Latics were unable to get back on level terms.
The first half had been a largely forgettable affair, with neither side doing much to work the opposition goalkeeper.
Yeni Ngbakoto had the first strike from distance for Rangers, but his feeble effort was straight at Bogdan.
Latics then nearly committed defensive suicide for the second weekend in a row, when Jake Buxton’s backpass towards Bogdan was very much on the light side.
Fortunately it had more pace on it than Dan Burn’s at Nottingham Forest, and the man whose return from suspension came at Burn’s expense saw Bogdan - just - get there in time to clear.
Michael Jacobs was looking Wigan’s man most likely in the opening stages, and a couple of dangerous runs down the left caused panic in the Rangers backline.
His first dribble caused Jordan Cousins to wrestle him to the ground at the expense of a free-kick and a booking.
And the second saw him launch a cross towards Grigg that was only just cut out.
Tjaronn Chery fired over for Rangers from 25 yards, before Sebastian Polter headed just wide with Bogdan happy to see it go the wrong side of the post.
Latics thought they’d taken the lead six minutes before the restart when Luke Garbutt’s free-kick was headed home by captain Craig Morgan, only for the goal to be chalked off for offside.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, Nick Powell was also denied when, in the act of scoring from close-range, the whistle went for a foul.
Rangers would have been the happier to hear the half-time whistle, and they made the most of their break by starting the second period in the ascendancy.
Less than three minutes in, the Latics defence couldn’t clear their lines from a free-kick, and Onouha was able to fire home from 15 yards with Bogdan helpless.
That was the signal for Wildschut to take over from Shaun MacDonald, with the subsequent reshuffle seeing Jacobs switch to right wing-back and Max Power return to the centre of midfield.
The move almost worked immediate dividends as Latics threatened an equaliser on the hour mark, only for Garbutt’s volley off Jacobs’ cross to be well saved by Alex Smithies.
Latics were indebted to Buxton for a heroic block that intercepted a goalbound strike from Cousins that might have put the game beyond the home side.
The home side then went all-in during the final quarter with Gomez and Davies replacing Alex Gilbey and Garbutt.
Power might have done better with a decent shooting opportunity that he pulled past the far post.
But there were to be two more chances on the way, both in added time, and both fallling to star striker Grigg.
However, the Northern Ireland international was fine margins away from twice applying a killer touch, to sum up a thoroughly miserable afternoon for the vast majority of those inside the DW Stadium.