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FA Cup

  • 17 January 2012
  • • 20:00
  • • Loftus Road Stadium, London
  • Referee: P. Dowd
  • • Attendance: 10855

QPR 1-0 MK Dons: Danny Gabbidon heads home winner to down spirited League One outfit

QPR 1-0 MK Dons: Danny Gabbidon heads home winner to down spirited League One outfit

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Mark Hughes picked up his first victory as Rs boss despite a lacklustre performance against stubborn opposition to progress to the FA Cup Fourth Round

QPR booked their place in the fourth-round of the FA Cup after overcoming a dogged and determined MK Dons side in their third-round replay at Loftus Road.

The only goal of the game came in the 73rd minute courtesy of a Danny Gabbidon header, his first since March 2005, getting on the end of a Shaun Wright-Phillips corner.

QPR named a strong side and made just one change from the side that lost to Newcastle, with Federico Macheda named in place of Heidar Helguson, while the Dons restored Mathias Doumbe and Charlie McDonald to the starting line-up.

In a scrappy opening period, QPR failed to impose themselves on their visitors, with Karl Robinson’s side more than comfortable when in possession and harrying the home side when without it.

The first chance of note came from England under-21 right back Adam Smith, currently on-loan from Tottenham, striking an ambitious effort from range that swerved just wide of Paddy Kenny’s left hand post.

Smith was involved again moments later as he drilled a vicious cross from the right-hand touchline, but Charlie McDonald could only flash a glancing header wide, with Kenny seemingly beaten.

This wake-up call appeared to bring QPR back to life around the half-hour mark with Manchester United loanee Macheda sliding an excellent pass round the corner for Wright-Phillips to run onto with a real sight on goal.

As the England winger burst into the eighteen yard box, only a superb sliding tackle from Luke Chadwick denied the hosts from opening their account.

From the resulting corner, Shaun Derry had a goal disallowed for a foul on the goalkeeper, with the former Crystal Palace captain’s stretch of five years without a goal showing no signs of ending anytime soon.

MK Dons' best chance of the half came via a routine long ball forward from midfielder Stephen Gleeson which released McDonald.

With the offside trap beaten, the striker toe-poked the ball fractionally wide after electing to go with his right foot when the angle perhaps suited his left better.

QPR had their best chance themselves just minutes later after Bothroyd’s through-ball put Wright-Phillips in on goal with just the goalkeeper to beat, but a combination of poor finishing and excellent shot-stopping from David Martin saw it deflect out for a corner.

MK Dons broke from the resulting corner and with options open either side of him, Dean Bowditch blazed over horribly from just outside the box, with the QPR defence outnumbered.

The second-half began in very similar fashion to the first, with both sides struggling to dominate possession, resulting in a game full of end-to-end action, but still lacking that crucial and defining quality in the final third.

With only a speculative effort from Gleeson and two Bothroyd headers that were comfortably dealt with by Martin, the supposed gulf in class was far from evident.

Jabo Ibhere then contrived to miss the best chance of the game from point-blank range as he failed to connect with Smith’s delicious cross from the right-hand flank just six yards out from goal.

With the League One promotion hopefuls firmly on top by the hour mark, a drilled effort from the edge of the area by the increasingly influential Gleeson zipped agonisingly wide of the bottom left-hand post.

Dons right-back Smith then proceeded to lay further siege to the home side’s goal after dragging an effort wide of Kenny’s goal following a promising mazy run.

QPR’s midfield was at times overrun by their less illustrious counterparts and Mark Hughes cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines. 

Against the run of play, Akos Buzsaky then had a spectacular free-kick from long range saved as it was forced over the bar by a fantastic fingertip save from Martin.

From the corner, though, the spirited Dons defence was finally breached, with Hoops defender Gabbidon heading home after a fine centre from Wright-Phillips.

Despite a lot of huffing and puffing from the visitors, the QPR defence never came under any real pressure after they took the lead and they were able to see out the match relatively comfortably.

Nonetheless, it was an impressive showing from the underdogs, and with more composure in front of goal, the result could have been very different.

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