Wells fires QPR to success over Middlesbrough
- Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo
Sky Bet Championship: Queens Park Rangers 2 (Wszolek 4, Wells 60) Middlesbrough 1 (Saville 51)
Nahki Wells struck a second-half winner for Queens Park Rangers as Steve McClaren guided his side to a 2-1 success over former club Middlesbrough in the Sky Bet Championship.
The Rs took an early lead through Pawel Wszolek, but were unable to build on it as they held just a one-goal advantage at the interval.
Boro hit back early in the second half, but a superb effort from Wells midway through the half handed the hosts the victory.
QPR boss McClaren made two changes to his starting XI following last weekend’s loss at Leeds United, both of which were down to injuries.
Darnell Furlong came in for his first start of the season at right-back in place of Angel Rangel, while Jordan Cousins replaced Geoff Cameron in midfield.
The Loftus Road club made a dream start to the match, taking the lead in just the fourth minute.
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Full-back Jake Bidwell crossed from the left and found Wszolek, who prodded home from close range.
The Rs nearly had a second five minutes later when Joel Lynch’s shot from distance was deflected towards Wells.
However, the on-loan Burnley forward could not get the ball under control, allowing Middlesbrough stopper Darren Randolph to come out and claim it.
Wells was looking lively in the first half and went close again to getting his first of the afternoon in the 29th minute.
Despite being put under pressure by Daniel Ayala, the Bermuda international was able to fashion room for a shot in the box, but narrowly curled his effort wide.
That was the last real sight of goal for either side before the break as the west Londoners went into half-time with their advantage still intact.
As good as the Rs were at the start of the first half, they were slack at the beginning of the second.
Within six minutes of the restart, Boro were level when George Saville lashed home from 25 yards following Furlong’s poor attempt to clear a throw-in into the area.
QPR were fortunate not to concede a second in the 57th minute when keeper Joe Lumley came for a George Friend free-kick, but missed it entirely.
Thankfully for the home team, skipper Toni Leistner was on hand to clean up and clear his lines.
It was a let-off that the Loftus Road club took full advantage of, with Wells putting them back ahead three minutes later.
After having an initial effort save, Wells received the ball again inside the box and cut inside onto his left foot, before curling his shot past Randolph.
QPR had a chance to seal the win with eight minutes remaining when substitute Josh Scowen passed to Wszolek in the midst of a quick break.
Though Ebere Eze was free at the back post, the Poland international chose to shoot from a tight angle inside the area and fired off target.
Mercifully, that miss did not come back to haunt the Rs as they held on to their advantage.
McClaren will hope his men can follow that up with a success at another of his former sides, Nottingham Forest, next Saturday.
QPR (4-4-1-1): Lumley; Furlong, Leistner, Lynch (Scowen 52), Bidwell; Wszolek, Luongo, Cousins, Freeman; Eze (Smith 89); Wells (Oteh 90+3).
Subs: Ingram (GK), Chair, Osayi-Samuel, Smyth.
Middlesbrough (4-3-3): Randolph; Shotton, Ayala, Flint, Friend; Clayton, Howson (Wing 65), Saville (Fletcher 88); Downing (Tavernier 65), Hugill, Assombalonga.
Subs: Konstantopoulos (GK), Batth, McNair, Fry.
Referee: Oliver Langford.
Attendance: 14,088 (including 2,260 Middlesbrough fans).