Bristol City striker Nahki Wells scored a stoppage-time winner against former club QPR to help the Robins win 2-1 at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium this afternoon.
Wells raced through on goal in the 93rd-minute to slot the ball past Seny Dieng and send the away end absolutely wild after Sam McCallum strike 10 minutes into the second half had cancelled out Chris Martin’s opener.
The striker has found himself down the pecking order at City this season but saved his first Championship goal of the season for his return to west London, where he has enjoyed success for the R’s previously.
Both managers made two changes from the sides they named in midweek, among those George Tanner, who would make a decisive tackle to deny the R’s late on.
Slow starts to games have seen the R’s make things difficult for themselves this season but supporters will have been hoping the Bournemouth defeat would motivate them to fly out of the blocks.
As it was, the first quarter of an hour belonged to the visitors, who were able to keep Warburton’s side pinned in their own half for long periods with Han-Noah Massengo particularly impressive – so often first to loose balls and gliding past opposition players.
But City were unable to create any chances of real note and it was their hosts that nearly opened the scoring after 20 minutes when in-form Lyndon Dykes hit the post with a glancing header.
That opportunity seemed to release the tension that the R’s had been playing with and they wrestled back control as the half wore on. An opener continued to evade them, however, despite Andre Gray going close after cutting in divinely from the right and Stefan Johansen unleashing a long-range effort, Dan Bentley keeping both efforts out.
It was the Robins that eventually found the game’s first goal after weathering a brief storm as Massengo capped off an impressive half by providing the spark for Martin’s third goal of the season.
The Frenchman forced a turnover in his own half before latching onto a wonderful through ball from Tyreeq Bakinson, wrong-footing a defender and crashing a low ball to Andi Weimann at the back post, who teed up his strike partner to smash the ball past Dieng from a tight angle.
Pearson’s side have not found holding onto leads easy this season while the R’s have shown the fight to pull themselves back into games in the second half time after time in recent weeks, so the second half promised to be an eventful one.
The Robins’ resolve lasted just 10 minutes as McCallum put Warburton’s men back on terms in the 55th minute, the wing-back picking up a loose ball in the box and hammering his second in two games into the back of the net through a sea of red shirts.
A few moments later they could’ve had a second when Dykes galloped through on goal after a slick touch through from Gray but a diving Bentley kept things level.
Clearly, the R’s smelt blood as the swelling home support spurred on speculative efforts from first Yoann Barbet and then Gray before substitute Charlie Austin missed a chance to score with his first touch after a 64th-minute introduction.
A Bentley mistake may have cost the Robins in midweek but he looked back to his best in west London and he produced an incredible stop with 20 minutes left to play to deny Dykes from close range.
The introduction of first Wells and then Antoine Semenyo helped Pearson’s side to look more dangerous going forward but they still needed a brilliant last-ditch tackle from Tanner inside the six-yard box and two strong saves from Bentley to keep the scores level.
The late heroics, however, were saved for Wells. Weimann’s ball set the Bermudian striker racing through on goal and he made no mistake, burying his strike in the bottom corner to ensure the three points returned to Bs3 with the Robins.
FULL TIME: QPR 1-2 Bristol City