Team: Lumley, McDonnell, Walker, Champion, Brown, Sendles-White, Sutherland, Comley, Gibbons, Monthe, Webb.
Frankie Sutherland was back after playing for the Irish U19’s against Turkey. Bruno Andrade was apparently unwell and Gareth Deane, Marcel Henry-Francis and Bradley Simmonds were still nursing injuries. Prior to kick-off we watched the start of the U16’s game against AFC Wimbledon before taking up our usual positions adjacent to the corner flag.
The R’s took the lead within 15 minutes after a lovely ball fed Frankie Sutherland. He then squared it into the box where he found Manny Monthe who side-footed the ball into the back of the net. Then, soon after, he chipped the keeper and the ball narrowly missed the post by inches. Rangers went very close again when Callum Webb screwed his shot just wide of the post. Brandon Comley went even closer when his effort shaved the post and out for a corner following a wonderful ball from Frankie Sutherland.
As the Rangers full-backs pushed up, the ball was being knocked over the Gillingham left-back to Danny McDonnell. The whole team were involved in stringing numerous passes around the pitch as they enjoyed sustained periods of possession. It was no surprise when the R’s scored their second goal after 32 minutes. A superb ball from Frankie Sutherland fed Manny Monthe and as he took the ball into the box, the keeper advanced from his goal-line and clipped him, but Monthe stayed on his feet and coolly slotted it into the net.
Would Manny Monthe complete his hat-trick before half-time we wondered ? Well, his next attempt almost did just that when he absolutely blasted the ball from the edge of the box which forced the keeper into making a great save. There was a nice piece of defensive cover from Danny McDonnell when he did extremely well to cut across from his right-back position and into the centre to clear a dangerous ball after a Gillingham counter-attack. Half-time: 2-0.
Just minutes into the 2nd half and Rangers scored their third. Frankie Sutherland found Manny Monthe and as he ran into the box holding off his marker, his angled drive from 20 yards was powerfully hit and although the keeper got a hand to it, it wasn’t enough to keep it out. A minute or so later, the visitors pulled a goal back after a defensive error which made it 3-1. A Gillingham player was booked following a foul on Freddy Champion.
Frankie Sutherland was playing with a smile on his face and he was really pulling the strings. He fired a ball into the box and as the keeper saw Manny Monthe coming towards him, he decided to play safe and palm the ball out for a corner. Brandon Comley seized upon a loose ball and his low shot was well saved by the keeper. The R’s fourth goal came after Jordan Gibbons had put the ball over. Manny Monthe controlled the ball nicely on his chest and Ben Brown was following up to finish.
After a lovely dummy by Frankie Sutherland down the left flank, the ball was blasted low into the box which forced the keeper down to smother. Sutherland was also instrumental in QPR’s final goal when his well taken corner was met full-on by Ben Brown. The ball was quite rightly adjudged being over the line when the defender desperately hooked it away. Conor Hubble replaced Emmanuel (Manny) Monthe and Frankie Sutherland moved over to the centre.
Following a bit of a flare up, Freddy Champion looked to be in some distress. Eventually, and with assistance, he limped off. I thought that the referee was rather lenient when he only showed the culprit a yellow card ! Freddy Champion’s return was brief and Steve Gallen took him off and I think it was Jake Downes who came on to replace him. The final change came when James Daly was introduced at the expense of Jordan Gibbons. Frankie Sutherland almost scored direct from his corner kick as the ball curled just wide of the far post.
The Harlington Crew also included Alan Barnes, Rob Bennett, Roger Stokes and Clive Kingham. The U16’s side also included Max Ehmer’s younger brother. The final score in that game was 2-2. Well done to Steve Gallen and the team on such a resounding victory.