BY NICK KITUNO
Queens Park Rangers have bowed out of the first round of the EFL Cup after being edged out by Plymouth Argyle in a five-goal thriller.
Ryan Manning gifted the R’s a dream start just 68 seconds in before Osman Kakay grabbed his first senior goal for the club after the hosts scored twice without reply.
Frank Nouble’s debut strike proved to be the winning goal late on as there were first starts for summer Rangers arrivals Tom Carroll and Rob Dickie. Rangers have failed to progress past the first round of the competition for the first time since 2011.
The visitors drew first blood shortly after kick-off when an unmarked Manning nodded home from Illias Chair’s corner to take an early lead.
Despite being in front, the visitors were made to sweat and were let off the hook when George Cooper smashed the post from a free-kick.
Argyle restored parity on 32 minutes when Ryan Hardie teed up Edwards following a dangerous counter-attack for a sliding finish. They could have had another soon after, but Lewis MacLeod failed to capitalise on Rob Dickie’s scuffed clearance.
The cup tie ebbed and flowed, and Rangers fell behind after 53 minutes when Danny Mayor drilled past Joe Lumley following sustained pressure.
Kakay had other ideas and, moments later, he erased Argyle’s slender lead when he thumped the ball past goalkeeper Michael Cooper on the edge of the box.
Rangers went in search of the lead again but had a mountain to climb when Nouble volleyed past Lumley from Conor Grant’s left-wing cross after 78 minutes.
Rangers desperately tried to grab a third and take the game to penalties but their efforts proved unsuccessful.
PICTURE: KEITH GILLARD
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