Villa fell behind inside 15 minutes and then further in arrears before the half-hour mark to an R’s side boasting three debutants (Djibril Cisse, Nedum Onuoha and Taye Taiwo) who were signed in the January window but were able to avoid defeat by scoring just before half-time and then grabbing a late leveler to remain 12th as the West Londoners were unable to budge from 16th.
The opening goal came in the 12th minute when a deflection from Alan Hutton of Shaun Wright-Phillips’ attempt from outside the area fell to Cisse who produced a fantastic first-time finish from the right side of the box to mark the third time he has scored on debut following similar incidences for Liverpool and Sunderland.
Just before the half-hour, QPR were two to the good thanks to a horror header from Villa left-back Stephen Warnock, who outside the six-yard box in line with the back post, managed to nod past Shay Given from a long R’s cross.
Thankfully for Warnock, Darren Bent got one back on the stroke of half-time when Robbie Keane fed Hutton out wide who delivered a low ball from the right for the England striker to side-foot home for his 100th Premier League goal.
With just over 10 minutes remaining, Villa were back on level terms when Stiliyan Petrov’s cross from the right was powerfully volleyed home by Charles N’Zogbia for his first goal for the club since joining from Wigan Athletic last summer.
In the 35th minute, Villa were unlucky not to score when Keane hit a fierce shot on goal which deflected off teammate Petrov and cannoned onto Paddy Kenny’s crossbar and the home side were then inches from a winner when Bent’s left-footed shot was cleared off the line by Tommy Smith before Keane saw his follow-up from a tight angle hit the upright with Kenny making close cover but all to no avail.
TRIBAL ASKS: QPR appear to be a bit stronger on the attack with their new players but are still unsteady in defence and probably should have lost tonight. What does Hughes have to do to tighten things up for the R’s?
Villa Park, Birmingham - 32,063
Yellow cards: AV - nil
QPR - Luke Young 50’