Home » EPL, Latest » Match Report: QPR 1 Aston Villa 1

If only Neil Warnock’s attack had the cutting edge of his tongue. Queens Park Rangers manager rarely beats around the bush, Shepherd’s or otherwise, and he was typically forthright after this draw.

Warnock criticised some “embarrassing” decision-making by the referee Michael Oliver and even calling his left-back Armand Traoré “a disgrace” for getting himself sent off.

At 62, Warnock is not mellowing with age.

Peering through all the post-match cordite, it needs stressing that the game was far from a classic, the 26-year-old Oliver is actually a decent referee, and the sharing of the points was a fair result.

Barry Bannan, a real left-footed, creative prospect in Aston Villa’s midfield, converted a penalty shrouded in controversy as Traoré was deemed to have tugged Gabby Agbonlahor.

Even though Richard Dunne’s ninth Premier League own goal gifted QPR a late point, Warnock remained aggrieved. “It felt like an injustice,’’ he began.

“When not one Villa supporter behind the goal appeals for a penalty you know there is something wrong. It was a very soft one. He blows on him. He wants to give the penalty and it’s wrong. I bet there are 25,000 more tugs on that pitch.”

Warnock was also angered by Oliver’s decision to ignore two handballs against Alan Hutton, one of which certainly looked a penalty.

“The first one is embarrassing,’’ said Warnock. “With the Shaun Derry header the lad (Hutton) almost moved his hand down and it is the most certain 100 per cent penalty you will ever see.

“And the second one, we’re told that if you raise your hands it’s a handball. He’s raised his hands against Tommy Smith.’’

Warnock went to see the referee afterwards. “I always do,’’ he said, “just to tell him my opinion. When you are a young referee you learn not just from your assessors but from people who played the game or manage.

“I made one or two points to him that I think will help him for when something like that happens again.’’ Was Oliver too young?

“I don’t think so. I think he is one of the best referees in the Premier League.”

Alex McLeish was understandably dismissive of QPR’s complaints. “If you’re going to give penalties for them you’re going to have to give them every time the ball hits a player’s hand or arm,’’ said the Villa manager.

“You’ll see a lot more goals, but it would take the grey areas away.” Slightly surprisingly, McLeish also hinted at a lack of “mental toughness” in his players at times, although it was the lack of creativity that inhibited them in the first half before some distinguished onlookers.

For those who thought David Cameron’s club was the Bullingdon, the PM was here backing Villa. The interest rate fell in the first half.

Adel Taarabt bent a shot that clipped the post and fell to safety. Jay Bothroyd was often involved, holding the ball up well but rarely threatening Shay Given’s goal.

Villa were disappointing, leaving Agbonlahor too isolated, and only a Bannan free-kick brilliantly saved by Paddy Kenny gave the visiting fans something to shout about.

“They looked frightened,’’ McLeish said. “Football’s a great game. They should relish every moment of it. It’s the best time of their lives.’’

McLeish had words at the break. Strong ones. Villa improved distinctly, flooding forward more assertively, earning their penalty after 58 minutes. Bannan’s run-up contained echoes of John Aldridge, including a slight stutter, before the ball was swept hard and low past the diving Kenny.

QPR never gave up. Having replaced Bothroyd, DJ Campbell headed the ball down to a largely quiet Shaun Wright-Phillips, whose low shot was well saved by Given.

Then came the two incidents leading to Warnock’s Hutton report but Villa must have thought themselves home and dry when Traoré collected a second yellow for flying in on Marc Albrighton.

“I told him what a disgrace he was,’’ said Warnock. “I think he understood what I was saying. I will fine him as much as I can. It was a total amateur Sunday League sending off. Villa must have been laughing their head off.

“Us losing 1-0 and he goes in like that. Two of their players James Collins and Charles N’Zogbia both should have had a second yellow, both cleverer, both know what they are doing and they are both playing next week.’’

QPR’s numbers were depleted but not their spirit. They gained late reward when Heidar Helguson’s cross hit Stephen Warnock and went in off Dunne.

“I’m frustrated we should throw it away in the dying embers,’’ reflected McLeish. The fire raging within Warnock was certainly not extinguished.

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