QPR exited the Capital One Cup at the hands of League One side Swindon Town tonight at Loftus Road.
It was somewhat predictable that if the R’s were to lose it would be the coincidentally named Nile Ranger that would work his way onto the scoresheet.
That he did as his close range finish on 38 minutes sent Swindon on their way before Alex Pritchard condemned QPR to their first defeat of the season in the 90th minute.
Rangers made six changes to the side that beat Bolton Wanderers in the league at the weekend. Brian Murphy, Yun Suk-Young, Jermaine Jenas, Ale Faurlin and Bobby Zamora were all recalled to the starting line-up whilst there was also a first start since December 2012 for Sambia Diakite.
The R’s struggled to take hold of the opening 15 minutes of play with Swindon enjoying the better opportunities. Alex Pritchard’s free-kick for the visitors however didn't trouble Murphy in the QPR goal before Massimo Luongo’s shot from distance deflected wide for a corner.
QPR finally registered their first opportunity on 21 minutes when Jermaine Jenas struck a volley wide of Swindon keeper Wes Foderingham’s goal from just inside the D before Faurlin followed that up minutes later blasting a free-kick high over the bar after Diakite was fouled.
The match continued to struggle into life but Danny Simpson’s deep cross to the back post on 33 minutes did offer a glimmer of hope but Bobby Zamora could only volley against the stanchion from an acute angle.
However, Swindon Town took the lead eight minutes before half-time through the aptly named Ranger. Pritchard drilled a low ball into the six-yard box from the right and with the R’s defence failing to clear their lines Ranger slid in from close range to guide it in at the back post.
Shaun Wright-Phillips then nearly caught Swindon keeper Foderington out with a header from Jenas’ ball over the top as the first half came to a close.
The match restarted with Charlie Austin firing wide of his former sides post from the edge of the Town box as QPR continued to lack a real cutting edge.
That prompted Redknapp to bring on Andrew Johnson in place of Zamora whilst youngster Mo Shariff made his first team debut replacing Diakite. Immediately after the switch Danny Simpson’s cross from the right was headed wide by Austin as the R’s started to probe for an equaliser.
Shariff then brought a save out of Foderingham after a slick passing move before the 20-year-olds acrobatic efforts to keep the ball in play nearly teed-up Danny Simpson for an equaliser but his volley from 12-yards was blocked. Mo sent Wright-Phillips free but the winger lacked composure when one-on-one with the keeper before Johnson and Shariff tangled with each other on the rebound.
Rangers did finally manage to get the ball in the net via Austin’s head on 78 minutes but the ex-Robins forward was in an offside position as QPR began to sense it may not be their night.
That was confirmed when Wright-Phillips then had a penalty appeal turned down inside the final 10 minutes before Swindon struck the winner in the 90th minute.
Clint Hill gave the ball away with a misplaced pass and with Alex Pritchard picking it up he was clear through on goal - beating Murphy with a low placed finish despite the Irishman getting a hand to the ball - as Town capped off a well deserved win.