Wells sees stoppage-time penalty saved as QPR lose to Birmingham
PUBLISHED: 16:56 09 February 2019 | UPDATED: 16:56 09 February 2019
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Sky Bet Championship: Queens Park Rangers 3 (Smith 45+1, 48, Cousins 80) Birmingham City (Adams 21, 26, 42, Dean 36)
Queens Park Rangers were left to rue a saved penalty from Nahki Wells in stoppage time after coming up just short in overhauling a four-goal deficit to lose 4-3 at home to Birmingham City in the Sky Bet Championship.
Though Matt Smith scored in stoppage time at the end of the first half, QPR endured a catastrophic opening period that saw them ship four goals, including three to Adams.
Smith added a second after the break, before the Rs pulled to within one with 10 minutes to go.
Wells then had his chance from the spot, but was unable to convert was the west Londoners fell short in their bid to mount a memorable comeback.
Somewhat surprisingly, QPR boss Steve McClaren opted to name an unchanged XI following Tuesday’s win over Portsmouth in the FA Cup.
Wells and Smith started together again up top, meaning Ebere Eze had to make do with a spot on the bench where he was joined by club captain Toni Leistner.
After a fairly dull start to the match, the Rs fell behind in the 21st minute when Adams netted for Garry Monk’s men.
A long ball over the top was not dealt with by Joel Lynch, allowing Adams to nip in and fire past home stopper Joe Lumley into the far corner of the net.
Adams was soon at the double, rounding Lumley to score after being played in brilliantly by Jota just five minutes later.
The Blues were able to add their third in the 36th minute when two former Brentford players combined as Jota’s corner from the right was headed home by Harlee Dean.
With three minutes left in the half, Adams was able to complete his hat-trick with another simple goal.
After Jota’s initial effort from 25 yards cannoned back off the post, the Blues forward reacted quickest to fire in the follow up.
QPR finally got on the scoresheet in stoppage time at the end of the first half when Smith powered home a header from a Freeman corner, but even then it felt like little more than a consolation goal.
Soon after, referee Darren Bond mercifully blew his whistle to bring a dismal first half for the west Londoners to a close.
The Loftus Road club made a blistering start to the second half and had their second goal of the match within three minutes of the restart.
Wells played a delightfull ball in from the right angle of the box, which was tucked by Smith to give the home faithful a little more hope.
QPR nearly had their third in the 66th minute, but Smith’s left-footed effort from 18 yards was deflected just over the bar for a corner that came to nothing.
Smith was having an influential afternoon for the Rs and was involved again three minutes later when heading down Jake Bidwell’s cross from the left.
The ball fell into the path of Wells, but the Bermuda international saw his volley saved at close range by Blues stopper Lee Camp.
With 10 minutes remaining, QPR set up a thrilling finale when substitute Jordan Cousins rifled home a half-volley from just inside the box.
Smith nearly completed his hat-trick two minutes from time, but Camp did well to tip the header from the Rs forward behind for a corner.
Birmingham should have wrapped the game up in the 89th minute when Kerim Mrabti broke clear of the defence, but was denied by Lumley.
The Rs looked to have been handed a lifeline in stoppage time when awarded a penalty after Craig Gardner fouled Freeman in the box.
Wells stepped up to take, but saw his effort parried away by Camp before the Blues cleared.
That was the last sight of goal for the Rs as they came up just short in their bid to recover from conceding the first four goals of the game.
QPR go again on Tuesday night when they head for Bristol City, still in search of that first league win of 2019.
QPR (4-4-2): Lumley; Furlong, Hall, Lynch (Wszolek 61), Bidwell; Freeman, Scowen (Cousins 46), Luongo, Osayi-Samuel (Leistner 46); Wells, Smith.
Subs: Ingram (GK), Eze, Manning, Hemed.
Birmingham (4-2-3-1): Camp; Harding, Morrison, Dean, Colin; G Gardner, Kieftenbeld; Jota, Maghoma (C Gardner 74), Adams (Vassell 82); Jutkiewicz (Mrabti 68).
Subs: Trueman (GK), Pedersen, Mahoney, Davis.
Referee: Darren Bond.
Attendance: 14,234 (including 1,774 Birmingham fans).