Dyer's rare and late strike sees QPR finish positive week on a high
Kieron Dyer struck his first goal since May 2007 as a largely limp tie came to life late on. West Bromwich Albion took the lead through Shane Long in the 79th minute and seemed certain to coast into the fourth round until Dyer fired a low shot into the net from 10 yards in the last minute.
Steve Clarke made just three changes from the team that faced Fulham in the Premier League in midweek and Harry Redknapp retaining seven of the players who had ambushed Chelsea on Wednesday and gave a start to new signing Tal Ben Haim and the returned loanee DJ Campbell.
Fit-again Park Ji-sung marked his first appearance in over two months by colliding with Zoltan Gera in the 20th minute, with the Hungarian suffering a foot injury that required him to be substituted.
The visitors sprang forward in the 33rd minute before Shane Long and Romelu Lukaku cut through the home defence with a sharp one-two. Júlio César parried Long’s shot from the left, then Lukaku recovered the ball and forced the keeper into another awkward save with a shot from 18 yards.César then got down sprightly to push away the Belgian’s header from a James Morrison cross.
Long and Lukaku were involved in the best move of the first half in the 39th minute before Lukaku laid the ball into the path of Morrison, whose sliding effort from six yards hurtled just wide.
QPR’s only shot in the first period was a 30-yard Stéphane Mbia drive that whizzed a yard over the bar.
Redknapp introduced Jay Bothroyd for his first appearance of the season and within three minutes they had created their first clear chance, with Park’s cross from the right giving Campbell his first significant touch – but the striker, having found space in the area, headed over from 10 yards.
The boisterous travelling fans were finally rewarded when their team edged in front in the 79th minute. It was a suitably scrappy goal, Long profiting from a slack pass by substitute Nedum Onuoha and shooting into the net from 12 yards with the aid of a deflection.
Avoiding a replay might have seemed an act of mercy for fans, and possibly both managers, QPR’s players seemed eager to finish a positive week on something of a high and Dyer ensured they did when he raced on the through ball to rifle a shot underneath Boaz Myhill.