OL­LIE: THAT XI AP­PEAR FOR

In-form Rovers ad­vance in Cup

The Football League Paper - - FA CUP THIRD ROUND - By Chris Mar­shall-Bell

QPR man­ager Ian Hol­loway vowed never to pick the same 11 play­ers again as his side fell to an FA Cup de­feat to fel­low Cham­pi­onship strug­glers Black­burn Rovers.

A goal in each half, the first an own goal and the sec­ond from Liam Feeney, put Rovers two goals ahead and de­spite Jake Bid­well’s penalty just af­ter the hour mark, the R’s failed to mount a come­back.

And Hol­loway was livid af­ter the match: “In train­ing on Fri­day we looked re­ally good. But I didn’t like that per­for­mance.

“I thought the first half was a whim­per. I’m ab­so­lutely gut­ted.

“We’ve gone right back down the lad­der. That team, who have never played to­gether be­fore, will never be picked again. Sim­ple as.”

The vis­i­tors took the lead in the eighth minute when Bid­well played a di­ag­o­nal lofted pass to right-back James Perch that was in­ter­cepted by El­liott Ben­nett, who duly drove in on goal.

He squared the ball to Sam Gal­lagher whose header was par­ried away by Matt In­gram, but the ball re­bounded off the back of Rangers de­fender Joel Lynch and into the net.

A drab first-half – Lynch’s fierce 40-yard shot that went wide was the best QPR chance – gave way to a com­par­a­tively lively sec­ond.

Jamie Mackie tricked his way into the box af­ter just 70 sec­onds of the restart but his shot was blocked.

On 58 min­utes, Black­burn dou­bled their ad­van­tage. From a quick counter-at­tack, Gal­lagher surged for­wards and af­ter his shot was de­nied by In­gram, Feeney was wait­ing to tap home his first goal of the sea­son.

Three min­utes later, Olamide Shodipo was bun­dled over in the box by Hope Ak­pan to give Rangers a route back into the tie – with Bid­well con­fi­dently con­vert­ing.

But the Lon­don club failed to kick on, Yeni Ng­bakoto’s glanc­ing header and sub Jor­dan Cousins’ mis­cued shot from eight yards the clos­est they came as Rovers’ out­stand­ing de­fen­sive pair­ing of Char­lie Mulgrew and Gor­don Greer nul­li­fied Rangers’ at­tacks.

Hol­loway added: “We just played back­wards and side­ways be­cause up front we didn’t have the right blend. “The peo­ple at the back had the ball too many times be­cause the ones in mid­field didn’t play it for­ward and the ones up front didn’t move to get it. “Every­thing I do is to play through lines and ex­cite the crowd with front peo­ple’s move­ment. But the move­ment wasn’t there.” Vic­to­ri­ous man­ager Owen Coyle was thrilled to be in the STAR MAN CHAR­LIE MULGREW

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