Wells goal helps QPR progress past Portsmouth

Nahki Wells in action for Queens Park Rangers earlier in the season (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

Nahki Wells in action for Queens Park Rangers earlier in the season (pic: George Phillipou/TGS Photo) - Credit: George Phillipou/TGS Photo

Emirates FA Cup fourth round replay: Queens Park Rangers 2 (Wells 70, Smith 77) Portsmouth 0

Queens Park Rangers safely reached round five of the FA Cup for the first time in 22 years with a 2-0 win at home to Sky Bet League One side Portsmouth in a fourth-round replay.

In a first half of few chances, the Rs came closest to opening the scoring when Darnell Furlong headed against the bar from a corner.

Things were different after the break, though, as the west Londoners turned their possession into goals, with Nahki Wells and Matt Smith both on target.

QPR boss Steve McClaren made three changes to his starting XI following a 2-1 defeat at Wigan Athletic in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday.

Grant Hall was handed just a fourth start of the season at centre-back, while Saturday’s scorer Bright Osayi-Samuel and Smith also came into the side.

The trio came in respectively for Toni Leistner, Pawel Wszolek and Ebere Eze, all of whom dropped to the bench.

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Smith went close to marking his return to the starting XI with a goal in just the sixth minute, but headed wide when Furlong floated in a cross from the right.

Eight minutes later, a corner eventually found its way to Massimo Luongo just inside the area, but the Australia international fired over on the half-volley with his weaker left foot.

With 10 minutes left in the half, the Rs came within inches of taking the lead when Furlong headed a Luke Freeman corner from the right against the bar.

That was the last sight of goal for either side before the break as the teams headed down the tunnel with the match goalless.

Luongo went close again for the Loftus Road club in the 55th minute, but was unable to get a header from a Freeman free-kick on target.

The breakthrough mercifully came 20 minutes from time, though it wasn’t the most beautiful goal the Rs have ever scored.

A corner from the left by Freeman led to confusion in the Pompey, with Wells ultimately pouncing on the line to scramble to ball home and break the deadlock.

QPR did not have to wait long for their second, with Smith heading home a Freeman free-kick in the 77th minute to double the hosts’ advantage.

That goal seemed to end the match as a contest, with the Rs content to safely see their way into round five and set up a home tie against Watford on February 15.

Before that, though, McClaren’s men play host to Birmingham City in the league on Saturday.

QPR (4-4-2): Lumley; Furlong, Hall, Lynch, Bidwell; Freeman, Scowen, Luongo, Osayi-Samuel (Eze 71); Wells (Manning 82), Smith (Hemed 90).

Subs: Ingram (GK), Wszolek, Kakay, Leistner.

Portsmouth (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray; Walkes, Burgess, Clarke, Brown; Naylor, May (Morris 59); Lowe, Close (Pitman 74), Dennis (Evans 60); Hawkins.

Subs: Bass (GK), Thompson, Haunstrup.

Referee: David Coote.

Attendance: 13,115.

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