Team: Dieng, Paul, Hamalainen, Owens, Caulker, Finney, Grego-Cox, Eze, Oteh, Chair, Prohouly
Sub Not Used: Herdman
ChrisPTenner informed me about this hastily arranged friendly at Billericay. As far as I know QPR had never played there before?
Billericay were formed in 1880 and initially played at Archer Hall until 1971 when they moved to their current home at New Lodge.
I met up with Chris and Ron Hill in the ‘Blue Boar’ for a swift pint before we set off for the 20-minute walk to the ground.
The big surprise was the return of Steven Caulker in the starting line-up. No Jermaine Pennant on show, but Paul Konchesky featured at left-back for the Isthmian Premier club side.
The proposed energy efficient floodlights weren’t yet installed so kick-off was set at 6 o’clock. Steel millionaire Glenn Tamplin is the Billericay owner and has big plans for the club. I understand that he also manages the team.
Rangers lined up in a 4-3-3 formation on a noticeably slanting pitch.
It was the home side who almost took the lead after 2 minutes. The unmarked Billericay player fired in his shot from close range, forcing Dieng into making a superb stop.
Rangers got into their stride and went 1-0 up after 9 minutes when Axel Prohouly’s low drive found the bottom corner.
The Billericay custodian made a fine one-handed save from Steven Caulker following a corner.
Whilst at the other end the home side had the ball in the net but it was ruled offside. Then Alex Finney came from nowhere to make a brilliant stop on the line.
Ebere Eze doubled the R’s lead after 42 minutes, when he slotted the ball in the far corner with an angled shot in the six-yard box.
Three minutes later, Oteh scored a third with an excellent solo effort. He ran through at speed and placed the ball in the top corner. Half-time: 3-0 to the R’s.
Axel Prohouly switched wings after the break and Rangers soon had the ball in the net, but it was harshly adjudged to have been offside?
Billy Bricknell hooked the ball in the net from close range for the home side after 57 minutes.
The hosts had a player booked and then around the hour mark, we saw the introduction of Danny Rowe and Josh Wallen at the expense of Ebere Eze and Charlie Owens respectively.
Billericay were enjoying their best spell of the match and should have scored a second goal when a free shot from close range was magnificently blocked by the diving Rangers keeper.
On 69 minutes, Paul Hall brought on Giles Phillips for Alex Finney, which was soon followed by Charlie Fox replacing Steven Caulker.
Diving to his left, Seny Dieng made yet another outstanding save and QPR then counter-attacked. Ilias Chair pulled the trigger and the Billericay keeper made a spectacular acrobatic save to deny him.
Eddie Smith booked another Billericay player for shirt pulling.
Axel Prohouly had to limp off which meant that the R’s were down to ten men for the final ten minutes or so. Danny Rowe was shown a yellow card.
The home side were awarded a corner and a good cross, was met by a well-directed header, which forced the R’s keeper into making yet another fabulous save.
A foul in the box after 89 minutes resulted in a penalty for the R’s and another booking for the home side. Aramide Oteh stepped up and struck his spot-kick low into the corner of the net.
Reece Grego Cox scored the R’s fifth deep into added time.
The final word must go to my MOM Seny Dieng, for his 5/6 outstanding saves and it was the best performance that I’ve seen from him so far.