A spirited Rochdale side took QPR all the way to extra-time in the third round of the FA Youth Cup on Monday night, but exited the competition after the R’s netted a late winner.
Dale led for the majority of the entertaining tie after Florian Yonsian had opened the scoring in the 21st minute, but the hosts snatched a stoppage time equaliser. James Neild put Dale in front during extra-time, only for QPR to peg them back two minutes later.
The London side went on to take the lead for the first time during the game in the 116th minute, when Nathan Carlyle fired home a powerful effort.
A cruel end to an excellent cup run for Dale, but a performance the players should be extremely proud of after giving their absolute all against the Category Two side.
The first chance of the game went in favour of the home side, when Jake Frailing hit over from a low ball into the area just three minutes into the game.
But Rochdale were dominant and went on to create the majority of the opportunities.
Before opening the scoring in the 21st minute, Dale had already had a couple of chances, with Fabio Tavares was denied on two occasions by Tyla Dickinson in the R’s goal. Having won the ball back on the halfway line, Harrison Hopper, returning from suspension, turned and fed a pass through to Florent Hoti, who sent Tavares through one-on-one with the ‘keeper, and he saw his shot across goal kept out.
Seven minutes later and Dale were in again, as Hoti broke forward on the counter-attack and sent a perfectly weighted pass to the feet of Tavares. The forward jinked past his marker but had his effort held at the near post.
But sixty seconds later Rochdale took a deserved lead – Yonsian breaking the deadlock.
Bradley played him with a superb ball after driving forward, and the striker beat the offside trap to finish first time across goal and into the far corner.
Rochdale continued to enjoy the better of the chances after opening the scoring, and Bradley came close to doubling Dale’s advantage, when he dipped an effort narrowly over the bar from just outside the area.
And before the half was out, Tavares’ cross to the back post was met by Bradley but his header was kept out at the second attempt, as it looked like it might creep in under the bar.
HT | QPR 0-1 ROCHDALE
QPR were much improved after the break and could have equalised in the 53rd minute if it wasn’t for Luke Matheson who turned a dangerous ball across the face of goal behind at the back post.
Just before the hour, Kai Woollard-Innocent rattled a powerful effort just over the bar from 30-yards.
But it was Rochdale who came closest nine minutes later, when Louis White from 35-yards beat Dickinson with a fine strike but could only look on as his effort came crashing off the underside of the bar.
Morgan Piper in the Dale goal was the quieter of the two goalkeepers during the game so far, thanks, in large, to the side’s excellent defending, but as in previous FA Youth Cup ties, when he was called into action he proved all too important for Rochdale, and he got a strong hand to a goal-bound Dillon de Silva shot in the 70th minute and turned it away.
Ten minutes from time, goal scorer Yonsian was replaced by Musambya Kisimba, in Dale’s first substitution of the match.
There was some superb defending from Joe Dunne to head clear a cross that looked as though it would be turned home at the back-post, while Hopper struck over the bar from distance, in the closing stages.
Cruelly, QPR snatched a late equaliser during stoppage time to take the game to extra time, when Dejarhn Grant smashed home from six-yards after a scramble inside the area.
FT | QPR 1-1 ROCHDALE
In the early stages of extra time, the hosts looked the most likely to go on and get a winner.
Armelindo Mema sent a shot on the turn just over the bar, while Piper pushed away a curling effort from De Silva.
Rochdale continued to be competitive, though, and Bradley was kept out at the near post by Dickinson a short time later.
Frailing had an effort from 25-yards held by the Dale goalkeeper, and De Silva fired over soon after.
But the scoreline remained 1-1 at half time during extra time.
Two minutes into the second half of extra-time, Rochdale Captain Neild met White’s in swinging corner on the volley, sending it past Dickinson to put Dale back in front.
But the lead was short-lived as QPR levelled two minutes later – Mema slotting home from inside the area.
And the R’s went on to net what proved to be the winner, as they went in front for the first time during game in the 116th minute. Nathan Carlyle firing a powerful effort beyond Piper.
Three minutes later, Dale made a double change, with Toby Phillips and Joe Wright replacing Hopper and White, respectively.
Grant fired over after the hosts hit Rochdale on the counter-attack, while Kisimba came so close to sending the tie to penalties but his driven effort, which looked destined for the bottom corner of the net, was turned around the post by Dickinson at the last second.
FT (AET) | QPR 3-2 ROCHDALE