Watford's reward for their fourth round victory at Newcastle United was a third successive away tie, this time closer to home in west London. The Friday fixture was to be closely contested, but the Hornets got the job done and took another step closer to their first FA Cup final appearance since 1984.

Loftus Road was the setting for round five, where the Hornets arrived on Heurelho Gomes' birthday.

A third consecutive away game had been bestowed upon Watford by the luck of the draw, yet more pressure was heaped upon the Hornets' shoulders by the fact that they were facing lower league opposition. The quarter-finals beckoned and most expected it to be achieved with comfort.

However, Queens Park Rangers proved stern opponents, despite languishing near the foot of the Championship, with the towering Matt Smith and the nimble Nahki Wells posing problems for Watford's defence.

Daryl Janmaat squandered a good chance, while Massimo Luongo's volley came perilously close to dropping into Gomes' net in a frantic battle to draw first blood.

The underdogs were looking the most likely, they pushed on carried by the support of those desperate for an upset, but it wasn't to be.

Etienne Capoue, consistency personified this season, reacted swiftly to a mis-hit effort from team-mate Tom Cleverley and guided the ball into the far corner of the net to silence those baying to see a Premier League club crumble under the weight of expectation.

The lead would last until the end of the game, but not without drama. A late hopeful ball into the Watford box bounced treacherously along the goal line before it met Tony Leistner at the back post.

The net was empty, it just needed a calm head, but the occasion clouded his judgment and he gave Gomes the best birthday present he could have hoped for that day - a clean sheet and a place in the last eight of the competition.