Nahki Wells returns to haunt QPR with dramatic stoppage-time winner
Nahki Wells had a memorable return to his former loan club, Queens Park Rangers, coming off the bench to net a brilliant first goal of the season in stoppage time for Bristol City in a 2-1 win at Loftus Road.
The Bermuda striker, used only as a substitute for City this season, came off the bench in the 62nd minute to replace Chris Martin who had given City a 1-0 lead in the 45th minute.
QPR equalised in the 54th minute through a Sam McCallum strike from the centre of the box. After that QPR created the bulk of the scoring opportunities but could not find that winner, something that Wells did three minutes into stoppage time.
City broke upfield through Andreas Weimann on the left, he fed Wells with a perfect cross-field pass and the Bermuda captain raced into the box before driving a low shot inside the far post.
Wells, as a show of respect for his former club, was subdued in his celebration, but his team-mates and the 1,900 City fans who made the trip to West London could not contain their excitement.
However, there was no hiding Wells’s excitement, as his late winner gives City three points to move level on points with QPR in eighth and ninth places, just a point away from the play-off places.
“I think the gaffer said something that was important to me, to be positive and stay up and that was the encouragement to try to get a winner,” Wells said.
“Because he said that, I held myself up the pitch a bit more and was able to get on the end of a great ball from Andy. I’m delighted, what a great time to score a goal.”
Wells joined City the day before the transfer deadline in late January 2020 for a £4 million fee from his parent club Burnley. He had already scored 15 goals that season with QPR who decided against putting in an offer to sign him in a permanent deal.
On Saturday Wells reminded them, and City, what he can do in front of goal.
“We know what QPR are like, they area good team who wanted to get a winner,” he added. “Equally they are vulnerable, we knew we could get them on the counter. We know they concede goals.
“That was my mentality all along, to be as positive as possible, and that if a chance comes I take it. Thankfully it dropped to me and I dispatched it.”
Wells was left to start on the bench again as he waited for his chance to impress his manager Nigel Pearson.
“It’s been probably one of the toughest periods of my career, but equally the lads in front of me deserve to be playing right now,” he added. “I would like to be playing more but I have to be doing that more often and maybe that would give the manager belief in what I can do and I can get more minutes on the pitch.”
Manager Pearson praised Wells for his performance as he welcomed three important points.
“I know Nahki is a really good finisher, sometimes it’s having him in the game for longer periods,” he said.
“He’s felt frustrated not to get starts but he’s been very supportive of his team-mates.”
Elsewhere, Justin Donawa helped Solihull Moors claim a third consecutive victory in the Vanarama National League, beating Boreham Wood 3-1 on Saturday.
A number of other Bermudian players were in FA Cup qualifying action with Kole Hall’s Radcliffe Borough beating Mossley AFC 2-1 away from home, while Dale Eve and his Spennymoor Town team-mates will play AFC Fylde in a replay tomorrow after finishing 1-1 in their second qualifying round match.
Reggie Lambe and Stowmarket Town drew 0-0 away to Sudbury in a Suffolk derby which will also require a replay. Roger Lee and Mickleover FC went down 3-1 to Basford.
Goalkeeper Nathan Trott, on loan from West Ham at French second division club, Nancy, played in the 1-1 draw with Le Havre on Saturday, a result that keeps Nancy at the bottom of the table. Nancy took the lead in the 49th minute before Le Havre equalised in the 56th minute to leave the home team without a win in eight matches.