West London clash went into extra-time after a goalless 90 minutes, before quick-fire strikes from substitutes Bobby Decordova-Reid and Neeskens Keban sealed the visitors’ passage into round four; FA Cup fourth and fifth-round draws on Monday, January 11
By PA Media
Saturday 9 January 2021 19:00, UK
Substitutes Bobby Decordova-Reid and Neeskens Kebano fired Fulham into the FA Cup fourth round at the expense of QPR.
The Premier League outfit needed extra-time to see off their west London neighbours 2-0, after Lyndon Dykes had missed a gilt-edged chance to win it for Championship Rangers.
Both these sides, struggling in their respective divisions, were looking to shake off the ring rust following an unplanned winter break.
Rangers’ last Championship fixture fell foul of Covid-19 while an outbreak at Fulham meant Scott Parker’s side had not played since Boxing Day.
Parker nevertheless named a strong side, but it was Rangers who should have taken an early lead when Macauley Bonne headed wastefully over from a corner.
Ilias Chair then forced a smart save from Fulham goalkeeper Marek Rodak.
- FA Cup results | FA Cup fixtures
- Match stats | How the teams lined up
But the Cottagers gradually took control and almost took the lead after a bit of quick thinking from Joe Bryan following a hashed clearance by Seny Dieng.
Bryan’s first-time lob from 30 yards looked to be creeping in but to the Rangers keeper’s relief the ball dropped narrowly wide.
Aleksander Mitrovic, back in the Fulham starting line-up following his breach of coronavirus restrictions on New Year’s Day, had a chance to make amends as halt-time approached.
The Serbian striker was played in by Josh Onomah and bore down on goal, only for Yoann Barbet to make a brilliant last-ditch block as he got his shot away.
Rangers remained a threat, though, and Bright Osayi-Samuel’s fierce, swirling drive brought another fine stop from Rodak.
Ivan Cavaleiro should have given Fulham the lead on the hour when he was sent through by Onomah but for some reason the winger checked his run on goal and tried to cut inside the chasing Rangers defence. Cavaleiro eventually squared the ball to Mitrovic, whose low drive was hacked off the goal-line by Barbet.
At the other end Rodak got a touch on Dominic Ball’s cross-shot with Dykes unable to apply a finish.
The same player had a wonderful opportunity to win it in normal time when a simple ball over the top sent him through – but he rushed his shot and blazed over.
In extra-time Kebano stood up a cross at the far post from where Decordova-Reid headed wide.
But Decordova-Reid came up with a 103rd-minute opener after Antonee Robinson crossed from the left, the forward playing a one-two with Mitrovic before rifling home.
Moments later the ball fell to Kebano in the area to lash home and ensure Fulham’s passage into round four.
What the managers said
Fulham boss Scott Parker: “We had to move things around a little bit in terms of the squad because that’s the position we’re in. I’m pleased overall because momentum sticks with us, it’s a win. We are unbeaten in five, with a clean sheet as well and overall there are a lot of positives.”
“(Decordova-Reid) is going to be very important. He has a knack for being in the right areas, an eye for a goal and it’s going to be important for where we are at the moment.”
QPR manager Mark Warburton: “The question before the game was ‘we are playing a strong Premier League team, where are we in comparison?’ After 90 minutes we were very close. I thought we went toe to toe, I thought it was an entertaining 0-0 draw for the neutral. But the same old story for me (is) that we’ve created four or five gilt-edged
chances and we have to take them – simple as that.”
FA Cup 2020/21 – key dates and draw
The FA Cup schedule has been confirmed, with the final scheduled at Wembley on Saturday, May 15.
There will be no replays this season to help ease fixture congestion.
The draw for both the fourth and fifth rounds will take place on Monday, January 11, ahead of the third-round tie between Stockport and West Ham.
- Fourth round: Saturday, January 23
- Fifth round: Wednesday, February 10
- Quarter-finals: Saturday, March 20
- Semi-finals: Saturday, April 17
- Final: Saturday, May 15
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