QUEENS Park Rangers will face a replay of their fourth round Emirates FA Cup against Portsmouth after the two sides played out a 1-1 draw at Fratton Park on Saturday afternoon.
Joel Lynch’s own goal in the 63rd minute was cancelled out by Nahki Well’s 75th minute effort, meaning the two sides will now square off at Loftus Road to decide the tie.
Steve McClaren made two changes to the side that took to the field last Saturday against Preston North End, with Ryan Manning and Aramide Oteh coming into the line-up.
On a cold and drizzly day in Portsmouth, the game started in a cagey manner with both sides keeping things simple in possession, mindful of what was a choppy and slippery pitch.
Rangers began to assert themselves more and more as the first half grew and had the first sight on goal through Oteh though the youngster’s tame header was easily collected by Craig MacGillivray in goal.
Soon after, Oteh won the R’s a free-kick in Portsmouth territory and Luke Freeman’s resulting free-kick found an unmarked Joel Lynch in the box but the centre back wasn’t able to get enough purchase on his header.
Pompey had their first look at goal when Brett Pitman had the ball in the back of the net five minutes before the break but the flag correctly ruled him offside.
The home side had the last chance of the half when Louis Dennis let fly from distance, forcing a backpedalling Joe Lumley to tip the ball over the crossbar, as the two sides entered the break scoreless.
Minutes after the restart, Portsmouth had their best chance of the game when the ball fell to Ronan Curtis in the box but the frontman couldn’t keep his shot down.
Portsmouth did find the opener in the 63rd minute when Lynch inadvertently turned the ball into his own after Lee Brown’s cross from the left.
The goal sparked the R’s into action and they found the equaliser twelve minutes later via Wells, the Bermudian poking home from close range after Freeman’s corner had caused havoc in the box.
Freeman had an opportunity to put his side ahead in the 80th minute after finding himself in behind the defence but the midfielder fluffed his shot wide and the chance went begging.
Despite both team pushing hard for the winner in the closing stages the deadlock couldn’t be broken and the two sides will now have to be separated in a replay at Loftus Road.
While the date of that match will be confirmed in the coming days, the R’s will now turn their attention back to the Sky Bet Championship when they hit the road to take on Wigan Athletic on Saturday.