Gareth Barry endured a miserable return to captaincy duties as QPR's Damion Stewart dumped Aston Villa out of the Carling Cup with the only goal at Villa Park last night.
Barry was one of only five survivors from Sunday's Premier League victory over West Bromwich. Carlos Cuellar was handed a first home start alongside Zat Knight in a reshuffled defence, while Isaiah Osbourne and goalkeeper Brad Guzan, on debut, were given chances to impress. The hosts had a gilt-edged chance to open the scoring in the 10th minute after fine work down the left from Barry and Nicky Shorey provided Stiliyan Petrov with possession outside the box.
The Bulgaria international rolled the ball delicately into Marlon Harewood's path only for the striker to curl his effort over the crossbar from six yards. Ashley Young then drilled the ball into the box, finding Harewood, who snatched at the chance. Young, the liveliest player on the pitch, almost sent Villa into the break ahead but his sweetly-hit effort curled just wide.
After 58 minutes Rangers took an unlikely lead. A corner was cleared, Daniel Parejo floated the ball back into the penalty area and Stewart sent his header beyond Brad Guzan. Panic spread among the hosts and Barry missed Villa's last chance on the way to an ignominious exit.
Aston Villa (4-4-2): Guzan; Gardner, Cuellar, Knight, Shorey; Osbourne (Routledge, 67), Petrov, Barry, A Young; Harewood (Agbonlahor, 67), Carew. Substitutes not used: Friedel (gk), Delfouneso, Davies, Salifou, Reo-Coker.
QPR (4-4-2): Cerny; Connolly, Hall, Stewart, Delaney; Mahon, Rowlands, Parejo, Ledesma (Balanta, 90); Buzsaky (Leigertwood, 81), Agyemang (Di Carmine, 66). Substitutes not used: Camp (gk), Blackstock, Gorkss, Ephraim.
Referee: L Mason (Lancashire).
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