Portsmouth 1-1 QPR: League One promotion chasers earn replay after Nahki Wells prevents FA Cup upset
- The League One outfit kept Steve McClaren’s side out in the first half of cup clash
- An own goal from Joel Lynch broke the deadlock for the hosts in the 63rd minute
- QPR forward Nahki Wells equalised for the visitors 11 minutes after going behind
Anyone else would perhaps have been frustrated at having added another fixture to a growing list, but not Kenny Jackett.
The Portsmouth boss had watched his side take the lead through a Joel Lynch own goal only for QPR’s Nahki Wells to scramble the ball in from six yards to level the tie.
The replay between the two sides means Portsmouth will now play five games over the next two weeks. A drain on the players who are battling for the League One title and are in the last four of the Checkatrade Trophy.
QPR forward Nahki Wells equalises for the visitors 11 minutes after going behind in the game
Wells celebrates after scoring QPR’s first goal of the game to prevent an FA Cup upset
Portsmouth take the lead through a Joel Lynch own goal from a Lee Brown (c) cross
Brown (centre) is congratulated by his Portsmouth team-mates after he helped created goal
Portsmouth (4-2-3-1): MacGillivray 6; Walkes 6.5, Whatmough 7.5, Clarke 7, Brown 7; Donohue 7 (Close 80), Naylor 7; Dennis 7, Evans 6.5, Curtis 6.5; Pitman 7
Subs not used: Bass, Burgess, Morris, Maloney, May, Haunstrup
Goals: Lynch OG 63
Booked: Whatmough, Curtis, Brown
QPR (4-4-1-1): Lumley 6; Furlong 6, Leistner 6, Lynch 6.5, Bidwell 6; Wszolek 6.5 (Smith 71, 6.5), Scowen 7, Manning 6, Freeman 7; Oteh 6.5 (Osayi-Samuel 64, 6); Wells 7 (Chair 90+1)
Subs not used: Ingram, Hall, Cousins, Kakay
Goal: Wells 74
Booked: Manning, Lynch
Referee: Gavin Ward 6
But for Jackett, who reached the FA Cup final in 1984 with Watford, he wants his players to enjoy the ride.
‘They should enjoy it,’ said Jackett. ‘It’s a big challenge and if you think you’re tired you will be and we have to do our best to compete on all fronts. As a club you don’t want to lose in any competition at all and that shows.’
Neither Jackett or QPR boss Steve McClaren wanted anything other than a win before this pulsating afternoon at Fratton Park Jackett made three changes, with McClaren opting for two.
But then we shouldn’t have expected anything different from Jackett or McClaren, who himself reached an FA Cup final with Manchester United as a coach before leading Middlesbrough to two semi-finals.
It took until the second half for this to liven up but when it did it exploded into life. At 30, Brett Pitman showed he can still outsmart defenders. The Portsmouth striker got beyond defenders Toni Leistner and Lynch after Louis Dennis’ clever chip but steered his shot wide.
A fight breaks out between both teams after a bad challenge in the second half of the clash
QPR goalkeeper Joe Lumley tips a shot from Portsmouth’s Louis Dennis over the crossbar
Dennis joined from Bromley last summer and has an air of uncertainty about him. It was that unpredictability that nearly saw him score his first competitive goal for Portsmouth when his volley forced Joe Lumley to scramble backwards but the QPR goalkeeper was able to tip over.
They had coped with so much pressure in the first half from efforts by Aramide Oteh and Luke Freeman’s fine play on the left. And when Lynch missed a glorious chance from Freeman’s free-kick, the majority of the 19,378 perhaps sensed they might nick one but they would have to be sharper and take more risks.
Jackett’s side changed their approach in the second half, moving the ball quickly and wide. It was out on the left from where they took the lead. Lynch went to clear Lee Brown’s cross into the QPR box but instead directed the ball past goalkeeper Joe Lumley.
A big moment but QPR’s dominance in possession eventually showed with Wells equalising after Freeman’s corner wasn’t cleared. It was an emphatic finish from Wells, his seventh goal of the season.
QPR’s Aramide Oteh runs with the ball at the Portsmouth defence at Fratton Park on Saturday
Portsmouth’s Matthew Clarke (right) climbs high over QPRs’ Lynch and heads away the ball
The pace picked up, both sets of supporters raised the volume and the tackles became harder. Ronan Curtis went in strong on Josh Scowen.
McClaren was raging as were his players, who gathered for a brawl with their opposite numbers just a few steps from the dugouts. Referee Gavin Ward eventually regained control.
And how Portsmouth wish they could have said the same. Whatmough and Clarke had gone from being organised to struggling to monitor Freeman’s runs forward.
Neither tracked him as he got through one-on-one with MacGillivray but his finish was wide and hopeless.
QPR’s Josh Scowen battles with Portsmouth’s Dion Donohue during the fourth-round clash
Portsmouth boss Kenny Jackett now faces a trip to the capital with his side for the replay
McClaren had expected a battle and knows his side need to be more savvy to win the replay.
‘It was a proper blood and thunder FA Cup tie – and we knew it would be,’ said McClaren. ‘The players showed great spirit and battled really well. It was never an easy game, the atmosphere was fantastic from both sets of supporters. We showed character and fight.
‘You have to give the Cup respect with the team selection, and also Portsmouth. We know the replay won’t be an easy game for us either.’