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  • Writer's pictureBy Yann Tear at Loftus Road

QPR's first-half stunners not quite enough to throw classy Bournemouth off track

FA Cup Third Round

QPR (2) 2 Armstrong 40, Dykes 42

Bournemouth (0) 3 Tavernier 49, Moore 58, Kluivert 69

Rangers played their part in a rousing cup tie - but fell away after giving their fans a glimpse of glory by taking a 2-0 half-time lead.

The spirit of Les Ferdinand lives on in the shape and style of Sinclair Armstrong, and his goal, which was soon followed by one from Lyndon Dykes - put Marti Cifuentes' team in dreamland.

But the impressive Cherries stayed calm and kept playing scintillating football to haul themselves back into the contest and deservedly secured their passage into the fourth round.

Armstrong is a man who carries the weight of history on his shoulders to some extent, but he chose a perfect moment to deliver confirmation of what he can do.

His muscular burst past Marcos Senesi on half way, followed by a cool finish into the far corner past Mark Travers, sent Rangers fans into outpourings of delight - and it erupted still further when Dykes' deflected shot beat the Bournemouth keeper just two minutes later.

The Scot cut in from the left and his shot ballooned over Travers via Max Aarons to signal a perfect first 45 minutes.

All that smart and rapid-motion attacking from the Premier League Cherries and yet it was the R's who help the whip hand at the interval - their ability to seize the moment admirable.

It was particularly impressive, given the current raft of injuries they are experiencing.

The experienced Dykes we know is capable of goals but the 20-year-old Armstrong is the one catching the imagination of Hoops fans these days. It was only the Irishman's sixth goal for the club and first since the win at Cardiff in August.

He has been used primarily as an impact sub up to now but perhaps we will see more in the not-to distant future. His swashbuckling style arguably recalls Ferdinand in his pomp at times. Those head-down charges towards goal look familiar.

The game did not look remotely won at 2-0. Philip Billing had gone close and Alex Scott fired over from close range when well placed and soon after the break Marcus Tavernier halved the deficit when his low shot from a corner found the net after clipping Jimmy Dunne on the way.

The pressure built. Asmir Begovic did superbly to beat out a Luis Sinisterra drive and then touch a follow-up shot from Tavernier onto a post and behind.

Alas for Rangers, from the resulting inswinging corner from Scott, Kieffer Moore's got in front of his markers to glance home from close range at the near-post.

And the comeback was complete when Billing got the better of Dunne down the Rangers right and his pullback from the byline was knocked in by half-time sub Justin Kluivert.

This was a fine cup tie, even if it ended in defeat for Rangers. The only pity is that only 10,000 were present to witness it - the Loft End was sparsely populated and for a glamour tie like this, that was a shame.

Perhaps the fact it comes during an entire month of home games was the reason for the apathy - that and the realities of finding extra pennies at this time of the year.

Hoops: (4-3-3) Begovic - Drewe (Kakay 61), Dunne, Fox, Larkeche - Dixon-Bonner (Pedder 89), Field (Talla 80), Dozzell - Smyth (Adomah 61), Armstrong, Dykes (Paal 80)

Cherries: (4-2-3-1) Travers - Aarons, Mepham (Christie h/t), Senesi, Tavernier - Scott, L Cook - Sinisterra, Billing (Adu-Adeji 89)Brooks (Kluivert h/t) - Moore (Zabarnyi 84)

Attendance: 10,725


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