QPR will face MK Dons in round four of this season’s FA Cup after Jay Bothroyd’s 76th-minute strike earned a 1-0 win over West Bromwich Albion.
Rangers’ third-round replay at The Hawthorns appeared to be heading for extra time until Bothroyd – who recently returned from a loan spell at Sheffield Wednesday – rose highest to nod home Ale Faurlin’s pinpoint corner.
MK Dons, meanwhile, will head to Loftus Road next weekend following their 2-0 home replay victory over Sheffield Wednesday tonight.
Harry Redknapp made six changes to his QPR side following Saturday’s league draw against Tottenham Hotspur.
Rob Green, Anton Ferdinand, Djibril Cisse, Tal Ben Haim, Faurlin and Bothroyd all came in to the starting line-up, with the likes of Adel Taarabt, Ryan Nelsen, Stephane Mbia and Julio Cesar all rested ahead of the weekend’s trip to West Ham United.
Albion themselves made four changes after defeat at Reading on Saturday and discontinuity in both sides told in the opening stages of the contest.
The opening quarter of an hour made for a turgid affair. Bothroyd saw a shot deflected wide for Rangers before Romelu Lukaku’s tame header was easily collected by Green.
It took until the 29th minute for the first clear-cut opportunity of the tie to surface – and it so nearly yielded a West Brom opener.
Goran Popov’s cross from the right was to a tee for Lukaku, whose headed effort was tipped wonderfully wide by Green.
Two minutes later, it was Green’s opposite number, Boaz Myhill, who was tested, diving to palm Bothroyd’s 25-yard blockbuster away for a corner.
Both sides continued to match each other for the remainder the half. The only further opportunity of note arrived on the stroke of half-time, where Green was equal to Jerome Thomas’s cross-come-shot on the angle.
Rangers made one change at the break, with Shaun Wright-Phillips brought on in place of Cisse.
But, much like the first half, the second started in pretty unspectacular fashion. Green and Myhill were mere bystanders, with the lion’s share of possession contested in midfield. Faurlin came close but his effort – following a scramble in the box – was blocked away.
Myhill’s first touch of the second period came in the 58th minute. Substitute Wright-Phillips controlled elegantly from Faurlin’s pass before his deflected shot was gobbled up by the Baggies custodian.
West Brom’s first chance of the half arrived three minutes later, with Lukaku’s low blast from distance held well by Green.
By all means, this wasn’t a classic. Both sides, up to now, lacked any real cutting edge in front of goal and extra time loomed large. Peter Odemwingie was introduced at the expense of Thomas for West Brom in the 72nd minute.
The R’s, however, had other ideas and booked their place in the fourth round of the cup 14 minutes from time.
Faurlin’s out-swinging corner from the left was met by Bothroyd, who stooped to head home via the outstretched hand of Myhill.
Albion had chances to force extra time but Green was twice on hand to pull off excellent saves from Markus Rosenberg.