Hughes guides Hoops to victory
Mark Hughes registered his first Barclays Premier League win as QPR manager with a convincing 3-1 victory over hapless Wigan at Loftus Road.
Rangers started nervously, but took the lead in the 32nd minute when Heidar Helguson slotted home from the spot after James McCarthy handled in the box and they then made it 2-0 on the stroke of half-time thanks to Akos Buzsaky's brilliant free-kick.
Hugo Rodallega pulled one back for the Latics with a strike of equal brilliance before Tommy Smith blasted home from 25 yards to complete the win following Helguson's failure to convert a second penalty.
The bottom-of-the-table Latics, with the worst scoring record in the top four divisions, started strongly, however, and should have been ahead inside three minutes. Steve Gohouri gained two yards on his marker to meet Jordi Gomez's cross but he side-footed a yard wide with Rodallega lurking at the back post.
A glaring error from McCarthy then gifted the hosts the lead in the 32nd minute. Inexplicably, the midfielder chose to palm the ball away from danger from Joey Barton's corner and Jon Moss pointed to the spot. McCarthy went into the book and Helguson slotted home for his eighth league strike of the season.
Ali Al Habsi did well to tip Buzsaky's 25-yard free-kick around the post, but the Hungarian beat the Latics stopper with two minutes of the half left. Gohouri's trip on DJ Campbell gave QPR a dangerous free-kick 25 yards out and Buzsaky curled a wonderful effort over the wall and into the net off a post to make it 2-0.
The visitors found a way back into the game in the 65th minute when Barton upended Maynor Figueroa on the edge of the box and Rodallega curled in the resulting free-kick which had Paddy Kenny rooted to the spot.
Referee Moss awarded his second penalty of the afternoon with 17 minutes left when he adjudged Gary Caldwell had climbed over Helguson's back in the box. The Icelandic striker stepped up to take the spot-kick but Al Habsi saved this time down low to his right.
Mackie had the perfect chance to put the game beyond Wigan's reach with 12 minutes left when he galloped clear following Shaun Wright-Phillips' through-ball, but the home crowd, and Hughes, despaired as the forward blasted over.
Smith put the game beyond doubt the following minute, however, when he crashed a thundering piledriver past Al Habsi from 25 yards.