Date:Tuesday September 9 2008
Samuel Di Carmine helped himself to a brace as Rangers reserves claimed a hard fought victory against Millwall.
The 4-3 scoreline reflected the entertainment on display as Rangers grabbed a last gasp win at the New Den, with Rangers putting out a stronger team than their previous encounter against Charlton Athletic.
Lee Camp came in for Reece Crowther in a bid to give the former England Under 21 stopper some match time as he sits behind current custodian Radek Cerny, whilst player/manager Gareth Ainsworth continued in his right back berth.
Romone Rose came in to replace Patrick Agyemang up top alongside Fiorentina loanee, Samuel Di Carmine, but perhaps the most significant news was the starting role given to Akos Buzsaky replacing Angelo Balanta.
Millwall included veteran forward Adrian Forbes, formerly of Luton Town and Blackpool, and there was also a place for former Rangers player Marcus Bignot, who started in the familiar role at right back. Former Manchester City winger Ashley Grimes also started in a youthful line-up at the New Den.
The hosts started the brighter with Rangers on the back foot, and the industrious running of former Arsenal trainee Ryan Smith was proving a problem early on. His corner gave the Lions the first chance as defender Patrick O`Connor nodded narrowly wide Lee Camp`s post.
Smith was in the thick of it once more as his clever running and pass gave Scott Barron freedom down the left, but his cross didn`t leave up to his predecessor`s play. Whilst at the other end Matteo Alberti thought he had the beating of Preston Edwards, but the England Under 19 capped stopper managed to keep out the young Italian with his legs.
But it was Millwall asking all the early questions of their London neighbours as both Ashley Grimes and Lyle Taylor brought saves from Camp, ultimately however Smith helped the Lions break the deadlock at the New Den.
Some excellent wingwork by Ryan Smith saw the once Rangers target cut inside from the flank, and comfortably beat a couple of defenders before slotting an excellent strike home from an acute angle. Smith seamed effortless in his endeavours as Millwall took a 21st minute lead.
It didn`t seem to get much better for Rangers as a string of chances followed for the Lions there seemed to be no respite for the Rangers rearguard comprising of Ainsworth, Oastler, Harris and Ilesanmi. Whilst Matteo Alberti was given a booking for an over-zealous challenge on goalscorer Smith, a punishment that could have been far worse with a different referee.
Grimes continued to threaten for the Lions, and the former Manchester City player tested Camp from distance, but the R`s custodian dealt with the effort ably, he was at odds to stop a shot from Taylor, as the midfielder placed wide from close range, another let off for the visitors.
Camp was all action and pulled off another in a string of neverending saves, Barron`s expert cross found Danny Keen, whose header seemed destined for the net, only for the R`s keeper to save at full stretch, a timely reminded to R`s first team coach Iain Dowie.
Rangers did get themselves a chance late on in the first half when young winger Romone Rose forced Edwards into a save, his tame effort however could scarcely be labelled a chance as the Lions custodian smothered the ball.
After the break Millwall didn`t have to wait long to double their advantage, when more good work from Barron down the left saw him carve out a cross for the unmarked Adrian Forbes, who fired the ball home from close range making no mistake. The R`s defence was looking severely under strength, with some naivety their undoing at the back at times.
But where the defence would fail, the attack would ultimately succeed, Joe Oastler managed to half the deficit only moments later when a corner by Akos Buzsaky was expertly dispatched by the ex-Portsmouth defender. His looping header caught out keeper Edwards and Rangers were back in the game.
In a flash almost the game was level, owing to the sheer brilliance of trainee Romone Rose. The youngster who had a spell with AFC Wimbledon last season, hit a rasping 20 yard drive to hand the keeper no chance, and put Rangers back level in an encounter they had scarcely threatened.
Rangers now had the bit between their teeth and set about their task of winning the tie. Moments later the comeback was complete, with both sides suffering defensively it was QPR who notched next in what was turning out to be a real goal-fest.
Samuel Di Carmine finally bagged a goal in a QPR shirt, and it was a goal that would do his confidence a world of good. He held off his defender in the area before hitting an excellent shot on the turn which flew in off the left hand post to turn the game on its head, handing Rangers the advantage for the first time.
The chances were flowing as much as the new found confidence of the Rangers line-up and Di Carmine found himself free once more with the goal at his mercy, he lifted the ball over the onrushing Edwards who clattered him as the last man. Strangely enough the decision was a yellow card. Edwards dusted himself off and pulled off a marvellous save from Akos Buzsaky`s penalty - not the dream return for the Magical Magyar.
Buzsaky run-out lasted 70 minutes in total after being replaced by Danny McGuire, but as this game continued to ebb and flow the goal scoring was not complete and the Lions hauled themselves back to level terms. Gary Bowes brought the arrears level as his strike from distance bamboozled Camp and nestled in the bottom corner.
Ultimately however the R`s won it with one of the final kicks of the game, it was Samuel Di Carmine who bagged the goal, capitalising on some hesitancy in the home rearguard before lashing home from close range. It proved to be the final sting in the tale in this truly entertaining display at the New Den.
Millwall: Edwards, Bignot, Barron, Keen, O'Connor, Read, Grimes (Bowes 68), Dunne, Taylor, Forbes (Tevfik 77), Smith.
Subs not used: Ebsworth, Hughes-Mason, Dingri.
QPR: Camp, Ainsworth, Illesemni, Bolder, Harris, Oastler, Alberti, Buszaky (Maguire 68), Rose, Di Carmine, Ephraim.
Subs not used: Crowther, Flood, Arthur.
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