RANGERS booked their place in the fourth round of this season’s Emirates FA Cup thanks to another handsome home win at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
Following our New Year’s Day demolition of Cardiff City, fellow South Wales outfit Swansea City were also put to the sword courtesy of a fine attacking display – Jordan Hugill at the double (21 and 45 minutes) and Bright Osayi-Samuel (29), Lee Wallace (76) and Josh Scowen (90+1) also on target.
Substitute George Byers struck a consolation effort for the Swans (60) with the R’s three goals to the good.
But that goal couldn’t derail Rangers’ surge into the next round of the competition – the R’s ball number two for the draw taking place on Monday evening.
Hoops boss Mark Warburton handed a senior professional debut to young defender Conor Masterson for this cup clash. The Republic of Ireland Under-21 international signed following his release from Liverpool in the summer, of course.
Rangers fielded a strong-looking XI – lining up in a 4-2-3-1 formation as: Liam Kelly; Todd Kane, Geoff Cameron, Masterson, Wallace (captain); Dom Ball, Scowen; Osayi-Samuel, Ilias Chair, Marc Pugh; Hugill.
Both teams came into this fixture on the back of league victories last time out – the R’s following that thumping 6-1 win over Cardiff City in W12, while the Swans were also successful on home soil, seeing off Charlton Athletic 1-0 on Thursday.
Swansea were much changed following that result, making 10 changes to their starting XI which included former QPR pair Jake Bidwell and Tom Carroll.
Rangers were first to go close once the tie got underway.
In the fourth minute, and following a left-wing corner, Chair’s blast from inside the box was diverted over by the head of Brandon Cooper. A minute later, meanwhile, the R’s midfielder also saw his cross-shot from an acute angle just evade the foot of the right-hand post.
At the other end, the visitors threatened for the first time on seven minutes. Kelly fashioned a flying save, tipping Kristoffer Peterson’s fierce 20-yard effort over the crossbar.
Swansea went close again in the 19th minute, as Jay Fulton lashed into the side-netting from the right-hand side of the penalty area.
It was Rangers who would open the scoring, though – Warburton’s charges hitting the front on the back of an intricate team move in the 21st minute.
Osayi-Samuel and Kane linked wonderfully well down the right and, once the latter’s hanging centre was chested down by Hugill, the striker powered the ball past Kristoffer Nordfeldt from 16 yards.
QPR so nearly doubled their lead five minutes later, as Chair’s angled drive flew marginally past the upright.
The R’s would ultimately have a second goal, however, making it 2-0 just short of the half-hour mark.
Former Rangers defender Bidwell was dispossessed on the edge of his own area by Osayi-Samuel, who subsequently kept his cool to slide the ball into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.
The home side grew in stature with every passing first-half minute and, after Osayi-Samuel’s darting low attempt forced an impressive diving stop from Nordfeldt, the R’s extended their advantage to three goals on the stroke of half-time.
Chair's right-flank free-kick was met by Hugill, who prodded the ball into the bottom left-hand corner for his 10th goal of the season in all competitions.
Rangers could have even made it 4-0 in first-half stoppage time, with the visitors thankful for Nordfeldt’s point-blank save from Chair following Osayi-Samuel’s defence-splitting pass.
With a commanding lead, the R’s again played with confidence at the beginning of the closing period.
It took until the 59th minute for the next real attempt of note, though, with Osayi-Samuel bending his shot just past the right-hand post from the edge of the box.
Just before that effort, Swansea made a treble substitution.
And it was one of those subs, Byers, who reduced the deficit to two goals on the hour mark – his distance attempt nestling into the bottom left-hand corner.
That goal gave the Swans a glimmer of hope, though they appeared to be fortunate to survive strong R’s penalty claims in the 63rd minute after Bidwell’s challenge on Osayi-Samuel in the box.
Seven minutes later, Rangers introduced Olamide Shodipo at the expense of the excellent Osayi-Samuel and twice went close soon after.
First, Shodipo himself saw his 18-yard blast well tipped over by Nordfeldt. Then, from the resultant corner kick, the visiting goalkeeper pulled off an impressive reaction save from Hugill’s close-range header.
Rangers continued to press for a fourth and, with 15 minutes to go, Pugh, Shodipo and Kane all saw separate attempts snuffed out by the Swans’ rearguard.
QPR would eventually add to their account, though, virtually putting the game to bed through an unlikely source.
Wallace registered his first Rangers goal since joining in the summer and what a hit it was, too – the left-back shooting home on the half-volley with his weaker right foot from 20 yards.
Four-one to the Super Hoops – who also gave professional debuts to academy products Deshane Dalling (79 minutes) and Joe Gubbins (90) with their cup progress all but assured.
And if Rangers' route to round four wasn't already confirmed, it was once the hosts saved their best goal until last in second-half stoppage time.
Another neat passage of play ended with Kane finding Scowen on the right-hand side of the box with a dinked ball over the top. The latter then thundered the ball into the top left-hand corner to raise the roof in W12.