THERE was penalty drama in the first round of the Carabao Cup at the Breyer Group Stadium, as Rangers responded to being pegged back late on to reach round two of the competition.
QPR completely controlled proceedings before half-time and Rob Dickie’s 16th-minute opener with his head – his second goal in as many games – was no more than the R’s deserved.
Rangers’ inability to add a second goal before half-time kept League Two Leyton Orient in the game, though, and the R’s weren’t quite as dominant in the second half.
Orient duly levelled the tie in the 74th minute, as Aaron Drinan finished past Jordan Archer to take the game to penalties.
But the Super Hoops would come good in the end, as Albert Adomah scored the decisive spot-kick during a tense finale.
Amid a demanding August in the Sky Bet Championship, R’s boss Mark Warburton made seven changes in all from the team which played out a season-opening home draw with Millwall on Saturday.
Archer and Jimmy Dunne were both handed their senior QPR debuts, while there was a first start for Andre Dozzell, too, after his appearance from the bench at the weekend.
Osman Kakay, Faysal Bettache, George Thomas and Adomah were also handed starts, with the likes of Charlie Austin, Stefan Johansen and Seny Dieng all rested.
The tie came a bit too soon for Ilias Chair, who missed out against Millwall with illness, while illness also forced Sam McCallum out of this one.
Rangers – roared on by a superb travelling army of around 2,000 supporters – looked bright early on and enjoyed plenty of the possession.
Both Ossie Kakay and Bettache fired over after the visitors worked decent openings, but it was Adomah who really should have fired us ahead, in the 12th minute.
R’s pressure resulted in Dykes slotting the winger through on goal, but Adomah could only sky over from 14 yards.
Rangers wouldn’t pass on the next big chance, though, deservedly hitting the front in the 16th minute.
Bettache’s inswinging right-flank corner was met by Dickie, whose bullet header flew past Lawrence Vigouroux in the Leyton Orient goal.
QPR had been dominant and they continued to display the intensity they had done up until the half-time break.
The R’s so nearly added a second goal just past the half-hour mark, following a fine, flowing team move.
Warburton’s charges worked the ball from back to front and, when Adomah broke down the left, his centre was acrobatically sent over the bar by Lyndon Dykes.
There were no further goals in the first period, though Orient – managed by former QPR coaching duo Kenny Jackett and Joe Gallen – did almost level with their best chance of the half five minutes from the interval.
Tom James’ low right-wing delivery was prodded only marginally past the post by Drinan – Rangers given a let-off before the referee’s whistle sounded.
The hosts also went close on the stroke of half-time, though just couldn’t put the finishing touch to a corner-kick routine that saw Omar Beckles make first contact to the ball.
Rangers made a first change at the break, with former Orient man Moses Odubajo replacing Lee Wallace at left-wing-back.
The first half was certainly an entertaining one and, when the closing period resumed, things were similarly energetic.
Chances didn’t exactly flow but it still made for an exciting spectacle.
The R’s worked the first real chance of the second half in the 59th minute. Adomah played in Kakay down the right and, when he cut back onto his left foot, the defender shot just wide of the far post.
A second visiting change arrived shortly after, with Charlie Kelman replacing Yoann Barbet.
In the 63rd minute, Orient threatened once more. James’ miscued cross from the right almost crept in at the near post, with Archer having to back-peddle before clawing the ball off the goal-line.
There was no doubting just how dominant Rangers were in the first half but, still only a goal to the good, this game hung in the balance somewhat going into the closing stanza.
In the 73rd minute, Dan Kemp’s corner for Orient was somehow touched over the bar by Dan Happe from close range.
However, just a minute later, the hosts would level matters.
Another set-play was touched on into the path of Drinan, who got the better of Archer to restore parity.
That goal gave Orient a huge lift and, going into the closing stages, the home team looked most likely to reach round two.
With little more than 10 minutes left on the clock, Archer pulled off a fine save to deny Ruel Sotirou, before Beckles rattled the crossbar during the same move.
Seven minutes from time, Dom Ball was introduced at the expense of Bettache and Rangers were able to hold out to take the tie to penalties.
Leyton Orient 0-1 QPR - Dykes scores
Leyton Orient 1-1 QPR - Drinan scores
Leyton Orient 1-2 QPR - Ball scores
Leyton Orient 1-2 QPR - Sotirou misses
Leyton Orient 1-3 QPR - Dozzell scores
Leyton Orient 2-3 QPR - James scores
Leyton Orient 2-4 QPR - Kelman scores
Leyton Orient 3-4 QPR - Kemp scores
Leyton Orient 3-5 QPR - Adomah scores