QPR’s run continues as Wszolek grabs winner against Villa
- Credit: PA Wire/PA Images
Sky Bet Championship: Queens Park Rangers 1 (Wszolek 38) Aston Villa 0
Pawel Wszolek scored the winner as in-form QPR continued their climb up the Sky Bet Championship table by beating Aston Villa 1-0 at Loftus Road.
Villa’s Jack Grealish hit the woodwork and the home side should arguably have been awarded a penalty before Wszolek struck seven minutes before half-time.
Wszolek drifted into the middle, in between defenders James Chester and Axel Tuanzebe to collect Geoff Cameron’s ball over the top.
The Polish winger then unleashed a shot which bounced down off the underside of the bar and over the line.
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It clinched a third consecutive win for Rangers and the fourth victory and clean sheet of a five-match unbeaten run. It also left them seventh in the table ahead of Saturday’s matches.
Since losing their first four league games under manager Steve McClaren - a run which included a 7-1 humiliation at West Brom - QPR have lost just two of their subsequent 11.
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Villa, meanwhile, have suffered back-to-back defeats under new boss Dean Smith, whose first three games at the helm have underlined the fact that he has plenty of work to do.
Smith’s side almost went ahead when keeper Joe Lumley misjudged Grealish’s 30th-minute free-kick, seemingly believing it was drifting well wide, only to see it bounce back off his left-hand post.
The lively Grealish also sent a long-range shot into Lumley’s arms and fired wide from near the edge of the penalty area after being teed up by Villa’s on-loan Chelsea striker Tammy Abraham.
John McGinn also went close for Villa when he turned away from Massimo Luongo and cut inside from the right beyond Joel Lynch before firing a left-footed shot wide of the target.
At the other end, keeper Orjan Nyland comfortably gathered Cameron’s harmless header from Luke Freeman’s corner and a right-footed shot from Freeman after Wszolek had combined with Luongo to set up the QPR playmaker.
Nyland was called into action again when Freeman’s trickery on the left-hand side of the box created a sight of goal for Ebere Eze, whose first-time shot was easily held.
Rangers then appealed in vain for a spot-kick when Wszolek latched on to Eze’s pass and shot wide of the near post after appearing to be held back by Neil Taylor.
But Wszolek punished Villa a couple of minutes later by pouncing on their shoddy defending to score his first league goal of the season.
Villa put Rangers under pressure in the second half but were unable to find an equaliser.
Abraham nudged the ball wide from six yards out after being found by McGinn’s left-wing free-kick, and Lumley produced a near-post save to deny substitute Yannick Bolasie.