A FANZINE called A Kick Up the R’s has been entertaining Queen’s Park Rangers supporters for a good few years.
Metaphorically speaking, Sheffield Wednesday had been on the receiving end of something befitting of that description following their appalling 5-0 home drubbing to Blackburn Rovers.
Thankfully, there was no such need to chastise those in Owls jerseys six days on.
After a decrepit performance which he labelled as ‘unacceptable’, Garry Monk spoke about how a few home truths were issued in a clear-the-air meeting during the week.
Although as ever when this sort of thing arises, it was deeds as opposed to words that the Owls manager was hankering for and he received the answers he would have been looking for.
It was not spectacular – and Wednesday were pushed back following the introduction of home substitute Bright Osayi-Samuel – but it was diligent, organised and doughty as the visitors were afforded the tonic of progression into the fifth round of the competition for the fourth time in the past decade.
After a decrepit performance which he labelled as ‘unacceptable’, Garry Monk spoke about how a few home truths were issued in a clear-the-air meeting in the week.Leon Wobschall
As someone who prides himself on team structure and shape and his players possessing a strong mentality, it will have been wholly satisfying from a professional perspective for Monk, whose side have largely shown a strong jaw on their travels under him.
He witnessed the Owls end a four-match losing sequence at the hands of Rangers and provide some succour ahead of a run of four games in five on the road at league level.
It took an unlikely goal hero in Morgan Fox, a player who has been a reassuring constant during the Monk era, to send Wednesday on their way with his third goal of the campaign – but it was fitting in the circumstances.
After soaking up pressure, a second goal in stoppage-time from Sam Winnall applied the sweetener in a classic Monk away-day.
Just three sides of Loftus Road were open with the Ellerslie Road Stand closed to home supporters and in truth, there was little to set the pulses racing for those in attendance in the first half.
Yet in the nick of time, there was a welcome late twist for the 3,000-strong Wednesdayite contingent, who did their best to generate any semblance of atmosphere.
Fox profited from some dozing at the back from Rangers, who switched off from Sam Hutchinson’s throw-in to allow the full-back a clear sight of goal with his low shot squirming under the body of home goalkeeper Joe Lumley, who did not cover himself in glory.
It may have been a low-key first period in which the magic of the Cup was conspicuous by its absence, yet after plumbing the depths against Blackburn, a regimented half of defensive application which limited QPR to nothing represented a clear pass-mark.
The visitors were wholly troubled with danger man Ebere Eze displaying none of the wit he showed against Leeds last weekend and Jordan Hugill, who netted both goals in the R’s 2-1 win at Hillsborough on August 31, getting no change out of an Owls rearguard which included returning captain Tom Lees and Moses Odubajo.
One moment of initative saw a snapshot from Marc Pugh fizz wide, but it was sub-standard from the hosts, who could not quibble at their interval deficit.
A drab first-half was lit up by a wonderful defence-splitting pass from Hutchinson, with Jacob Murphy’s fierce shot drawing a sharp save from Lumley at his near-post.
The only other moment of class also came from the Wednesday midfielder, whose immaculate tackle to stop the marauding Dominic Ball was timed to perfection and it was fitting that he had a hand in Wednesday’s breakthrough.
Lumley grasped a low shot from Kadeem Harris moments before the half-time whistle and the questions belonged to those in home shirts.
Harris and Murphy possessed the threat in marked contrast to Rangers’ play-makers Eze and Ilias Chair and it took the arrival of Osayi-Samuel to lift sagging home spirits.
Taking the hint, Eze saw a low shot held by Cameron Dawson, forced into his first save – and a comfortable one at that – after 66 minutes.
Some neat build-up then saw Todd Kane drag a shot wide before home supporters found their voice at last when Chair missed a sitter after probing approach play from Osayi-Samuel.
Hugill was similarly wasteful when well placed as Rangers – seeking to book a place in the fifth round for the first time since 1997 – finally began to show some quality.
A brilliant challenge from Fox soon denied Eze, who quicklyfired at Dawson, but the telling breakthrough came on the counter when Winnall was on hand to slot home Adam Reach’s neat centre.
There was still time for substitute Nahki Wells to pull one back after rounding Dawson in the third minute of stoppage time, but Wednesday were not to be denied.
QPR: Lumley; Kane, Leistner, Masterson, Manning; Ball; Pugh, Chair (Wells 73), Eze, Clarke (Osayi-Samuel 66); Hugill. Substitutes unused: Barnes, Hall, Cameron, Amos, Shodipo.
Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson; Odubajo, Lees, Borner, Fox; Murphy (Reach 72), Pelupessy, Hutchinson (Hunt 54), Harris; Rhodes (Nuhiu 76), Winnall. Substitutes unused: Wildsmith, Borukov, Iorfa, Urhoghide.
Referee: K Stroud (Hants).