QPR held to 1-1 tie with 10-man Everton
Queens Park Rangers are still searching for their first Barclays Premier League win of the season after being held at home by 10-man Everton.
Junior Hoilett scored his first league goal for Rangers in only the second minute of the game before an unfortunate own goal from QPR goalkeeper Julio Cesar brought Everton level before half time.
The visitors had Steven Pienaar sent off on 61 minutes after collecting two yellow cards but QPR could not find a winner despite plenty of late pressure.
The Rangers are without a win in their first eight games of a league campaign for the first time since 1991, piling the pressure on under-fire manager Mark Hughes.
"It is still the early stages of the season," Hoilett said. "You can see how we are gelling as a team and later in the season we will get the points we need."
The build-up to the match was dominated with speculation as to which players would boycott wearing t-shirts in the warm-up supporting the anti-racism "Kick it Out" campaign.
Anton Ferdinand and teammates Shaun Wright-Phillips and Hoilett opted not to wear the shirt, following the stance taken by Ferdinand's brother Rio prior to Manchester United's game against Stoke Saturday and by Reading striker Jason Roberts.
Hughes would have been fully focused on the game however, knowing a decent start from his side was a must having conceded early goals in the team's previous two outings. He was not to be disappointed.
Everton pressed in the opening couple of minutes but after having a second early corner cleared, captain Phil Neville lost possession to Hoilett.
Hoilett came close to adding a second in the eighth minute as he closed down Howard, who slipped as he looked to clear the ball. The U.S. international goalie just got enough on the ball and the resulting cross eluded the on-rushing Bobby Zamora.
The first real chance for the visitors came after 17 minutes as Nikica Jelavic curled a free kick towards goal that was pushed away comfortably by Cesar.
Everton's equalized in fortuitous circumstances at a time when it was struggling to create clear-cut opportunities.
Pienaar whipped in a deep free kick that Sylvain Distin headed onto the post with the rebound hitting a prone Cesar and nestling into the corner.
The Toffees took some momentum from their stroke of luck and could have had a penalty seconds after the restart but referee Jonathan Moss waved away Jelavic's appeals after he went down following a Stephane Mbia challenge.
Phil Jagielka then struck the crossbar with the resulting corner as QPR started to show the defensive fragility which has plagued it during the early parts of the season.
After the initial shock of conceding the equalizer, QPR finished the first half the strongest but could not test Howard before the interval.
QPR captain Park Ji-sung came close in the opening exchanges of the second half but he could not poke Samba Diakite's cross home due to the close attention of Jagielka.
Everton boss David Moyes was quick to introduce Steven Naismith from the bench in place of the largely ineffectual Victor Anichebe, who also decided not to wear the "Kick It Out" shirt before the match, as he looked to get more support for lone striker Jelavic.
Although spaces began to appear on the pitch, there was a distinct lack of creativity, with both sides guilty of conceding possession too cheaply.
Everton was reduced to 10 men with just over an hour gone when Pienaar received his second booking inside nine minutes, although he appeared to make minimal contact on Jose Bosingwa who looked to be heading to ground regardless.
"It ruined our opportunity to go and win three points but the players did well to hang on to get something out of the game," said Moyes.
Despite losing Pienaar, Everton was the side pushing for a winning goal.
Kevin Mirallas saw his effort headed behind by Mbia and Jagielka's header from the resulting corner was brilliantly kept out by Cesar before Hughes introduced Djibril Cisse, with Zamora the man to make way.
Nedum Onuoha was also brought on as QPR finally started to look like a team with a numerical advantage.
Following a string of corners, the visitors had Howard to thank for keeping out Hoilett at full stretch, with Granero firing the rebound high and wide.
Referee Moss was unmoved as Everton fullback Seamus Coleman appeared to up-end Hoilett in the penalty area as the home side took complete control.
Hoilett was again foiled by Howard moments later as the former Manchester United goalkeeper flew to his right to tip a curling effort around the post.
Adel Taarabt also bent a free-kick just wide as Everton started to struggle with the continued pressure from their hosts.
Moyes took off Jelavic to replace him with the defensive-minded John Heitinga whilst Hughes was forced to replace the injured Nelsen with Ferdinand.
The break-in play for the substitutions seemed to take some of the sting out of QPR's onslaught on Howard's goal but Cisse came close to grabbing an 89th-minute winner when he fired wide.
Information from Press Association and The Associated Press was used in this report.