QPR 0 Bristol City 1
A much-improved second half from Rangers was not quite enough to rescue a point against play-off hopefuls Bristol City.
The Hoops looked lost in the opening half and deservedly trailed to a flying header from Famara Diedhiou.
But it was a different story after the break as Mark Warburton’s men rallied well – creating several decent half-chances.
What they could have done with, though, was Nahki Wells. Unfortunately for the Hoops he was plucked from their grasp this week and appeared on the opposition subs bench before coming on for what must have been the strangest of debuts.
He was well received by home fans – mindful of his wholehearted contribution in W12 – but the taunts from visiting fans about his defection to the West Country will have hurt none the less.
City took charge without Wells in that opening half. Liam Kelly made a fine low stop early on, needing strong wrists to keep out an effort from Diedhiou. But he could do nothing about the City number nine’s header from 12 yards which sailed past him after 16 minutes.
It was a self-inflicted wound for Rangers as Grant Hall’s crossfield ball from deep to Ebere Eze was easily telegraphed by Robins full-back Jack Hunt and his cross from deep was given a spectacular finish.
City’s troublesome striker – perhaps raising his game now he has competition from Wells for that role as chief striker - looked menacing and latched onto a long ball from Ashley Williams, rifling just over.
Rangers attacks were sporadic in the first half to say the least, with Bright Osayi-Samuel often shackled, but one run late in the first half from the winger gave Jordan Hugill a sighter of the net – his attempt from the edge of the area shaving the far post.
Ilias Chair looked the likeliest source of a goal against a defence that had not conceded in a run of three straight wins.
The signs were more promising at the start of the second half, with Osayi-Samuel drawing a foul from ex-Chelsea defender Jay Dasilva and Eze’s subsequent free-kick from the right was headed narrowly off target by Conor Masterson.
They came even closer when Chair’s ball into the area gave Osayi-Samuel another opportunity – but after a twist and turn to work the ball onto his right foot, he was way off target.
Then Eze swung a ball up to the far post, only for Hugill to have his close-range nod scooped away by City keeper Dan Bentley.
The introduction of Wells seemed to raise the away side again and very soon the ex-Ranger was clattering into Eze and looping a header just over the bar to endear himself to the visiting fans.
But it was Rangers who finished on top – pinning the visitors back for the final 10 minutes – and with sub Jack Clarke heavily involved in the late onslaught.
Line-up: Kelly – Kane, Hall, Masterson, Wallace – Osayi-Samuel, Amos (Pugh 62), Ball (Shodipo 88), Eze - Chair (Clarke 82) – Hugill. Subs not used: Lumley, Manning, Rangel, Barbet