ROB Dickie’s first-half blockbuster set the tone for QPR, who are through to the third round of the Carabao Cup following a 2-0 victory over Oxford United at Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
In-form Dickie’s 26th-minute strike against his former employers was his fourth goal of the season, as the R’s wrapped up a comfortable passage through to round three in the end.
Ilias Chair’s deflected 40th-minute attempt made it 2-0 before half-time – which is how it stayed in W12.
R’s boss Mark Warburton named a much-changed team following Saturday’s dramatic 2-2 home Championship draw with Barnsley – with injury and fatigue alike certainly playing their part.
Jordy de Wijs missed out with an ankle problem, as did Lee Wallace (hamstring) and Lyndon Dykes (illness). Yoann Barbet, Dom Ball, Stefan Johansen and Charlie Austin were all rested, meanwhile.
There was a competitive debut for Sam McCallum, with the R’s maintaining their now usual 5-3-2 shape and lining up as: Jordan Archer, Moses Odubajo, Osman Kakay, Dickie, Jimmy Dunne, McCallum, George Thomas, Andre Dozzell, Chair, Chris Willock, Charlie Kelman.
Strong travelling support from visitors Oxford certainly helped generate a great atmosphere overall.
Rangers made a bright start, with Odubajo’s third-minute centre somehow evading everyone in the box.
At the other end, 10 minutes later, two fine blocks – from Dickie and Dunne – thwatrted an Oxford counter. The first effort on goal then arrived on 14 minutes, as Kelman’s attempt was easily collected by Simon Eastwood.
Rangers threatened once more in the 20th minute, as typical Willock trickery saw him eventually cut in to force Eastwood into a flying stop.
QPR were edging closer, with Eastwood again having to intervene to keep out Chair after he combined with Willock.
But the R’s would break the deadlock come the 26th minute – and how!
Dickie came back to haunt his old team, advancing well into the Oxford half before firing into the top left-hand corner from 25 yards.
Rangers continued to threaten after that. On the half-hour mark, Chair saw another effort deflect just wide, before Odubajo’s shot flew past the post following good football from the R’s.
A QPR second goal would arrive before half-time, though – albeit with a slice of fortune.
Chair’s 20-yard drive crashed off Leon Chambers-Parillon to wrongfoot Eastwood and nestle into the back of the net. Rangers had a commanding lead at the break.
Into the second half, and Archer fashioned his first big save for the R’s in the 53rd minute, denying Sam Winnall following a visiting break. Rangers’ Dunne also had to stand firm to keep out the U’s once more on the hour mark.
At the other end, the R’s so nearly made it 3-0 a minute later. Kelman’s fizzed low cross somehow beat both Thomas and then McCallum before trickling out of play.
Moments later, QPR introduced Stephen Duke-McKenna for McCallum.
Rangers threatened again in the 69th minute, as Willock took the ball on from Dickie before curling marginally wide.
Five minutes later, meanwhile, another outrageous Dickie attempt darted past the left-hand post.
Ody Alfa was brought on for his senior R’s debut in the 75th minute, replacing Chair. Then, after Thomas fired just wide, Joe Gubbins came on for Dickie – who quite rightly left the field to rapturous applause from both sets of supporters.
It was another pleasing night for Rob and the Rangers, who now await news of their opponents in the round three in Wednesday’s draw.