FA Cup 3rd Round Replay
Team: Green, Onuoha, Ferdinand, Hill, Ben Haim. Derry, Faurlin, Bothroyd (Mbia), Park, Mackie (Taarabt), Cisse (Wright-Phillips)
Subs Not Used: Murphy, Ehmer, Ephraim, Hulse
Jay Bothroyd headed QPR into the fourth round of the FA Cup – and a home tie against MK Dons – but the visitors were most indebted to their keeper, Robert Green, for a series of saves in front of only 11,184 at the Hawthorns. Green denied Romelu Lukaku, Markus Rosenberg twice and Graham Dorrans on a day of good news for QPR, who expect Loic Remy to sign imminently.
Djibril Cisse had led the line for QPR for 45 minutes, but his first-half labours highlighted why Harry Redknapp has worked so hard to bring in Remy from Marseilles. One of Redknapp’s subs, Stephane Mbia, even tweeted a welcome to Remy moments before running out to warm up in front of a half-empty stadium.
Many fans had stayed away, another reminder of the expense of football and maybe an expectation that the managers would not field strong teams. Yet both Steve Clarke and Redknapp showed respect for the Cup. West Brom had Graham Dorrans and James Morrison gracing midfield with Romelu Lukaku the busy front-runner. Lukaku was a real pacy pest, keeping Redknapp’s centre-halves Clint Hill and Anton Ferdinand, on their toes.
Lukaku’s run towards Robert Green’s area was illegally stopped by the visitors’ left-back, Tal Ben Haim. Lukaku fell in the box, but Martin Atkinson and his additional assistant, Darren Cann, deemed the offence had started outside the area. As Ben Haim was cautioned, West Brom fans sang Dorrans’ name, but his free kick disappeared into the QPR wall.
Morrison had a shot blocked by Shaun Derry. Then Goran Popov appeared on the left, lifting in a cross that Lukaku met with a powerful downward header. The ball seemed destined for the net but Green somehow clawed it away.
Their team stirred into life. Alejandro Faurlin made some neat turns and passes in the centre. Derry, anchoring midfield, kept the moves simple, stroking short passes to Faurlin, Ji-Sung Park, Jamie Mackie or Jay Bothroyd, who started on the right of a 4-1-4-1 system. Shortly after the half-hour mark, Bothroyd demanded a good save from Boaz Myhill with a strong shot.
The force remained with Clarke’s side. Dorrans ghosted past Ben Haim and Derry needed to be at his alert best to slide in to nick the ball ahead of Morrison. Hill read the incoming threat, stepping out to intercept George Thorne’s pass to Lukaku.
Interest levels were dropping with the mercury levels. Jerome Thomas did break through, eluding Ferdinand, as QPR fans screamed that he had handled. Thomas reached the bye-line, cut the ball across but there was Green, reacting well, pushing the danger away.
Cisse departed at the break, Redknapp pushing Bothroyd up top with Shaun Wright-Phillips coming on to the left flank and Mackie switching right.
The game continued to meander along, slightly improved in quality levels since Wright-Phillips’s arrival, but still modest. Lukaku cut in from the right, rifling a low shot that Green dived to his left to save. Then Bothroyd set up Wright-Phillips, whose shot was blocked.
Bothroyd was a distinct improvement on Cisse in attack, working hard around the hour mark to win the ball and then flick it down the right for Mackie. He charged upfield, cutting in, driving deep into Myhill’s area and stopped only by a superb sliding block by Gareth McAuley.
Clarke sent on Peter Odemwingie, the striker whom Redknapp had inquired about. “He’s just too good for you,” chanted the West Brom fans. Yet it was the QPR supporters who were soon singing as they took the lead after 76 minutes. Faurlin delivered a good corner and there was Bothroyd, once of England, heading down past Myhill.
The focus then turned to Green, who made two fine saves from Markus Rosenberg and then frustrated Albion further when he denied Popov. After 88 minutes Green made another outstanding stop, pushing over a 20-yarder from Dorrans.
Redknapp had removed Bothroyd by then, inserting Mbia into midfield and letting Mackie do the front-running. Redknapp then ran down the clock, taking off Mackie and sending on Adel Taarabt.
Henry Winter – The Telegraph