Youth Alliance Cup
Team: Deane, Downes, Walker, Champion, Browne, Sendles-White, Simmonds, Hubble, Gibbons, Henry-Francis, Fitzpatrick
Subs: McDonnell, Monthe, Koeris, Daly, Adekunle
When I arrived the 1st team squad were going through their paces and two QPR Girls matches were set to take place. Marcel Henry-Francis was back having completed his loan spell with Hampton & Richmond after making two appearances.
The match kicked off 5 minutes late and Rangers were soon in their stride. A Henry-Francis shot from a fairly acute angle was initially saved by the keeper, the ball then hit the post, but a defender was on hand to clear it to safety. Then a clever ball in set up the advancing Bradley Simmonds, but unfortunately he skied it well over the bar. However, the R’s soon took the lead after some good work from Marcel Henry-Francis who played the ball in for Jordan Gibbons to hit the back of the net.
As Rangers went in search of goal number two, a Jordan Gibbons header was headed off the line. David Fitzpatrick, whilst situated on the left flank, cut in and then curled the ball just past the post. It became evident that Jordan Gibbons’ pace was causing the Orient defence some problems. After Marcel Henry-Francis had used his strength to thrust his way past his marker, he then drove the ball low which forced the keeper into making a very good save with his legs.
Surprisingly the visitors equalised after a defensive mistake allowed an Orient player to conveniently belt the ball into the net from close range. They then had another good opportunity, but this time Gareth Deane was able to go down and make a comfortable save. At the other end, some lovely movement and inter-play resulted in Marcel Henry-Francis shooting just wide of the post. The weather remained sunny with some light wind as the referee blew his whistle for half-time.
After the break, following a good move, David Fitzpatrick squared a lovely ball across the box, but despite an outstretched leg, from I think Conor Hubble, he just couldn’t quite make contact. Jordan Walker showed some great skill when he took control of a difficult ball and then laid it off beautifully. After a nice first touch, Fitzpatrick burst through, but his shot was aimed straight at the keeper. The opposition were working hard closing the Rangers players down, sitting back and relying on the occasional counter-attack.
Rangers were awarded a penalty and surprisingly the referee booked Bradley Simmonds just as he was about to take it ? It didn’t faze him though and he proceeded to belt the ball into the back of the net to put the R’s back in the lead. Steve Gallen brought on Justin Koeris, the pacey Tobi Adekunle and James Daly at various stages of the 2nd half at the expense of Marcel Henry-Francis, Conor Hubble and David Fitzpatrick. The R’s deservedly scored a third goal with a good finish by James Daly after the opportunity was set up nicely for him. Full-time: 3-1.
It was never a dirty game, but the referee saw fit to book five or six players ! The Saturday Morning Crew also included; Alan Barnes, Rob Bennett, Roger Stokes, Clive Kingham plus Pat and Tom Harrison.