QPR verdict: FA Cup defeat summed up why Rangers need Austin

QPR were hard done by to lose 2-0 against neighbours Fulham – but they’ve only got themselves to blame.

They took the Premier League side to extra time, but two classy finishes from the Whites heralded another first-time exit.

Charlie Austin the saviour?

Rangers desperately need a forward who can find the back of the net, because none of those on view against Fulham looked remotely as if they would.

It was a toss-up whether Macauley Bonne or Lyndon Dykes was the more culpable.

The former missed a decent chance minutes into the game when surprised by a ball that reached him to head over from six yards.

QPR striker Lyndon Dykes
Dykes has scored just once from open play for QPR

His thump in the 54th minute and in the clear, was high and wide when he needed to take a touch first.

But Dykes’ wild swing that went miles wide when through one-on-one summed up R’s in front of goal. He kicked the post in frustration at his shocker. Boss Mark Warburton maybe privately wished he could kick the Scotland international.

The return of Austin, the man who did the business for Rangers in the past, is an urgent bit of business.

Charlie Kelman isn’t ready yet

The forward captured from Southend could have got himself a new fan club had he thrown himself at a great cross from Bright Osayi-Samuel in the second half. Any kind of contact, and it was QPR 1-0 ahead.

Worse still was the moment a couple of minutes later when he took his eye off the ball, literally, and allowed it to bounce away when a decent touch would have put him through on goal.

His time will hopefully come again.

The first goal became ever more crucial – and when Fulham scored it, Rangers heads hit chests.

In fact, the five second-half substitutes were all but anonymous.

A chance missed

In those final 15-plus minutes of extra time it looked as if Rangers were playing on a pitch of slowly setting concrete.

On the plus side, they took a Premier League side to extra time and more than held their own.

However, only five of the Fulham starters could really lay claim to a place against the other west London rival, Chelsea, next Friday.

Terence Kongolo was playing his first football in nearly a year, while Kenny Tete and Josh Onomah had got near a first-team pitch in nearly three months.

Fulham were there for the taking, and this is an FA Cup chance that’s gone begging.

A Rangers win would have been a big boost for confidence.

Instead, the game was poor, despite endeavour from both sides.

It had the kind of rhythm shown by your plump auntie at weddings when the disco gets going.

There were sometimes OK passages of passing, but plenty of other occasions when neither side exerted any meaningful pressure.