Team: Cooper, McLean, Pitblado, Dalipi, Kargbo, Mahorn, De Silva, Conte, Eze (C), Kalathias, Duke-McKenna.
A Rangers U18’s side took on Portsmouth in a mid-week friendly fixture at Heston. At No.9 for the R’s was Ebere Eze’s sixteen-year-old brother, Chuma.
The first real opportunity fell to Mason McLean, who drove the ball just over the crossbar following a deft touch.
After Pompey had burst forward, a low drive came off Murphy Cooper and went behind for a corner.
The R’s took the lead after 11 minutes when birthday boy Dillon De Silva took advantage of a ball that was knocked back to the keeper. It may well have been slightly wind assisted as it went over the Pompey custodian, leaving De Silva to tap the ball into the net.
Stephen Duke-McKenna went on a great run from this own half. He laid off a good ball, but the move concluded with the linesman raising his flag.
Following a dangerous ball towards the six-yard box, Trent Mahorn made an excellent interception to deny the visitors, and put the ball behind for a corner.
Initial good work by De Silva resulted in Raheem Conte setting up Hamzad Kargbo, who’s drive flashed just wide of the near post. Whilst at the other end, Murphy Cooper was forced into making an excellent save.
Dillon De Silva beat his marker and from his cross into the box, Stephen Duke-McKenna headed over the crossbar.
Murphy Cooper thwarted the Pompey danger when he successfully and bravely, grabbed the ball.
Two minutes or so before half-time, some sloppy defending allowed the Portsmouth player to blast the ball into the back of the net. At the break it remained all square at 1-1.
For the start of the second-half, Babajide replaced Eze upfront and De Silva made way for a No.14, a player that I couldn’t identify.
The R’s No.14 did really well to keep going, despite being impeded twice and as the Pompey keeper advanced, the ball went across the six-yard box and then behind for a corner.
In the latter stages, Murphy Cooper made a very good stop after the Portsmouth player had let fly.
A good game in breezy conditions finished 1-1.