Mark Hughes registered the first win of his reign at Queens Park Rangers on Tuesday, as the Premier League strugglers ended their 11-year FA Cup jinx to beat Milton Keynes Dons 1-0.
A powerful Danny Gabbidon header settled a scrappy game at Loftus Road, with QPR now advancing to a dream tie against west London neighbors Chelsea in the fourth round later this month.
However, Rangers, who had forced a replay with a late equalizer in the first meeting between the clubs, were made to work all the way for a win which exposed the scale of the task facing new manager Hughes.
Gabbidon’s winner came against the run of play on 73 minutes, the Welsh defender rising to meet Shaun Wright-Phillips’ corner with a firm header, which flew past Dons ’keeper David Martin.
It was the first time QPR have reached the FA Cup fourth round since 2001 and only the club’s second home win of the 2011-2012 campaign.
“I think there was a lack of sharpness as a consequence of playing Sunday and Tuesday — we looked a bit leggy at times, but we stuck at it and in the end we got our noses in front and were able to close it out,” Hughes said.
“But we know we can play a lot better than that. I’ve seen things in the two games that have pleased me. But there are areas where we need to improve, and improve quickly,” he added.
Elsewhere, relegation-threatened Premier League side Bolton Wanderers had little difficulty in dispatching League Two outfit Macclesfield Town, from the fourth tier of English soccer, with a 2-0 win at the Reebok Stadium.
Kevin Davies put Bolton 1-0 up with a goal in the first minute, before Martin Petrov extended Bolton’s lead on 26 minutes. Bolton will now play Swansea City in the fourth round.
Leicester had a comfortable 4-0 victory over fellow Championship side Nottingham Forest, Jermaine Beckford netting a hat-trick as the Foxes advanced to a fourth-round meeting with Swindon Town.
Leicester were set on the path to victory after an own-goal from George Boateng after only seven minutes, following a low cross from Lloyd Dyer.
Beckford made it 2-0 on the half-hour mark, heading in off the underside of the bar after a swift break left Forest struggling to cover.
Beckford then scored two goals in seven minutes to complete his hat-trick early in the second half as Leicester piled on the agony for Forest, who are currently languishing in the Championship relegation zone.
Meanwhile, Millwall bounced back from their 6-0 home drubbing by Birmingham City last weekend with a 5-0 win over League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge, with Darius Henderson grabbing a hat-trick.