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QPR 1-1 Rotherham: FLW report as hosts progress after marathon penalty shoot-out



QPR won a marathon penalty shoot-out in west London to beat Rotherham United and progress to the fourth round of the FA Cup.

Michael Ihiekwe put the visitors ahead in the first half of extra time and the R’s left it late to deliver their response, with Lyndon Dykes’ 115th-minute header ensuring that the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium played host to a third penalty shoot-out of the season.

Jordan Archer, who looks set for a key role with Seny Dieng at the Africa Cup of Nations, proved the hero as he saved two Rotherham penalties to ensure the Mark Warburton’s side reached the next round of the competition.

Nine goals were scored in the two Championship games between the pair last season but despite both managers naming fairly strong sides, supporters were forced to wait 98 minutes for the deadlock to be broken.

With rumours swirling about a January exit and Ilias Chair at the Africa Cup of Nations with Morocco, George Thomas will have been keen to make the most of his chance to impress and was very nearly on the scoresheet in the 21st minute.

Lee Wallace burst down the left and drilled a ball across the six-yard box but Rotherham keeper Josh Vickers got enough on it to divert the ball between the arriving Thomas’ legs.

As we moved past the half-hour mark, Thomas began to exert more influence on the game. With Chair absent and Chris Willock rested, Warburton will have wanted the 24-year-old to show he can shoulder much of the creative responsibility and he was doing just that as the half wore on.

The attacking midfielder was the source of a string of half-chances that helped the R’s crank up the pressure, though both keepers were called into action to ensure scores were level at the break.

In the 39th minute, Rarmani Edmonds-Green fed Wes Harding on the right and his low cross pinballed around before floating goalward but Jordan Archer was able to scramble across his line and gratefully gather it.

Three minutes later, Charlie Austin’s volley direct from a corner stung the hands of Vickers, who will have been relieved to see a Rotherham defender clear the rebound.

As they had in the first half, Warburton’s side continued to look most dangerous when they moved the ball quickly from defence into attack after the break but that bit of quality in the final third continued to elude them, with Gray spurning the best chance of the match after 65 minutes.

Moments after replacing Charlie Austin, Dykes shrugged off Richard Wood on the right and delivered a testing cross that Vickers could only tip into the path of the R’s number 19 but he put his half volley over the top.

As we entered the final 10 minutes of the 90, it was Rotherham that were looking the more likely to score with headed interventions from Yoann Barbet and Albert Adomah denying them.

Almost in direct contrast to what had proceeded it, the final five minutes of the 90 were packed full of drama.

Substitute Hakeem Odoffin may have thought he’d won the game when he unleashed a rocket from outside the box but Archer was equal to it.

Vickers proved his worth up the other end moments later by denying Dykes from close range before Moses Odubajo went down in the Rotherham box but saw his appeal for a penalty waved away.

With no replays in the third or fourth round of the FA Cup this season, a goalless first 90 minutes meant we moved into extra time and Josh Kayode should’ve broken the deadlock a minute in but was unable to get any contact to divert a dangerous cross into the net.

His blushes were spared by Ihiekwe seven minutes later, however, as the defender collected a floated cross-field ball and made the most of his space in the box by sliding a composed finish in off the post.

The R’s response was a sluggish one but as time ran down they found some momentum and in the 115th minute, Dykes equalised with a header off the bar.

That was far from the end of the drama, though, as the referee was given a decision to make very late on when a Chiedozie Ogbene went down in the hosts’ box but Dean Whitestone said no penalty, which looked the right decision.

Warburton’s side have already been in two shoot-outs this season that experience proved vital as they came out on top after 18 spot-kicks, with Archer the hero for the R’s.


London-based sports journalist at Snack Media EFL accredited, graduate of New Associates and the University of Brighton

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: QPR 1-1 Rotherham: FLW report as hosts progress after marathon penalty shoot-out

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