Rangers dumped out by Dale

QPR 0 Rochdale 2

QPR yet again made an early exit from the League Cup, this time at the hands of Rochdale, who are in the third round for the first time since 1962.

Rangers have now failed to reach that stage of the competition in six of the last eight seasons, and the writing was on the wall once John-Louis Akpa Akpro put the League One side ahead after only four minutes.

Gary Jones’ late strike sealed a great win for Dale, who defended resolutely and were always dangerous on the counter attack.

Neil Warnock is no fan of the tournament and the R’s boss will not have to worry about it for another year after his team fell meekly at the first hurdle for the second successive season.

He made a number of changes and they included a full debut for teenage winger Bruno Andrade as well as starting places for outcasts Martin Rowlands and Lee Cook.

There were also QPR debuts for summer signings Bruno Perone and Brian Murphy.

And goalkeeper Murphy quickly found himself picking the ball out of the net.

The Irishman produced a fine save to deny Ashley Grimes but the loose ball ran straight to Akpa Akpro, who had the simple task of scoring from close range.

Rangers received another setback when Bradley Orr limped off on the half-hour mark, paving the way for right-back Michael Harriman to come on for his first senior appearance.

Dan Shittu had a header cleared off the line, while Andrade and Matt Connolly had efforts saved by Dale keeper David Lucas as Warnock’s men tried in vain to find an equaliser before half-time.

Jay Bothroyd did find the net with a header seven minutes after the restart, but an offside flag denied him his first QPR goal.

With Rangers having plenty of possession but failing to seriously trouble the Rochdale defence, Warnock sent on Troy Hewitt for his debut – six months after the striker’s move from Harrow Borough.

Hewitt and Shaun Derry replaced Cook and Rowlands, but any prospect of a fightback was crushed by Jones’ excellent finish nine minutes from time.

Jones latched onto Nicky Adams’ pass and superbly chipped Murphy from the edge of the penalty area.

Akpa Akpro should then have made it three, but spared Rangers even more embarrassment when he dragged his shot wide of the target.