Ciaran McLoughlin is a Multimedia Sports Journalism student at UCFB Wembley. His aspiration is to work in the football industry and so this opportunity to write for The FA's websites was too good to turn down. Ciaran is part of the Young Reporters' Club.
Queens Park Rangers sealed their place in the Emirates FA Cup fifth round, after two late goals edged out Portsmouth in their Loftus Road replay.
It took 70 minutes for Rangers to break down a stubborn Pompey defence, when a bundled-in effort from Nahki Wells broke the deadlock.
From there, confidence grew and the result was assured five minutes later when Matt Smith scored to ensure the Rs would progress to the next round.
Just over a week since they played out a thrilling 1-1 draw at Fratton Park, the teams met again on the back of some poor results in their respective leagues knowing a result here would take them in the last 16 of the competition.
- The Emirates FA Cup
- Fourth Round replay
- Tuesday 5 February 2019
- Loftus Road, QPR FC
- Winners receive £180,000 from prize fund
And there was an electric atmosphere from all areas of the ground under the lights, as over 13,000 fans filled Loftus Road including just under 3000 away fans.
QPR arguably started the stronger of the two sides, holding a high line and pressing the Portsmouth defence quite far back. They could’ve found themselves in front after just five minutes too, if only Smith had directed his header with more conviction.
The hosts had a few half chances as the half went on, including one from Luke Freeman, which just skied over the left corner of the bar.
Even with a lack of chances, Portsmouth began to grow in confidence and the 2008 winners were still very much in the game. Where the first goal would come from was very much anyone’s guess.
With half time only ten minutes away, it would be the perfect time to score a goal, something QPR defender Darnell Furlong nearly did.
A perfectly weighted corner was whipped into the area by Freeman, only for Furlong’s powerful header to strike the crossbar.
After the break, a free-kick from 25 yards out was greeted by a loud chorus of ‘COME ON YOU Rs’ as the home fans urged a goal, but a fantastic ball by Freeman was just floated wide by Massimo Luongo.
The noise in the ground continued to grow, as Wells broke into the Portsmouth box only for Matthew Clarke to make a superb last-ditch challenge to deny him before Freeman hit an effort from distance over the bar, as the game began to open up.
When they did manage to break, Pompey looked dangerous on the right thanks to the skill and pace of Jamal Lowe, but they were still struggling to find an opening.
And it was the Hoops who would break the deadlock as a scramble in the box was somehow bundled in by Wells, almost a carbon copy from the last time these sides met.
Five minutes later, it was even better for the Londoners, as Smith made it 2-0 with a powerful header from a Freeman free-kick, taken from a similar position from a few minutes earlier.
Portsmouth couldn’t find a way back after that and so it is Steve McClaren's QPR who head into the fifth round, with a home tie against Watford awaiting them.