QPR and the FA Cup third round: five memorable ties – and five to forget

QPR fans will surely be savouring the prospect of a derby clash with neighbours Fulham when the third round of the FA Cup rolls around in January.

However, Rangers’ record in the competition could generally be described as, well, frustrating, over nearly four decades that have passed since the club featured in their only final to date.

So what have been the stand-out third-round moments during that period – and which are the ones best forgotten?

We’ve picked out five from each category.

Five to remember

1987: QPR 5 Leicester 2

For once, the FA Cup arguably provided the highlight of what was a fairly mediocre season for QPR – this rout of Leicester representing their biggest-ever third-round win against league opposition at the time.

Sammy Lee drilled in a 25-yarder – which would be the ex-Liverpool midfielder’s only goal in a hooped shirt – after Terry Fenwick had scored Rangers’ first two. Robbie James, with another strike from distance, and John Byrne rounded off the victory.

1993: QPR 3 Swindon 0

Quite why this one was chosen for live TV coverage on a Monday night remains a mystery, unless it was the opportunity to showcase the creative genius of Swindon’s player-manager Glenn Hoddle.

However, Hoddle came off second best to QPR’s own veteran midfield maestro Ray Wilkins, who set up one of Les Ferdinand’s two headed goals before Gary Penrice added the third – all in the space of five minutes midway through the first half.

1996: Tranmere 0 QPR 2

Tranmere were regarded as cup specialists during the 1990s. So, with Rangers struggling in the Premier League, many expected them to be ripe for the picking when they travelled to Prenton Park.

Instead, 17-year-old midfielder Nigel Quashie underlined his growing reputation by netting his first senior goal for the club, with Trevor Sinclair also on target in a 2-0 win. It was Rangers’ first away success in the FA Cup since a win at Yeovil eight years earlier.

2012: QPR 1 MK Dons 0

By no means was this a classic, but it represented a significant landmark for QPR – their first FA Cup victory in any shape or form since scraping through in an equally unimpressive replay against Luton in 2001.

Defender Danny Gabbidon had gone almost as long as that – seven years, to be precise – without scoring a goal, but the honour of ending the miserable run fell to him when he turned in Shaun Wright-Phillips’ corner 15 minutes from time.

2020: QPR 5 Swansea 1

Was it really only 11 months ago? So much has changed in the wider world since January that it’s easy to forget the one-sided nature of QPR’s most recent third-round appearance.

Current Rangers midfielder Tom Carroll was part of the Swansea line-up utterly blown away by a Jordan Hugill double and further goals from Bright Osayi-Samuel and Lee Wallace, with Josh Scowen’s spectacular volley wrapping up proceedings.

Five to forget

1985: Doncaster 1 QPR 0

Just two months earlier, Rangers had been in Uefa Cup action, but they were on the slide and managerless by the time they travelled to Rovers’ inaccurately named Belle Vue ground in the New Year.

Doncaster midfielder David Harle registered the only goal of the game to send the Division Three side through to the next round and propel the R’s into a sequence of seven winless matches in all competitions.

1992: Southampton 2 QPR 0

On paper, this always looked a tricky assignment, even though Southampton hadn’t tasted victory in six weeks. By contrast, QPR arrived at The Dell in buoyant mood – having brushed aside title favourites Manchester United 4-1 three days earlier.

As so often, though, Rangers ensured the phrase ‘after the Lord Mayor’s Show’ was afforded an airing as a line-up unchanged from that sensational performance at Old Trafford sank without trace.

1994: Stockport 2 QPR 1

Back in the days when mid-table Premier League teams still put out their strongest side in the third round, at least one would nevertheless come a cropper against lowly opposition. On this occasion, QPR’s defeat at Edgeley Park hogged the headlines.

For neutrals, County’s achievement was magnified by the fact that the Division Two side had come from behind, giant centre-forward Kevin Francis cancelling out Simon Barker’s opener before Andy Preece grabbed the decisive goal.

2007: Luton 1 QPR 0

Luton were awful. They would have finished bottom of the Championship that year but for Leeds incurring a points deduction. Yet somehow John Gregory’s team failed to beat them in this Kenilworth Road replay.

Rangers squandered numerous chances in the first half before Stefan Bailey was red-carded for a two-footed challenge and defender Zesh Rehman managed to misdirect Dean Morgan’s misdirected shot into his own net 10 minutes from time.

2015: QPR 0 Sheffield United 3

Even with seven changes to their line-up, a QPR side including Charlie Austin, Rio Ferdinand, Leroy Fer and Matt Phillips should have been good enough to see off League One opponents at home. Shouldn’t they?

On paper, yes. On the field, however, Harry Redknapp’s team were outclassed, with Marc McNulty putting the Blades in front before Jamal Campbell-Ryce’s second-half double completed Rangers’ humiliation.

Ben Kosky is the author of a new QPR book: Are you Rangers in disguise?