QPR end FA Cup hoodoo with win over MK Dons after Gabbidon strikes
FA Cup Third Round Replay: QPR 1 MK Dons 0
Danny Gabbidon’s late header handed Mark Hughes his first win as QPR manager on Tuesday night, and set up a mouth-watering FA Cup fourth round clash with Chelsea.
Gabbidon’s first Rangers goal – a powerful 72nd-minute header - proved enough to squeeze the Rs through, their first win in the competition since they beat Luton Town in 2001.
Rangers were unconvincing throughout, as MK Dons created several clear-cut chances, and could have had the game wrapped up before Gabbidon’s late intervention.
At a freezing Loftus Road the two teams took fully 25 minutes to warm to their task, with the only action of note coming at the QPR end, as Luke Chadwick shot straight at Paddy Kenny.
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Charlie MacDonald wasted a decent chance when he headed past Kenny’s left-hand upright, before QPR thought they had taken the lead when defender Shaun Williams headed into his own net from a corner, only for the goal to be ruled out for a push by Shaun Derry.
A half which had meandered aimlessly towards the break then should have produced a goal for each side. First, MacDonald was played in by Stephen Gleeson, only to poke his shot across goal and wide.
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Shortly afterwards, a great threaded ball from Akos Buzsaky found Shaun Wright-Phillips charging through, but the winger wasted the chance with a tame effort which was blocked by Martin.
The second half continued in much the same vein, with QPR struggling for any rhythm. Jay Bothroyd twice headed weakly at Martin, before MK Dons carved out a trio of great chances.
Jabo Ibehre should have scored from Smith’s wicked cross, but scuffed his shot wide from two yards out, before MacDonald and Smith both sent efforts inches past Kenny’s goal.
MK Dons looked by far the likelier side to score, but instead it was QPR who finally broke through.
Wright-Phillips swung in a corner, and Gabbidon sent a thumping header into the net via a defender.
QPR: Kenny, Hill, Derry, Gabbidon, Bothroyd, Mackie, Buzsaky, Young, Wright-Phillips, Macheda, Ferdinand.
Subs: Cerny, Orr, Hall, Campbell, Smith, Helguson, Ephraim.
MK Dons: Martin, Smith, Lewington, Kouo-Doumbe, Gleeson, Potter, Bowditch, MacDonald, Williams, Ibehre, Chadwick.
Subs: McLoughlin, Flanagan, Powell, Baldock, O’Shea, McNamee, Williams.