QPR beaten by Bolton despite Wells goal
PUBLISHED: 16:56 30 March 2019
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Sky Bet Championship: Queens Park Rangers (Wells 81) Bolton Wanderers (Buckley 35, Connolly 71)
Queens Park Rangers endured more woe in the league as they were beaten 2-1 at home to troubled Bolton Wanderers in the Sky Bet Championship/
Despite looking the brighter of the two sides, the Rs trailed at the break after the Trotters took the lead through a rare foray forward.
The west Londoners then conceded a second midway through the second period and though Nahki Wells pulled one back late on, it was not enough.
Following a 2-2 draw at Hull City on their last outing, QPR boss Steve McClaren made five changes to his starting XI.
Angel Rangel, Grant Hall, Josh Scowen, Bright Osayi-Samuel and Tomer Hemed were all restored to the line-up for the west Londoners.
Darnell Furlong, Toni Leistner, Ebere Eze and Wells all dropped to the bench, while Geoff Cameron missed out through illness for the Loftus Road side.
With Leistner among the substitutes, Luke Freeman skippered McClaren’s men for the visit of Bolton.
There was a face familiar to the home faithful in the Wanderers line-up, with former Rs midfielder Gary O’Neil returning to his old stamping ground.
After a cagey opening, Scowen was close to opening the scoring for McClaren’s men in the 22nd minute, but saw his effort from close range crash back off the post.
A free-kick from captain Freeman two minutes later then flashed past the post as the Loftus Road side looked to take the initiative.
Despite all their pressure, the west Londoners fell behind in disappointing fashion in the 35th minute.
A cross into the box found Josh Magennis who headed the ball towards goal and home stopper Joe Lumley could only palm it onto Will Buckley, who watched in delight as the ball trickled into the net.
Looking for a response, Freeman found Hemed with a cross from the left in the 44th minute, but the Israel international’s header went over the bar.
That was the last shot on goal from either side in the opening half as QPR went into the break trailing to Buckley’s effort.
McClaren’s men nearly drew level less than a minute into the second half when Osayi-Samuel burst forward at pace, but his resulting effort was straight at away stopper Remi Matthews.
Leistner, on as a replacement for the injured Hall, was next to go close, heading over from a corner in the 52nd minute.
The Rs breathed a huge sigh of relief six minutes later when Sammy Ameobi played in Magennis in the area, but the ball got stuck under the forward’s feet which allowed the hosts to clear.
Wanderers went close again in the 67th minute, with Buckley first hitting the bar from close range, before Lumley denied Andrew Taylor in the aftermath.
With 19 minutes remaining, the Trotters did double their advantage when Callum Connolly struck.
Ameobi’s initial effort was parried back into play by Lumley, with Connolly on hand to slam home the rebound from close range.
The Rs tried to find a way back into proceedings, with both substitute Wells and Osayi-Samuel denied by Matthews in quick succession in the 77th minute.
A corner dropped to Jake Bidwell in the box less than a minute later, but the left-back blazed over with the goal at his mercy.
With nine minutes remaining, McClaren’s men pulled one back through Bermuda international Wells.
The on-loan Burnley attacker cut into the box from the right, before curling a shot past Matthews with his left foot.
Massimo Luongo then nearly provided an equaliser for the west Londoners, drawing a good save from Matthews in the 84th minute.
Sadly, that was as close as the Loftus Road club came to a second goal as they slipped to another defeat in the league.
The Rs will hope for better next weekend, but face a difficult trip to title hopefuls Norwich City.
QPR (4-4-1-1): Lumley; Rangel (Smith 62), Hall (Leistner 49), Lynch, Bidwell; Wszolek, Luongo, Scowen, Freeman; Osayi-Samuel; Hemed (Wells 70).
Subs: Ingram (GK), Furlong, Cousins, Eze.
Bolton (4-4-1-1): Matthews; Olkowski, Wheater, Beevers, Taylor; O’Neil, Williams, Connolly, Buckley (Noone 80); Ameobi (Donaldson 89); Magennis.
Subs: Alnwick (GK), Little, Oztumer, Wilson, Connell.
Referee: Geoff Eltringham.
Attendance: 13,603 (including 727 Bolton fans).