QPR U23 (2) – Watford U23 (2)

U23 Professional Development League

Team: Herdman, Kakay, Williams, Owens, Phillips, Hamalainen, Shodipo, Ngbakoto, Oteh, Grego-Cox, Darbyshire

Subs Not Used: Hudnott, Paul, Stylianides

It was a sunny, crisp afternoon at Harlington and amongst those looking on were Gareth Ainsworth and Gary Waddock.

After a scrappy start, Rangers took the lead from the penalty spot after a clumsy challenge on Yeni Ngbakoto. The R’s captain, Aramide Oteh, stepped up and made no mistake, placing the ball down the middle.

The visitors equalised from a breakaway following a QPR corner. Hamalainen looked as if he would win the ball, as did the R’s keeper, but Alex Jakubiak slotted the ball into the net.

Watford took the lead four minutes later when Michael Folivi’s shot somehow went over Martin Herdman and under the crossbar, despite him being close to his goal-line.

Some excellent defending from Giles Phillips when he went shoulder to shoulder with the Watford player, which was enough to allow Herdman to come out and smother the ball.

Niko Hamalainen was booked for a pull-back and at half-time it remained: 1-2.

Into the second-half and the Hornets went close after a free kick on the left-hand side of the box. Jack Williams stopped the ball on the line and Reece Grego-Cox cleared the danger.

At the other end, Aramide Oteh skied the ball over the crossbar from close range, but he soon made amends on 57 minutes with a well-taken equaliser. Under pressure from his marker and with the keeper advancing, he still managed to stroke the ball into the net.

The visitors then had a good opportunity with an effort that flashed just wide of the far post.

On 65 minutes, Yeni Ngbakoto absolutely blasted the ball from 25 yards, which forced Nathan Gartside into making an excellent save.

Paul Hall introduced Romeo Akinola at the expense of Olamide Shodipo on 73 minutes.

Diving to his left, Martin Herdman made an outstanding one-handed save after 77 minutes. Then he finger-tipped Sesay’s well struck 25-yard free kick onto the crossbar.

The Hornets were awarded another free kick after Romeo Akinola had tripped the Watford player outside the box. He was shown a yellow card and the resulting strike forced Herdman into making a good stop and ball going behind for a corner.

Two other R’s players were booked in the second-half; Yeni Ngbakoto and Aramide Oteh

Steve Russell

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