Exeter City fell to a 2-0 home defeat against Championship outfit Queens Park Rangers in the first round of the Capital One Cup.
The game got off to an unfortunate start for Exeter, when Jermaine Jenas saw his shot deflected in by Charlie Austin in the second minute.
Danny Simpson, another summer signing for the Hoops, doubled the lead for Rangers with a smart run up the wing from the right-back position.
For all City’s huffing and puffing – and going close to reducing the arrears – it was the visitors that secured passage to the second round.
Visitors QPR named a strong squad, including Joey Barton in midfield with Richard Dunne making his first competitive squad for Rangers.
And the Grecians got off to a less than ideal start as they trailed within a minute. There was a huge slice of fortune about the way the goal came about. Alejandro Faurlin whipped in a corner that was initially dealt with, but Jermaine Jenas drilled in a shot on the rebound which deflected in off Austin for a debut goal for the Rangers number 9.
The visitors were sustaining pressure and possession, but a nice passing move by the Grecians down the inside-left allowed Jamie Reid
to swivel and power a left-footed strike towards goal – which Brian Murphy did well to punch clear.
Rangers were demonstrating their ability to get into a much higher gear than they demonstrated in the friendly fixture last month, and were stretching the play at will across the breadth of the park. Junior Hoilett in particular was spritely on the left flank, but it was a cross from the right by Barton which needed heading off the line by Jordan Moore-Taylor
Hoilett was continuing to cause hassle by coming in from the left flank on his right boot – and after being fed inside, he slipped in Austin with a reverse-ball but Krysiak managed to just get a glove on the striker’s chip to deflect beyond the far post.
City were being somewhat limited to shooting from distance, and a 25-yard effort from a wide angle on the spin by Alan Gow
was never going to trouble Murphy too much.
But an effort by Sercombe from a similar distance had the Rangers stopper scrambling to save when Jamie Reid
– still hobbling a little from a crunching tackle – laid in the midfielder to shoot. The Irishman watched the ball fly through the crowd and he readjusted well.
Half-time: Exeter City 0 QPR 1
Kicking towards their own fans in the second period, the Hoops began the second half strongly too – and after Barton won a corner, he took the resultant dead ball from the left to allow Jenas to volley. It was hit with plenty of power but it was straight at Krysiak, who punched clear.
But the Hoops did double their lead within ten minutes of the restart. It was strong forward play down the right-hand side by half-time sub Andy Johnson after receiving from Austin that allowed him to lay in Simpson – and the right-back finished like a centre-forward from a tight angle.
It might have been a third for Rangers soon after when Hoilett picked up a ball inside the box in a similar position to which Simpson scored – this time, Pat Baldwin
diverted the ball beyond the far post.
In some respects, conceding a second freed the Grecians into throwing some of their caution to the wind and the Big Bank were trying to suck the ball into the goal. On three occasions in quick succession the Grecians went close midway through the second half but were unable to convert any of the chances.
The first came as some interplay on the right allowed Sercombe to put the goal in his crosshairs, but his effort was always rising. Soon after, substitute Sam Parkin headed a Woodman corner with power but it fizzed a foot over the bar.
And the crowd were lifted when Arron Davies
, who had been introduced at the break, unleashed a ripper of a half-volley which had beaten Murphy all ends up, but the ball cannoned meatily against the crossbar and back into play.
It just sparked that little bit of belief that something would happen for the Grecians – and the stadium were up in arms when Clint Hill felled John O’Flynn
inside the box only to see the referee wave away the protestations.
While O’Flynn was still picking himself up, Rangers were breaking down the other end and nearly opened a three-goal margin as Johnson shot low inside the box – but Krysiak fielded the effort.
Rangers introduced Shaun Wright-Phillips as a like-for-like sub for Hoilett, and within moments the winger had made a telling impact. Wright-Phillips cut in off the left and hammered a right-footed effort which cannoned down off the bar – and bounced just on the right side of the goal-line from an Exeter perspective.
The travelling fans thought Wright-Phillips had scored minutes later, but it was only side-netting to the Grecians’ relief.
The last effort of note came from a Sercombe freekick, which O’Flynn won when Clint Hill scythed down the City man. Unfortunately it caught an outstretched leg in the wall and was dealt with, and the Hoops secured passage to the next round.
Full-time: Exeter City 0 QPR 2
Exeter City: Krysiak; Moore-Taylor, Coles, Baldwin, Woodman; Wheeler (Parkin 57), Bennett, Doherty (Davies 46), Sercombe; Gow (O’Flynn 57); Reid.
Subs (not used): Pym, Dawson, Gosling, Keohane.
QPR: Murphy; Simpson, Dunne, Hill, Yun; Barton, Jenas, Faurlin (Derry 63), Hoilett (Wright-Phillips 74); Zamora (Johnson 46), Austin.
Subs (not used): Green, Onuoha, Henry, Ehmer.
Goals: Austin (2), Simpson (54).
Attendance: 5,253 (798 away).
Referee: J. Simpson