Man United remain top despite draw while London sides Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham all record victories.
|Short-lived joy for Villa fans as Barry Bannon taps home his penalty[GALLO/GETTY]|
QPR snatched a dramatic 1-1 draw against Aston Villa as Richard Dunne scored an own goal in stoppage time at Loftus Road in Sunday’s English Premier League action.
Neil Warnock’s side looked set to suffer a controversial defeat when Villa took the lead through Barry Bannan’s spot-kick after referee Michael Oliver harshly penalised Armand Traore for a tug on Gabriel Agbonlahor.
QPR felt they should have had a penalty of their own when Shaun Derry’s goal-bound header hit Alan Hutton on the arm, but Oliver and his assistants failed to spot the offence.
Oliver then sent off Traore in the closing moments for a second booking, but QPR kept plugging away and rescued a point in the closing moments when Dunne turned Heidar Helguson’s cross into his own net.
Villa’s failure to hold onto their lead means Alex McLeish’s side have now drawn five of their six Premier League games this season, while QPR remain level with their opponents on eight points.
Although Villa were able to count British Prime Minister David Cameron among their supporters at Loftus Road, even the presence of such a famous fan couldn’t inspire McLeish’s team in the early stages.
QPR made a fast start and went close to taking the lead in the fifth minute as Adel Taarabt cleverly worked space for a well-struck effort from long-range that beat Shay Given but cannoned back off a post.
There was a real purpose about QPR’s attacking play and both Shaun Wright-Phillips and Taarabt had close-range shots blocked in a 14th-minute melee.
Villa gradually showed signs of raising their intensity, although defender Stephen Warnock went too far as he was booked for a crunching tackle on QPR captain Joey Barton.
McLeish’s men almost snatched the lead against the run of play when Bannan’s curling free-kick forced a superb one-handed save from Paddy Kenny just before half-time.
However, Villa did take the lead in the 58th minute when Oliver ruled that former Arsenal defender Traore had deliberately pushed Agbonlahor as they challenged for a cross.
Bannan stepped up to fire home the penalty and the Scottish midfielder nearly grabbed his second goal when Kenny made a good stop to keep out his near-post effort.
DJ Campbell replaced Bothroyd as QPR made a final push and their pressure almost paid off immediately.
A low shot from Wright-Phillips forced Given into an excellent save before Derry’s header from a corner hit Hutton on the arm.
When Tommy Smith’s appeal for a penalty, again for a Hutton handball, was rejected by Oliver, who then sent off Traore for a lunge on Marc Albrighton, it seemed like QPR’s luck was out.
But they equalised in the third minute of stoppage time when Helguson’s cross was cleared by Stephen Warnock into Dunne, who couldn’t stop the ball rebounding off him into the net.