Peterborough United were booted out of the Carabao Cup in just six minutes tonight (August 14).
QPR struck twice in those early stages which was enough to secure victory despite a strong second-half showing from Posh who missed a couple of late scoring chances.
These game always test a manager’s skill to make progress in a cup competition and give squad players some much needed match practice at the start of a season.
Posh boss Steve Evans opted for three changes and three more full debutants in left-back Tyler Denton, midfielder Callum Cooke and new striker Ivan Toney, while QPR supremo Steve McClaren made six alterations to his last Championship line-up.
But the most significant of all the changes proved to be a rare start for former Posh striker Conor Washington who sucked the life out of this cup tie with two assists in that hectic start to the game.
The first involved a fine piece of control and a decent cross that Posh ‘keeper Aaron Chapman could only palm into the path of Luke Freeman who finished easily.
The second goal arrived courtesy of a fine chipped pass which found Pawel Wszolek alarmingly free inside the Posh area and he finished expertly.
Such a poor start prompted a tactical switch from Posh who sent winger Siriki Dembele up top to partner Toney. Regular strikers Jason Cummings and Matt Godden were both rested and Posh started with Mark O’Hara and Callum Cooke detailed to join Toney.
The changes actually altered nothing as far as the game’s pattern was concerned for the rest of the first half. QPR were always slicker in possession and enjoyed brighter movement. They found it easy to reach the edge of the Posh penalty area, but less simple to find a way past centre-back Ryan Tafazolli.
Tafazolli made a fine block to stop Washington claiming the goal his first-half display deserved. Chapman also stuck a boot out to keep the QPR striker out.
Posh offered very little going forward despite some hard-running by Dembele. They had a presence in the penalty area in Toney, but no-one came close to locating him.
Posh sent on Cummings for Cooke at the start of the second-half with Dembele returning to the wing.
And Posh immediately looked better. Crosses started getting delivered with more accuracy and panic occasionally ensued in the home defence. Dembele fizzed a volley just wide of a post after one spell of pressure just before the hour mark.
Posh kept plugging away and won numerous corners while using Joe Ward to fling long throws into the penalty area. One throw caused mayhem that goalkeeper Joe Lumley rescued as Cummings waited to pounce and one Dembele corner found Tafazolli eight yards from goal, but his firm header deflected off a defender and over the bar.
Posh created their best chances late on as Cummings fed Dembele whose shot was kicked away by Lumley and then substitute Matt Godden delivered a brilliant cross which found Cummings in space, but he couldn’t control his eight-yard volley.
But ultimately giving a Championship side, even a lowly one, a two-goal head start proved decisive.
Posh: Aaron Chapman, Jason Naismith, Tyler Denton, Rhys Bennett, Ryan Tafazolli, Alex Woodyard, Mark O’Hara, Callum Cooke (sub Jason Cummings, 46 mins), Siriki Dembele, Joe Ward (sub George Cooper, 73 mins), Ivan Toney (sub Matt Godden, 77 mins).
Unused substitutes: Conor O’Malley, Josh Yorwerth, Isaac Buckley-Ricketts, Louis Reed.
QPR: Joe Lumley, Osman Kakay, Toni Leistner, Alex Baptiste, Jake Bidwell, Jordan Cummins, Josh Scowen, Luke Freeman (sub Ryan Manning, 77 mins), Pawel Wszolek, Conor Washington (sub Matt Smith, 83 mins), Bright Osayi-Samuel (sub Ebere Eze, 68 mins).
Unused substitutes: Matt Ingram, Grant Hall, Paul Smyth, Idrissa Sylla. .
Goals: QPR - Freeman (3 mins), Wszolek (6 mins).
Referee: Gavin Ward.
Attendance: 4,021 (706 Posh).
Alan Swann was at Loftus Road for the Peterborough Telegraph so check back for match reaction.
Also follow @PTAlanSwann on Twitter for live match updates.