A stunning second half hat trick from Emmanuel Ledsema guided the R’s to a 4-0 win over Carlisle, and the unfamiliar territory of the third round of the Carling Cup.
Damion Stewart’s near post header from a Ledesma corner, started proceedings, as Rangers now look forward to Saturday’s third round draw.
Iain Dowie made three changes to the team that started against Doncaster on Saturday. Samuel Di Carmine played the lone striker role in place of Dexter Blackstock (illness). Whilst there was also room for captain Martin Rowlands and defender Matt Connolly, who came in for Mikele Leigertwood and Fitz Hall respectively.
Gavin Mahon had the first effort for the R’s as early as the 4th minute, but his deflected shot deflected wide. Two minutes later the home faithful were given a taste of things to come, when a left footed Ledesma effort was well saved by visiting keeper Ben Williams.
The R’s open and expansive style of football, left the Cumbrians playing much of their attacking football on the break. Simon Hackney warmed the hands of Radek Cerny on the 20 minute mark. Shortly afterwards a Hackney centre, eventually found the head of Michael Bridges, 8 yards out, but Damion Stewart was on hand to block a certain goal.
It was Rangers who would then go on to dominate the chances for the remainder of the half. Lee Cook and Damien Delaney both saw chances come and go. Cook saw his effort deflect over the bar, whilst Delaney tested the reflexes of Ben Williams, for a second time.
There was one alarming moment just before the half time whistle, Cerny came and missed a Bridge-Wilkinson free kick, with which saw Bridges header flash just past the upright.
HT QPR 0-0 Carlisle United
The R’s started the second half the stronger, and straight from the re-start Samuel Di Carmine was put through on goal, but dragged his shot wide.
The R’s only had to wait three minutes into the second half to gain the advantage. Ledesma`s left wing corner curled delightfully onto the head of Damion Stewart who flicked home at the near post.
QPR 1-0 Carlisle United
Seven minutes later and Rangers had given themselves a cushion, a neat swivel and turn from Ledesma 10 yards out saw a crashing left footed effort go in off the post.
QPR 2-0 Carlisle United
On 63 minutes the R’s could then dream of trips to Stamford Bridge and Old Trafford, as neat link up play between Parejo and Ledesma, allowed the Argentinean, to curl a left footed shot in at the near post past a helpless Williams, in the Cumbrian goal.
QPR 3-0 Carlisle United
This was cue for a triple substitution, Gorkss came on for Delaney, Balanta replaced Di Carmine and Bolder and Mahon swapped roles.
This period of transition allowed the Cumbrians the chance to get to attack in the second half, with Radek Cerny pulling off two fine saves from substitute Jeff Smith. The first he dived full length to turn the ball around the post. The second a bending free kick which he anticipated well and was able to deal with.
This proved to be merely short rest bite for the league 1 side, and with 7 minutes remaining a neat give and go with sub Balanta allowed the Argentinean through on goal to chip Williams and claim the match ball.
QPR 4-0 Carlisle United
In the closing moments Ledesma almost hit his fourth when a dipping left footed effort from the edge of the area went fractionally over the bar.
Final Whistle QPR 4-0 Carlisle United
Rangers: Cerny, Ramage, Connolly, Stewart, Delaney (Gorkss 67), Mahon (Bolder (67), Rowlands, Parejo, Cook, Ledesma, Di Carmine (Balanta 67)
Subs not used: Camp, Alberti, Ephraim, Ainsworth
Carlisle: Williams, Livesey, Horwood, Raven, Bridge-Wilkinson, Murphy, Thirlwell, (J Smith 71) Madine, Taylor, Hackney, Bridges (G Smith 73)
Subs not used: Howarth, Graham, Carlton, Keogh, Campion
Made two decent saves, but also made a blunder just before half time. The jury is still out. 6
A solid defensive right back, although Simon Hackney on the left wing for Carlisle did him a few nervy moments. 6
Easily his best game of the season, showed little hesitation or inexperience that has scuppered him so far. 7
Any mistakes he made he recovered from in true Stew Peas fashion; and with the first goal this was an excellent nights work. 8
He was feeling under the weather and was replaced by Gorkss, never got to grips with Cleveland Taylor.5
An impressive Cooky performance and was a real handful when running at the Carlisle defence.7
In the team to do a defensive midfield job, and a defensive midfield job he did! 7
Moderately quiet night by his high standards, but laid on the third goal and got Rangers moving forwards. 7
Part of this stunning midfield that allowed Ledesma the licence to move forwards, the good thing is we will see even better Rowly performances this season. 7
See above. We are almost running out of superlatives. Sign him up! 10
Samuel Di Carmine
Didn’t get to grips with being the lone striker, but his pedigree suggests he will come good. 5
A couple of hesitant moments, I wouldn’t expect him to start at Bristol City on Saturday. 5
An assist for the fourth goal. Continues to improve. 6
Picked up where Mahon left off, maybe his Rangers career isn’t over? 6