2017/18 English League Championship, 2017/2018 English League Championship
  • Conor Washington (41')
  • Matt Smith (81')
  • Léo Bonatini (43')

Matt Smith heads winner for QPR to stun high-flying Wolves

QPR substitute Matt Smith headed a late winner to earn his side a surprise 2-1 victory over high-flying Wolves at Loftus Road.
Conor Washington put Rangers ahead with four minutes left in the first half, only for Wolves striker Leo Bonatini to level almost immediately with his eighth goal of the season.
Both sides had further opportunities to secure all three points, but Smith's 81st-minute header proved decisive and denied Wolves the chance to regain top spot in the Sky Bet Championship.
QPR, who went into the contest on the back of a seven-match winless run, looked the stronger side in the first quarter of an hour without manufacturing any clear scoring chances.
Their only real sniff of goal came when Washington stretched to reach a knock-down from Jake Bidwell, but the Northern Ireland international was unable to connect with sufficient power.
Wolves gradually began to find some holes in the Hoops defence, with the influential Diogo Jota bursting past two challenges only to drag his shot wide of the post.
But they fell behind towards the end of the first half when Massimo Luongo slid in to win possession from Romain Saiss and the ball rebounded for Washington to beat goalkeeper John Ruddy and tuck away his finish.
However, Rangers' lead lasted barely two minutes as Jota stormed down the left flank, outpacing Alex Baptiste and cutting the ball back for Bonatini to thump a volley into the roof of the net.
The Brazilian might even have put Wolves ahead before the break following a slip by Jordan Cousins, but Joel Lynch scrambled the ball clear in time.
It was QPR who almost regained the lead early in the second half when Luke Freeman pounced on a defensive slip and unleashed a 25-yard drive that took a deflection and crashed off the crossbar.
But Bonatini should certainly have made it 2-1 in the visitors' favour shortly afterwards, bundling over from close range after an exchange of passes with Jota.
It was Bonatini's final contribution as he made way for Bright Enobakhare, while QPR also rang the changes by sending on Smith, who almost made an immediate impact, heading Bidwell's cross wide.
Washington went close again as he hooked the ball goalwards with Ruddy stranded, but Conor Coady back-pedalled to head off the line.
At the other end, Rangers goalkeeper Alex Smithies was his side's saviour, denying Jota with his legs after the Portuguese had turned Baptiste.
But the winner arrived nine minutes from time as Wolves half-cleared Freeman's free-kick and Lynch swept the ball back in for Smith to hold off Roderick Miranda and direct his header beyond Ruddy.

English League Championship Standings

1 Sheffield United 17 +12 36
2 Wolverhampton Wanderers 16 +14 35
3 Cardiff City 16 +9 31
4 Bristol City 16 +10 30
5 Middlesbrough 16 +8 26
6 Aston Villa 16 +7 26
7 Derby County 15 +4 25
8 Ipswich Town 15 +4 24
9 Nottingham Forest 16 -1 24
10 Leeds United 16 +5 23
11 Sheffield Wednesday 16 +2 23
12 Brentford 16 +4 22
13 Preston North End 17 0 22
14 Norwich City 16 -5 22
15 Queens Park Rangers 16 -3 21
16 Barnsley 15 +1 19
17 Fulham 16 -1 19
18 Reading 15 -1 18
19 Millwall 16 0 17
20 Hull City 16 -2 16
21 Burton Albion 17 -23 13
22 Bolton Wanderers 17 -16 12
23 Birmingham City 16 -17 12
24 Sunderland 16 -11 10

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