Bristol City 2 Queens Park Rangers 1: QPR boss Ian Holloway suffers disappointing return to Bristol as Robins claim points
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Championship: Bristol City 2 (Pack 14, Paterson 40) Queens Park Rangers 1 (Sylla 90+5)
Queens Park Rangers boss Ian Holloway did not enjoy the best of returns to his hometown as he saw his Rs beaten 2-1 by Bristol City in the Championship.
The west Londoners suffered a difficult first half at Ashton Gate, conceding twice to trail at the interval.
The Loftus Road club continued to struggle after the break and though Idrissa Sylla pulled one back in stoppage time, it only proved to be a consolation strike.
The Rs made five changes for the trip down the M4, with Luke Freeman, Jake Bidwell, Pawel Wszolek, Yeni Ngbakoto and Darnell Furlong all returning to the starting XI.
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Both James Perch and Conor Washington dropped to the bench, while Grant Hall, Jack Robinson and Ravel Morrison missed out altogether.
The alterations meant Freeman started against his former club after leaving City in January, while Matt Smith also returned to Ashton Gate following a prolific loan spell in 2014-15.
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Within the opening minute, the recalled Ngbakoto linked up well with Smith, dinking a ball into the box from the left that the striker tamely headed into the hands of Robins stopper Frank Fielding.
At the other end seven minutes later, Bristol captain Korey Smith looked to have played in Matty Taylor, but for a last-ditch tackle from Nedum Onuoha.
However, the QPR skipper’s challenge diverted the ball into the path of Jamie Paterson, who mercifully shot just over the bar from the edge of the area.
In the 14th minute, the Rs fell behind when Marlon Pack struck for the hosts following a corner.
A short set-piece was taken, with the ball then crossed to Taylor, whose mishit, acrobatic effort fell into the path of Pack, who slammed home from 12 yards.
In need of a response, Ryan Manning instigated a quick counter six minutes later for the west Londoners before finding Ngbakoto down the left.
The DR Congo winger cut inside before lashing a powerful right-footed effort towards goal from 25 yards, but found the home faithful rather than the net.
With a touch under 24 minutes on the clock, Wszolek found Freeman in the box, but the QPR man was being tightly marked.
Freeman, however, was able to fire a shot away on the turn from 15 yards, but there was not enough power on the effort to take it past Fielding, who comfortably saved.
Eight minutes later, Rs went close again following another quick break, this time led by Freeman, but Manning curled his 30-yard effort over the bar.
Despite receiving a less than warm welcome from the Robins fans, Freeman nearly marked his return in spectacular fashion with seven minutes to go in the half.
The Rs midfielder curled in a corner from the right that went into the net, only for referee Jeremy Simpson to rule the goal out for a foul on Fielding.
However, City were able to double their advantage in the 40th minute, with Paterson the scorer.
After a quick break, Taylor played in the Scottish winger, who only had Alex Smithies in the away goal to beat, with Paterson coolly slotting home from just inside the box.
That was how things remained until half-time as QPR heading into the dressing rooms following a disappointing first half.
Clearly frustrated with how things were going, Holloways replaced right-back Furlong with striker Washington at the interval.
Less than two minutes after the restart, though, the visitors were fortunate not to concede a third when Paterson scuffed a shot towards Smithies after being found in the box by Tammy Abraham.
It was a let-off QPR nearly took full advantage of when Washington burst into the box two minutes later before sliding the ball to Ngbakoto.
The Rs midfielder looked odds on to score, but a simply stunning save from Fielding prevented Ngbakoto from finding the net.
Clearly desperate to show why he should have started, Washington went close to find the net in the 55th minute.
The Northern Ireland international showed quick feet to create room for a shot 25 yards out, but could only fire his effort into the side netting.
With 28 minutes left in the match, the Robins nearly sealed the win with another quick break, but Abraham saw his effort from the edge of the box deflected behind for a corner by Bidwell.
The Rs were able to defend the set-piece, with their hopes of a comeback still in tact, even if they were slim.
Abraham went close again in the 68th minute, but only another last-ditch challenge from Onuoha, now sporting a bandage after a clash of heads with Pack, kept the Bristol man from scoring.
By now, it resembled one-way traffic with plenty of pressure on the QPR goal as Josh Brownhill put a half-volley over from 10 yards with 11 minutes to go.
From there, though, City took their foot of the pedal a little, with Rs forward Washington testing Fielding again from the edge of the area in stoppage time.
Fellow replacement Sylla did find the net in the final minute of time added on, tapping past Fielding from close range.
But in the end it counted for little as Rs continue to look over their shoulder at the bottom of the table.
Bristol (4-4-2): Fielding; Little, Flint, Wright, Bryan; Brownhill, Smith, Pack, Paterson (Tomlin 88); Abraham (Wilbraham 77), Taylor (O’Dowda 77)
Subs: Giefer (GK), Magnusson, Cotterill, Hegeler
QPR (4-3-3): Smithies; Furlong (Washington 46), Onuoha, Lynch, Bidwell; Manning, Luongo, Freeman; Wszolek, Smith (Sylla 69), Ngbakoto (Mackie 71)
Subs: Ingram (GK), Goss, Perch, LuaLua
Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Lancashire)
Attendance: 20,404 (including 1,667 QPR fans)