West Bromwich Albion 0-1 Queens Park Rangers
The FA Cup with Budweiser
Third Round Proper replay
8pm, Tuesday 15 January 2013
Winning clubs will receive £67,500 from The FA prize fund
Click here for the Fourth Round draw
by Peter Glynn
Jay Bothroyd’s second-half header ensured QPR’s place in The FA Cup with Budweiser Fourth Round at the expense of West Bromwich Albion.
The Hoops’ frontman nodded Alejandro Faurlin’s corner beyond West Brom 'keeper Boaz Myhill to set up a home tie with MK Dons at the next stage.
Myhill will rue his inability to repel the effort after Bothroyd’s header slipped out of his grasp. But there were no slip-ups at the other end; Harry Redknapp’s side’s progression owed much to a virtuoso display from goalkeeper Robert Green.
Green proved his value with a number of telling stops on a frustrating evening for the hosts and Albion boss Steve Clarke will be frustrated at his side’s inability to find a way past the QPR stopper. Green repeatedly thwarted Albion during a second period which was almost exclusively one-way in direction.
The 32-year-old made a telling contribution with his first save of the evening and it set the tone for what was to come.
Thirty minutes of a drab opening period had elapsed before Green was first called into action. And it was the robust attacking presence of Albion’s Romelu Lukaku that was required to shake the tie from mediocrity.
The Belgian youngster on loan from Chelsea met Goran Popov’s left-wing cross with characteristic power, directing his downward header low to Green’s left. Rangers’ stopper reacted with an acrobatic low save. It was the first of many to follow.
Given the numerous personnel changes adopted by both sides it was perhaps unsurprising that rhythm didn’t naturally decorate the encounter at the outset.
Redknapp may point to the Londoners’ precarious league position as justification for the disruption to his team selection. However, for those afforded a starting place there was opportunity for audition. Green was one of the few who grabbed a starring role.
It had taken Lukaku’s opening effort to prompt QPR’s own attacking department into action. Their first sign of intent came through Bothroyd after the forward cut in from his posting on the right to flash a drive at Myhill.
At the break Redknapp was clearly unimpressed. Change followed with forward Djibril Cisse withdrawn for Shaun Wright-Phillips. The change saw Bothroyd adopt a central attacking role with Wright-Phillips deployed on Rangers’ left.
And the opening scenes of the second period did suggest reinvigoration. However, it came from the hosts. Gareth McAuley’s looping header from James Morrison’s free-kick landing inches over Green’s crossbar.
Lukaku continued to provide Albion with their most productive threat. There may still be rawness about the youngster, but he is certainly not one to fade away from a challenge and at times the forward single-handedly dragged the contest away from drabness.
With the tie still evenly balanced the former Anderlecht star demonstrated his potent mix of pace, power and technique. With an hour played the 19-year-old picked the ball up on Albion’s right, eluded a number of challenges before forcing Green to repel his low drive.
The home side poured forward in the final quarter. Yet in Green, West Brom’s attack found an unyielding presence. Of his collection of significant stops the QPR stopper will recall second-half saves from Markus Rosenberg, Popov and a tip-over from Graham Dorrans with two minutes remaining.
Cup progression can bring light relief from the endless demand of the league campaign and Redknapp will hope the winning theme continues on all fronts.
And in form like this, Green may have more than a supporting role to play.
Attendance 11, 184