QPR 2 Accrington Stanley 1

By Ben Kosky HOGAN Ephraim s second-half strike spared Rangers blushes as they crept into the Carling Cup third round after a sluggish display against League Two opposition. Despite the rows of empty seats at Loftus Road, the Rs were roundly booed at hal

By Ben Kosky

HOGAN Ephraim's second-half strike spared Rangers' blushes as they crept into the Carling Cup third round after a sluggish display against League Two opposition.

Despite the rows of empty seats at Loftus Road, the Rs were roundly booed at half-time after failing to stamp their authority on Tuesday's tie - and were fortunate not to fall behind.

Stanley squandered several opportunities, with Michael Symes forcing a diving stop from on-loan Rs goalkeeper Tom Heaton.


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The visitors were denied a penalty soon afterwards when Damion Stewart's lofted back-pass caused Heaton problems and Sean McConville went tumbling over the keeper's leg.

Rangers continued to look vulnerable and Heaton had to make another scrambling save from Jimmy Ryan's free-kick before blocking the rebound from Symes.

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Symes also stabbed wide with just the keeper to beat and it wasn't until late in the first half that Rangers created anything resembling a genuine chance, Alan Martin turning Rowan Vine's effort behind.

Half-time substitute Adel Taarabt did stretch the Stanley defence and it was the Moroccan who finally instigated the breakthrough in the 68th minute.

Wheeling away from his marker, Taarabt released Peter Ramage and the right-back's cross was controlled by Ephraim, who coolly lobbed into the far corner as Martin stood motionless.

Vine might have settled the tie soon afterwards, latching on to a pass from Akos Buszaky, but Martin again tipped the shot wide.

Rangers thought they had wrapped up victory in added time when Wayne Routledge collected Buszaky's pass and smashed home a second off the underside of the bar.

But there was still time for Stanley to pull back a goal they richly deserved, Symes tucking a shot past Heaton from close range. The fact that Rangers then proceeded to keep the ball in the corner says plenty about how close this tie was.

QPR: Heaton; Ramage, Stewart, Gorkss (Borrowdale 45), Connolly; Buzsaky, Mahon (Routledge 69), Leigertwood, Ephraim; Agyemang (Taarabt 45), Vine.

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