Certainly prior to the 64th minute goal, there was a growing body of evidence to suggest that, even at this early stage of the season, Hughes’s side had the look of one that was doomed as they struggled to recover from Kaspars Gorkss’s 16th minute volley.
Overpowered by a Reading team who, like QPR, were looking for their first win of the league season, the home team were running out of ideas and, more importantly, belief.
Cisse’s goal changed that and the point earned moved QPR off the foot of the table on goal difference ahead of Southampton’s trip to West Brom tonight.
Nevertheless, Reading’s Brian McDermott was clearly the more satisfied of the two managers, particularly as his side recovered well from the shock of losing a four-goal lead to Arsenal last Tuesday in the Capital One Cup but, having once again received the unequivocal backing of Tony Fernandes beforehand, Hughes stayed resolute in his belief that both he and his side can turn things around.
“We have to make sure we take points from every game that we play because we don’t want to find ourselves adrift at the bottom,” he said.
“We anticipated before this season started we would have a really successful season and the longer this run goes, then that successful season we all anticipated is in danger and we might be in the situation we were in last season.”
McDermott has been spared the scrutiny placed on Hughes and his players because the expectations surrounding Reading are so much lower than those on a club that spent so heavily in the summer.
“I just look at trying to get to the next position above the one we are in,” McDermott said. “I don’t worry where we will be in January, I’m just thinking about the next training session.”
Reading looked well prepared during the first half when they pressed the home side back and exploited Rangers’ weakness at set pieces. The opening goal came when Sean Morrison sent a header against the bar from Nicky Shorey’s corner and Gorkss pounced on the rebound to score against his former club.
McCarthy made an excellent save from Esteban Granero’s free kick but that was a rare moment of home pressure during a worrying first period for Hughes. The second period was better from the home manager’s point of view with his side finally coming to grips with the committed visitors and levelling when Cisse produced an excellent first touch and shot to beat McCarthy from close range.
Both teams had chances to win it but, in keeping with their season so far, neither were able to conjure the composure or quality to finally clinch the win.
QPR (4-4-2): Cesar 6; Bosingwa 6, Ferdinand 5, Nelsen 6, Traore 5; (Onuoha 84,6) Mackie 6 (Zamora 81,6), Granero 6, Diakite 7, Taarabt 6; Hoilett 5, Cisse 6.
READING (4-4-2): McCarthy 9; Gunter 6, Morrison 7, Gorkss 6, Shorey 7; McCleary 6 (Kebe 62, 6), Tabb 8, Leigertwood 7, McAnuff 6 (Robson-Kanu 80,6); Roberts 6 (Le Fondre 88,6), Hunt 5.
Referee: M Oliver.