QPR 2-1 Middlesbrough: Nahki Wells fires Hoops back to winning ways
Pawel Wszolek and Wells on target as QPR win at Loftus Road
Last Updated: 15/12/18 6:59pm
Nahki Wells' second-half strike earned QPR a 2-1 Sky Bet Championship win over Middlesbrough at Loftus Road.
George Saville equalised for Boro five minutes into the second half after Pawel Wszolek had given the hosts an early lead.
But on-loan Burnley striker Wells hit back for Rangers to secure their first win in five matches and give boss Steve McClaren a victory to savour against his former club.
Wszolek's fourth-minute goal had given McClaren's side the perfect start.
Jake Bidwell collected Luke Freeman's pass and sent a low cross from the left into the penalty area, where Wszolek scored from close range having drifted in from the right flank.
Boro levelled six minutes into the second half when Ryan Shotton's ball in from the left was headed out by Darnell Furlong as far as former Chelsea youngster Saville, who volleyed home left-footed from near the edge of the penalty area.
Rangers were down to 10 men at the time as they were waiting to replace defender Joel Lynch, who had just limped off injured.
They regrouped and were back in front nine minutes later courtesy of the excellent Wells, whose goal condemned Boro to their first defeat in seven away matches in the Sky Bet Championship.
Wszolek found space on the right and pulled the ball back to the on-loan Burnley striker, who cleverly turned away from Saville, shifting the ball on to his left foot, and smashed his shot past keeper Darren Randolph.
The result was a huge boost for QPR after being dealt a major blow by news that defender Angel Rangel and on-loan duo Geoff Cameron and Tomer Hemed all face lengthy spells of the sidelines because of injury.
Rangers made the early running, with Wells firing wide of the far post before Wszolek's second goal in his past three games and his fifth of the season put them ahead.
And Wells was unlucky not to double the lead before half-time when he superbly wriggled away from Daniel Ayala and shot narrowly wide.
Boro made a determined start to the second half and Saville's fine strike gave keeper Joe Lumley little chance but Wells responded.
Wszolek had a late chance to add a third for Rangers following an error by Shotton.
After Shotton had given the ball away, Josh Scowen burst forward and teed up Wszolek, who blasted wide of the near post.
Steve McClaren: "I think we deserved to win on the basis of the chances we created and the way we defended. I think it would have been a travesty had we not won this game. I'm really pleased with the players.
"I'm delighted with the win. It was a great win and a great performance. We showed great determination, could have scored more goals and defended resolutely right to the end."
Tony Pulis: "We had an incident in their box, from a corner, where Assombalonga is actually rugby-tackled down and the referee is just five yards away from it and doesn't give it. Then we've got an incident in the second half where an offside is given but their player had touched the ball last, so Jonny Howson is 100 per cent not offside.
"Not only does he give offside, but the goalkeeper (Joe Lumley) then takes it from the edge of the box from a rolling position when the incident has happened 25 yards away. We had four or five players then past the ball when they scored the second goal. It's got to be an even playing field. The referee has got to look at those and we'll see what he says."