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09:15 11th August 2010
By  @OfficialQPR


QPR bowed out of the Carling Cup with a 3-1 defeat against an impressive Port Vale in W12.

Justin Richards stunned the hosts by putting Vale into a first-half lead, sending the ball home into the bottom right-hand corner following Sean Rigg's exquisite lobbed through pass.

And 1-0 was soon two going into the half-time break, following Rigg's smashed effort that went in off the leg of Fitz Hall.

R's gaffer Neil Warnock looked to freshen things up at the break when he introduced Antonio German for Josh Parker, though Vale put the tie beyond the Hoops' reach on 48 minutes after Richards added his second from close range.

German did have some impact on the tie when he smashed home an effort in off the post on 62 minutes, but his goal was only a consolation for the home team.

The R's lined-up in a changed 4-4-2 formation for the visit of Micky Adams' Port Vale.

Paddy Kenny was in goal for Rangers.

Bradley Orr started at right-back in defence, with Captain Hall and Matt Connolly in the centre and Gary Borrowdale on the left.

In midfield, Hogan Ephraim and Parker were deployed on the flanks, while Shaun Derry was joined by Mikele Leigertwood in the centre of the park.

Jamie Mackie was partnered by Leon Clarke up front, who was making his first competitive start in R's colours since his move from Sheffield Wednesday in the summer.

Just under seven minutes had passed on the clock before the R's fashioned the first shot on target - and it was a chance that they should have taken.

Connolly was the architect, weaving his way past a whole host of challenges, before sliding Clarke through on goal down the right.

In acres of space, Clarke looked up from 10-yards out before lashing an effort in on target, but his shot was too close to Stuart Tomlinson, who beat the effort away before the ball was cleared up field.

Just minutes later, the Valiants raced up the other end - and only the underside of the crossbar prevented them from taking a first-half lead.

Gary Roberts played creator, sending over a sublime, in-swinging corner from the right on to the head of Anthony Griffith, who rose highest before sending in a header that rattled the bar before the ball was cleared away.

In drenched conditions more suitable to April than August, the R's continued to drive forward, and they were almost rewarded for their positive start with a goal.

Ephraim and Mackie combined beautifully on the left-hand side of the penalty area, before the latter smashed an effort just over the bar.

Moments later, the R's went even closer. A ball from deep found Mackie on the right-hand byline, and the R's forward danced his way past two players before drilling a low effort straight at the keeper.

The majority of chances were falling the way of QPR, though they were left stunned on 30 minutes when Vale took a first-half lead.

Rigg picked the ball up midway into the R's half before dinking a pass over the top of the defence to send Justin Richards clean through on goal.

Richards took the ball into his stride as he approached the target and kept his cool to tuck the ball home from 18-yards out past Kenny and into the bottom left-hand corner.

Five minutes later, and Vale silenced Loftus Road with a second goal.

Midfielder Rigg received the ball on the left-hand side of the box after patient passing play from the away team, and he looked up before sending home an effort that deflected up off Hall before nestling into the roof of the net.

The R's should have pulled one back just before half-time. Hall's lovely cross-field ball was controlled superbly by Parker out on the left, and the winger - one-on-one with Vale's Tomlinson - could only fire in an effort that the keeper tipped on to the post for a corner kick.

In an attempt to get back into the tie, Warnock decided to freshen things up by introducing German for Clarke at the half-time interval.

Though Rangers' task was made all the harder when Vale added a third with their first shot on target in the second period.

Doug Loft received the ball just outside the area, before letting fly with a low, driven effort that was too hot for Kenny to handle, and when the ball fell to Justin Richards, he made no mistake to add his second and Vale's third goal of the affair.

The R's thought they had pulled a goal backed on 56 minutes when Connolly nodded home Borrowdale's corner from the right, but referee Mr Sutton deemed that the QPR defender had unfairly out-jumped his opposite number.

Six minutes later, however, the R's finally opened their account through German.

Connolly and Mackie combined well down the right before the latter of the two slid the ball into the area for German, whose spin and shot smashed against the foot of the right-hand post before going over the line for Rangers.

QPR almost added a second on 73 minutes. Leigertwood's cross from the right eventually bounced up into the path of Mackie, who could only drag a shot wide with the goal at his mercy from 12 yards.

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