Premier League Cup
Team: Halwax, Remy, Woollard-Innocent, Domi, Carlyle, Pitblado, Owens, Bettache, Armstrong, Aoraha, Kargbo
Subs: Little, McLean, Pedder, Lloyd
Following the dramatic away win against Blackburn Rovers, the R’s were then drawn away to West Bromwich Albion. The tie took place at the Keys Park Stadium in Staffordshire, the home of Hednesford Town.
Sammy picked me up from Park Royal and despite encountering heavy traffic on the latter part of the journey we arrived at the ground in good time. The only other R’s fan in attendance that I was aware of was Martin Wheeler.
The Baggies took the lead after just three minutes following a swift breakaway which led to Rico Richards setting up Reyes Cleary who then smashed the ball into the corner of the net.
However, Rangers were soon on the front foot. Alex Aorahawent on a great run, holding off two opponents, which took him close to the corner flag, but unfortunately no further.
The R’s got the equaliser they deserved on 13 minutes when a well-placed Sinclair Armstrong forced the ball home from close range.
Charlie Owens took off from midfield only to be cynically fouled. Mr Yianni wasn’t impressed and booked the culprit.
West Brom forced a corner and the resulting shot looked as if it was going to sneak in at the near post, but Harry Halwaxwas on hand to smother the ball.
The Baggies broke away and went close to taking the lead, but their effort narrowly evaded the post.
At the other end, a Rangers shot clipped the upright. Then, Jamie Andrews was the second Baggies player to be shown a yellow card.
Sinclair Armstrong had the ball in the net, but it was ruled offside. I was pretty much level at the time and it looked a harsh decision to me!
Reyes Cleary gave West Brom the lead three minutes beforethe break when he bent the ball beyond the reach of the R’s keeper. Half-time: 1-2.
Into the second-half and the game continued to be played at a good tempo. Franklin Domi cleared a Baggies effort off the line following a corner.
Hamzad Kargbo was constantly having his shirt tugged whilst Nathan Carlyle received a booking after intervening with West Brom on the attack.
Sinclair Armstrong got himself into the box, but his shot was stopped. However, on 65 minutes, once again good pace got the Rangers No.9 into the area, where he then successfully fired the ball into the back of the net for the R’s equaliser.
West Brom restored their lead a minute or so later after Tom Fellows had set up Rico Richards.
The away side were still very much in the game and following a good break, Sinclair Armstrong’s powerful shot was well saved by Ted Cant and the ball went behind for a corner.
Alfie Lloyd was brought on at the expense of the impressive Alex Aoraha.
With over 80 minutes gone, the Baggies decisive fourth goal arrived after a free kick. The ball was swung in, and substitute Cianole Nguepissi then hoofed it up and it ended up looping over Harry Halwax.
Hamzad Kargbo saw his header cleared off the line following a deep free kick from the right-flank.
Four added minutes were displayed but West Brom had already done enough to reach the quarter-finals.
Obviously disappointed with the result, but overall this was a very good Rangers performance.
Thanks to Sammy for the lift home.