Can QPR end their FA Cup hoodoo against MK Dons?
Rangers seek to end a barren record stretching back 11 years
Not many QPR fans had heard of Vauxhall Motors before the two sides were drawn together in the first round of the 2002-03 FA Cup – but after that tie it was a name which most would never forget, writes Ian Cooper.
The Unibond League side were supposed to be easy meat for Division Two Rangers in a replay at Loftus Road, and when Andy Thomson shot QPR ahead after 18 minutes, the game seemed set to follow the expected script.
And then it all went so wrong. Phil Brazier levelled for the visitors, and they went on, astonishingly, to defeat Ian Holloway’s shell-shocked side 4-3 on penalties and inflict one of QPR’s worst ever cup upsets.
It is widely regarded as the moment the club, just out of administration, hit rock bottom. While they have recovered since, few could have imagined that from that day to this the Rs would fail to win a single FA Cup match.
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It is an extraordinary record: following that game QPR have exited the competition once in the first round and seven times in the third-round, the most recent of which came last season in a 1-0 loss to Blackburn at Ewood Park.
There is good reason then, for the 4,500 Rs fans travelling to the stadium: mk for the third round clash on Saturday, to do so with more than a little trepidation.
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QPR are unlikely to field a full-strength side, and will come up against a team who have lost only one of their last 11 games in all competitions, and sit fourth in the League One table.
Rangers fans with long memories will be familiar with the name of Charlie MacDonald, the striker who as a youngster playing for Charlton Athletic knocked QPR out of the 1999-2000 FA Cup – in the fourth round.
Now 30, MacDonald has found the net seven times in 12 games this season and is the club’s top-scorer, followed closely by strike partner Jabo Ibehre (pictured) and former Ipswich man Dean Bowditch, each on six.
Bowditch is likely to be joined in midfield by another familiar name: Luke Chadwick, once of Manchester United.
Key figure in the MK Dons’ defence is skipper and left-back Dean Lewington, who has made 355 appearances for the club, going back to their original guise as Wimbledon Football Club.
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