Football: Wembley never felt further away from the Hawthorns on Tuesday night, but for QPR their FA Cup dream lives on.
This was a match that epitomised what this once great trophy is all about for Premier League clubs in the early rounds — a nuisance.
Neither side really went full throttle for the win, and the difference, in the end, were two players that had something to prove and treated the game more like an FA Cup final than a third-round replay.
Robert Green was outstanding in the QPR goal and striker Jay Bothroyd shone brightly in attack for the Londoners, netting the winner with 14 minutes to go.
The former England international duo have endured torrid times since signing for the Rs, with Green's game dipping since the arrival of Brazilian stopper Julio Cesar. Bothroyd, who has been out on loan this season at Sheffield Wednesday, has shown little enthusiasm when donning the famous blue and white jersey.
After showing a great attitude for the battle against a full-strength West Brom side for 75 minutes — something which can’t be said of fellow frontman Djibril Cisse, who was taken off half-time and his days at the club now look numbered — Bothroyd scored the all-important goal with the clock ticking down.
An Alejandro Faurlin corner found the former Cardiff City frontman, who rose above his marker and found the bottom corner.
“Jay Bothroyd did well tonight,” QPR boss Harry Redknapp said. “He was written off. He’s been at Sheffield Wednesday and not done very well. They sent him back and I thought I’d give him a go tonight and see what he could do.
“He did well but then again, he played for England a couple of years ago under Fabio Capello.”
The next 15 minutes were all about Green, however. The Rangers goal sparked the hosts into life and they had four good chances to draw the game level, but Green stood strong and showed he’s still capable of performing at the very top level.
Redknapp added: “It was tough. The first half was a bit dour, not a lot happening, but Rob Green made a fantastic save in the first half. Then when he came under pressure in the second half, he made another couple of good saves after we scored.”
Last time QPR won away to top flight opposition in the FA Cup was at Middlesbrough in 1982 — they went on to make the final that year. Rs fans, whose side face Milton Keynes in the next round, will be hoping history can repeat itself.
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