QPR marched into the second round of the Capital One Cup with a convincing 3-0 win over Yeovil Town tonight.
First-half goals from Seb Polter and Jay Emmanuel-Thomas and a second-half strike from Nedum Onuoha sealed a comfortable victory for Chris Ramsey’s side against their League Two opponents.
The R’s have been known to find these ties difficult over the years, but this evening they fully-deserved their win, producing an impressive display which will have pleased Chris Ramsey.
After controlling possession in the early stages, Polter gave the visitors the lead on 15 minutes after dispossessing Stephen Arthurworrey before slotting home, while Emmanuel-Thomas netted at the far post in the 19th minute following a great delivery across the box by Cole Kpekawa.
Skipper Nedum Onuoha – on his 100th appearance for the R’s – completed the scoring on 56 minutes with a powerful drive in the Yeovil box.
In truth, Rangers could have had more on an entertaining night which saw Ramsey make seven changes from the side that lost at Charlton on Saturday.
Grant Hall, Kpekawa, Ben Gladwin, Michael Doughty, Oscar Gobern, Emmanuel-Thomas and Polter replaced Clint Hill, Paul Konchesky, Massimo Luongo, Karl Henry, Jamie Mackie, Tjaronn Chery and Charlie Austin.
The R’s Head Coach made the changes mindful of the fact the team have seven fixtures in the opening month of the campaign.
So the R’s lined up with Rob Green in goal and a back four consisting of – from left to right – Kpekawa, Onuoha, Hall and James Perch.
Doughty and Gobern took up the holding roles in the centre of the park with Matt Phillips on the left and Emmanuel-Thomas on the right. Gladwin played just behind Polter in attack.
The Glovers have made an incredible 17 signings during a summer of change following their relegation into League Two, and went into the game keen to overcome the disappointment of Saturday’s opening-day defeat against local rivals Exeter. Having come back from 2-0 down to level 2-2, they succumbed to an 84th minute Will Hoskins winner at St James’ Park.
Meanwhile, the R’s had their own reasons for searching out a victory. Not only were they keen to avenge the weekend loss at The Valley, they also have an unenviable cup record – only once in the last 20 years have they progressed beyond the third round of this competition.
In front of more than 1,000 travelling R’s supporters in Somerset, the hosts played five across the back, looking to contain a QPR side who enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the opening stages.
But on 12 minutes it was Yeovil who had the first sight of goal, Ifeanyi Allen seeing his long-range effort from the left fly over Green’s goal.
Three minutes later, however, Polter opened his account for QPR to put the visitors in front. Yeovil centre-back Stephen Arthurworrey seemed to be in control of the ball deep in his own half but, under pressure from the German striker, he conceded possession and the Rangers forward muscled the defender out of the way, stayed on his feet in the box and dispatched beyond the out-rushing Artur Krysiak in the Yeovil goal.
It was a goal all of Polter’s own making, hassling the defender into an error, and the R’s fans behind Green’s goal at the opposite end of the pitch were soon singing his praises.
And Rangers doubled their lead just four minutes later. Kpekawa, who started the game strongly, broke clear down the left and fired a vicious ball across the face of goal before Emmanuel-Thomas slammed home at the far post.
It was no less than Ramsey’s side deserved after bossing the early exchanges.
Given QPR’s poor record in such competitions, it felt like unchartered territory for QPR to be enjoying such a strong start to a cup game, but Ramsey’s side looked completely at home, enjoying possession and showing plenty of creativity in attack.
Polter was a constant menace to the three centre-backs of Arthurworrey, Jakub Sokolik and Alex Lacey, while Emmanuel-Thomas was always on hand to pick up the pieces of his team-mate’s endeavour.
On 38 minutes, Onuoha flashed a header wide following Phillips’ corner from the right, and will have been disappointed he didn’t make more of the opportunity having done well to find space in the Yeovil area.
And just before half-time, Polter almost had his second of the night. Phillips’ corner again caused problems for the home defence, and Polter powered a header goalwards, but it was brilliantly cleared off the line by the alert Marc Laird.
Meanwhile, Gobern flashed a shot just over from 20 yards while Emmanuel-Thomas also went close as Rangers finished the half in complete control.
At the break, the Glovers made two changes, bringing on Wesley Fogden and Mark Beck for Shaun Jeffers and Allen, while Ramsey stuck with the XI who played so well in the opening half.
Paul Sturrock’s men began the second half well, but Hall and Onuoha were handling the aerial threat impressively, while Green pulled off an excellent save to deny Harry Cornick.
From the resulting corner, Arthurworrey saw his header from a tight angle bounce off the top of the crossbar TWICE before going behind for a goal-kick, as the R’s were forced to weather an early Glovers storm.
But it was at the other end of the pitch where the next goal came – and from an unlikely source, with Onuoha marking his 100th appearance with only his third goal for the R’s.
Phillips’ corner from the right on 56 minutes had caused more problems in the Glovers area and, following a goalmouth scramble, the Rangers captain smashed the ball into the roof of the net from 12 yards beyond Krysiak.
With his side now comfortably in control, Ramsey withdrew the creative Gladwin – who missed the opener against Charlton through injury – and replaced him with the combative and experienced Karl Henry.
On 66 minutes, Doughty – who looked very composed throughout in the centre of the park – drove a low shot wide as QPR looked to increase their lead further on what proved to be a comfortable night’s work.
With one eye on this weekend’s Championship fixture against Cardiff City, Phillips was also replaced after 70 minutes, with young striker Tyler Blackwood coming on for the closing stages.
The R’s went close on a number of occasions to increasing their lead further, with Gobern firing just wide and Emmanuel-Thomas forcing a fine save out of Krysiak from distance.
Junior Hoilett came on for Gobern late on, and he nearly got in on the act, fizzing a shot just over the crossbar from 25 yards as the Yeovil defence retreated.
QPR showed great professionalism to close the game out, while Yeovil certainly deserve credit for the part they played in a thoroughly entertaining encounter.
The R’s can now look forward to Thursday’s draw to see who they face in round two.