By Jack Morris
Browse all A Kick Up The R's - Dave Thomas articles
Rangers booked their place in the next round of the Carling Cup, with a hard-fought yet fully deserved win over a spirited Swindon Town.
Goals from Angelo Balanta, Blackstock and Delaney saw Iain Dowie's men advance to round two at the expense of the League One outfit.
To their credit though, Maurice Malpas' side competed valiantly throughout and had led 2-1 at one stage, thanks to goals from Simon Cox and Billy Paynter.
But Rangers were good value for their victory, with the outstanding Emmanuel Ledesma and fellow midfielder Daniel Parejo inspirational throughout.
Dowie rang the changes following the comeback win over Barnsley at the weekend, as Matthew Connolly, Damion Stewart and Angelo Balanta returned to the starting XI, whilst Real Madrid loanee Parejo swapped the bench for a start at the expense of Gavin Mahon.
Stewart joined Kaspars Gorkss in the heart of defence, with Connolly coming in for Peter Ramage, who dropped to the bench.
In attack, Balanta joined Dexter Blackstock, with Patrick Agyemang making way.
Swindon included the experienced Lilian Nalis in their midfield; the Frenchman signing recently after his release from Plymouth Argyle.
A cagey start from both teams was almost brought to life by Gorkss's header back across goal, which narrowly evaded everyone in the Swindon box.
Livewire Ledesma saw his shot deflected off Yinka Casal and from the resultant corner, Blackstock shot straight at Peter Brezovan.
Rangers were asserting their influence, but it was Sean Morrison who almost caught the R's out at the other end, with a free header which flew narrowly wide.
Despite a series of corners, the R's just could not find a way through.
Remarkably, it was Swindon who almost opened the scoring on the quarter hour, when Lee Camp was forced to dive at full stretch to tip Paynter's dipping volley wide.
Smooth build up play from Daniel Parejo and then Ledesma released Connolly down the right moments later, but his cross-come-shot was well saved.
Blackstock went close again as the ever improving Ledesma played him in, but after a neat turn, his shot was again saved well by the inspired Brezovan.
Ledesma and Blackstock combined again a minute later, with the latter sending a looping header just over the Robins' bar.
A foul on Balanta gave Parejo a chance to exhibit his free-kick prowess and he did not fail to disappoint, forcing yet another good save from the overworked Swindon stopper.
Mikele Leigertwood got in on the act with a long range shot soon after, before Ledesma fired wide again from range.
Blackstock missed a glaring chance 15 minutes before the break, as he pounced on a loose ball, only to misplace his pass, with Balanta and Lee Cook unmarked in the penalty area.
The R's were knocking on the door and their reward arrived in the 33rd minute, when Parejo's corner was helped on by skipper Damien Delaney at the near post and Balanta tapped home from two-yards.
Swindon heads did not drop though, as they equalised moments later, when a hopeful cross fell to Cox, who swivelled expertly before firing past Camp.
Ledesma then had two chances to recapture the visitors' lead, with a low shot that shaved the post, and then from a one-on-one opportunity which saw Brezovan come out on top.
The Hoops were finding the home keeper in imperious form as they continued to dominate.
Rangers should've been out of sight at half-time, but minutes after Ledesma nodded wide, Anthony McNamee's sublime cross found Paynter, who headed home expertly from eight yards.
Parejo smashed a free-kick against the post on the stroke of half-time, but Rangers - to the amazement of the 2,000-plus R's fans - trailed at the break.
The travelling faithful did not have to wait too long to see the R's equalise though, as Blackstock nodded home Cook's delightful centre inside the opening 60 seconds of the second period, to put Dowie's men on level terms
Rangers were rampant and Leigertwood nearly made it 3-2 a minute later, with a right footed drive that faded away from goal, after Ledesma's neat knockdown.
The Argentine played provider again seven minutes later, as captain for the night Delaney fired home from ten yards with a cool finish after Ledesma's corner was only half cleared.
Balanta then tested Brezovan with a rasping 20-yard shot after excellent control from a long chipped pass from Gorkss.
With 20 minutes left, Blackstock made way for young Italian Samuel Di Carmine, making his debut following a one-match suspension.
As the clocked ticked down, Rangers continued to pose a greater attacking threat, with Parejo's enticing corner kick hacked off his own line by Robins left back Jack Smith.
Five minutes of added time failed to produce any further chances of note, as Rangers ran down the clock to seal their place in the hat for round two.
Swindon Town: Brezova, Smith, Timlin (Easton 74), A
ljofree, McGovern (Peacock 84), McNamee, Casal, Nalis, Paynter, Morrison, Cox.
Subs: Smith, Joyce, Kennedy, Allen, Amankwaah.
Goals: Cox 34, Paynter 42
QPR: Camp, Delaney, Stewart, Leigertwood, Parejo, Blackstock (Di Carmine 69), Gorkss, Connolly, Cook, Balanta, Ledesma (Alberti 78).
Subs: Cerny, Agyemang, Bolder, Ramage, Ainsworth.
Goals: Balanta 33, Blackstock 46, Delaney 53
Bookings: Connolly 31, Ledesma 58, Balanta 90
Referee: Mr R J Beeby
Attendance: 7, 230
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