Fleetwood Town made history on Saturday afternoon after beating Championship side Queens Park Rangers at Highbury Stadium.
Goals from Toto Nsiala and Promise Omochere were enough to see the Cods through to the Fourth Round of the Emirates FA Cup for the first time in their history, even after a Sam Field opener for the visitors.
The game opened with both teams playing at high-intensity levels and Town came at QPR first. Carl Johnston played a diagonal ball to Danny Andrew, who played in Cian Hayes, and then the resulting cross into the box was turned away for a corner kick.
QPR fielded quite a strong side for this Third-Round tie, Neil Critchley possessed some good names in his line-up.
That quality wasn’t showing early on as it was the Cods with most of the chances. However, QPR’s first shot on goal came in the 11th minute as Chris Willock got on the end of a ball in by Ilias Chair, but his shot was blocked on the line by Wiredu.
Carlos Mendes Gomes had to receive some treatment in the 22nd minute but play soon resumed. There wasn’t too much going on in the game past the quarter-hour mark, both teams had settled, and chances seemed hard to come by.
That changed when QPR’s Albert Adomah had a shot saved from just outside the box, however, it wasn’t a powerful enough hit to trouble Jakub Stolarczyk in the Town goal. Not too long after that Hayes sprinted down the left and drilled another ball into the QPR box, but nothing came of that.
The deadlock was broken in the 36th minute when QPR pounced on a scramble in the box and Field was on target to net for the visitors.
Town came back though, with an instant response to going behind when Toto Nsiala calmly headed home from an Andrew corner to put the hosts back in the game. As the game entered its break, the Cods were level with QPR after that inspired finish from Nsiala.
As the second half commenced, Town came out of the traps the faster of the two sides again, as Hayes continued to cause QPR problems. He took the ball beyond a visiting defender and his shot stung the palms of Senny Dieng in the QPR goal.
Fleetwood then did have a glorious chance to take the lead, Omochere’s effort was saved by the keeper, and the ball then fell to Admiral Muskwe who missed connection with the ball. Town kept pressing and continued to make a better start to the second 45 minutes.
QPR came back at Town with some chances of their own as half an hour remained. Critchley’s side had a couple of corners in succession but failed to convert from either. In the wind and rain, the second half was an end-to-end affair which looked as if it could go either way.
Hayes’ impact on the game nearly came full circle as his shot in the 65th minute was inches wide of the goal. Midway through the second though, Town did get into themselves the lead though when a player in form, Omochere fired in a shot on the half turn from just inside the QPR box. Town’s good tempo throughout the game seemed to be paying off.
As QPR looked to get a foot back in the game, everything they tried wasn’t working. Town looked to have the game under control, especially once they took the lead in the 66th minute.
As the game came to an end, the Cods shut up shop and took the tie away from the visitors and it’ll be a first-time ticket to the Fourth Round for Fleetwood next as they defeat Championship outfit QPR.
Town XI: Stolarczyk (GK), Andrew, Wiredu, Mendes Gomes (G. Garner 60’), Vela (C), Muskwe (Morton 81’), Warrington, Omochere (Batty 81’), Hayes (Patterson 76’), Nsiala, Johnston.
Unused subs: McMullan (GK), Devlin, Lane, Holgate, Baggley.
QPR XI: Dieng (GK), Kakay (Paal 81’) Dunne, Dickie, Willock (Richards 67’), Dykes, Chair, Field (C), Hamalainen (Laird 81’), Dozzell (Armstrong 81’), Adomah (Roberts 67’).
Unused subs: Archer (GK), Mahoney, Masterson, Iroegbunam.