Professional Development League Two Play-Off Final
Team: Lumley, Furlong (Downs), Monthe, Hunt-Laurent, Wise, Kpekawa, Young (Fitzpatrick), Mitchell, Skapetis, Carreiro, Petrasso
Subs Not Used: Smith, Comley, Beckles
The U18’s league campaign saw Rangers winning 16 of their 20 matches and finishing runners-up to Charlton Athletic. This sealed them a place in the semi-final play-off and the R’s played the winners of the equivalent Northern Section, Leeds United. Petros Skapetis scored a dramatic winner in added time at Thorp Arch whilst Huddersfield defeated Charlton in the other semi-final.
The previous time QPR had played a Huddersfield U18’s side was in December 2011. On that occasion Rangers won 2-1 in a FA Youth Cup 3rd Round tie at Loftus Road.
The visitors went close after 4 minutes when a free header was deflected out for another corner. At the other end, Ryan Young got into a good position, but his shot was aimed straight at Wilczynski. Rangers were playing some neat football in and around midfield, but had created limited opportunities to take the lead.
After 15 minutes Michael Petrasso did well to set-up Petros Skapetis who really should of found the back of the net. However, the ball came to Dylan Carreiro and he let fly from 25 yards which forced Wilczynski to tip the ball out for a corner. Two minutes later, the visitors went very close, but the shot was just wide of the post.
Then after 36 minutes, full-back Darnell Furlong, in a good position, belted the ball goalwards which Ed Wilczynski acrobatically tipped over the bar. Then Emmanuel Monthe managed to somehow thread the ball across the box, but it was cleared before an R’s player could pounce.
With a minute or so to go to half-time, QPR took a deserved lead via the penalty spot after Harly Wise had his shirt tugged in the box. Leading marksman and captain Petros Skapetis stepped up and his well taken penalty put Rangers in front.
One added minute was signalled and the R’s could of doubled their lead. After a good interception the ball was played too wide for Skapetis to properly finish and the keeper made a comfortable save. Half-time: 1-0.
Three minutes or so after the break, Huddersfield broke through, but thankfully the resulting shot was a tame one which didn’t trouble Joe Lumley. Darnell Furlong was forced to change his No. 2 shirt for a No.17, because, I assume, there must have been blood on it ?
The Huddersfield No.8, Duane Holmes had a shot go narrowly wide 15 minutes into the half and he really does look an exciting prospect. The visitors were certainly having the best of the opening 20 minutes or so, and enjoying the majority of the possession.
Darnell Furlong was replaced by Jake Downs after 72 minutes and a few minutes later Steve Gallen decided to bring on David Fitzpatrick for Ryan Young.
A good shot on target by I think by Michael Petrasso, was headed over en route to goal. After 88 minutes, Joe Lumley was the victim of what looked like a very harsh decision when he was penalised for time wasting. Mr Hatzidakis decided to award a free kick just inside the Rangers box which was safely negotiated. After a good period of play from the R’s, the ball was eventually knocked back towards Joe Lumley who had to come charging out and only just managed to clear in time.
Some of the R’s players had been suffering from cramp throughout the latter stages which seemingly accounted for most of the 5 added minutes. There was a wonderful moment which brought a smile to many faces when Emmanuel Monthe absolutely belted the ball upfield from well inside his own half. It beat the advanced Huddersfield keeper, but finished well wide of the post…if only !
At the final whistle the pitch celebrations immediately followed. My mind went back three years to when Rangers won silverware after beating Stockport County in the Youth Alliance National League Cup Final.
Well done, congratulations and thanks to Steve Gallen, his staff and all of his squad on such a magnificent achievement.