U18 Professional Development League 2
Team: Little, McLean, Paiva, Mahorn, Orafu, Harrack, Mema, Aoraha, Kargbo, Gordon, Griffiths.
I met up with Alan Barnes at Charing Cross Station before heading off to New Eltham. The Sparrows Lane training ground was about a ten minute walk from the Station.
Charlton had only lost one league game all season and had recently knocked West Ham out of the FA Youth Cup.
No team sheets unfortunately so my first job was to take note of the R’s starting line-up.
In bright sunshine, the first real effort came from the home side following a corner. However, the header from close to the far post was directed straight into Max Little’s gloves.
As the temperature began to drop, Charlton’s next attempt at goal after 13 minutes from wide of the near post, hit the side netting following a corner.
Trent Mahorn was blatantly fouled by the Addicks’ No.9 who then decided to walk over the grounded Rangers captain. This prompted the referee to award a free kick and have a word with the culprit.
Max Little made a very good stop and the follow-up was also powerful, but the R’s keeper comfortably held on to the ball.
Nathan Orafu made a superb block in the box, but the impact did leave him rubbing his leg for a while.
Charlton’s goal arrived on 27 minutes after a careless mistake in midfield led to Euan Williams seizing the ball and scoring from just inside the box.
As Lemar Griffiths tracked back, he clipped the Addicks’ player just as he tried to proceed along the bye-line. The free kick aimed towards the near post, was cleared to safety.
The home side doubled their lead on the half-hour mark after the ball had been given away and Euan Williams’ run got him into the box to pull the trigger. Max Little made an excellent save from the initial attempt. Then Dylan Gavin’s shot was blocked, but he made no mistake with his second effort.
Whilst at the other end, a great ball over to the right-wing found Lemar Griffiths, who then sent in a low cross to Hamzad Kargbo. His effort clipped the near post.
The next goalscoring opportunity fell to the Addicks. After a free kick was swung in from the left, the resulting header looped over the crossbar.
Armelindo Mema took off on a productive run down the left-flank. The first shot forced Nathan Harvey down to stop the ball and he was then able to make a comfortable save from the follow-up.
Just before the interval, Dylan Gavin saw his effort from six-yards bounce off the crossbar. Half-time: 0-2.
Paul Furlong introduced James Fahmy for the second-half as a replacement for Kayden Harrack.
The R’s got off to an assertive start and a first-time cross from Griffiths picked out Kargbo in the box. The R’s No.9 jumped up and his header forced the keeper down to successfully grab the ball.
Then the R’s striker hooked the ball onto the crossbar following a cross from the left-wing.
After an excellent passing move had set up Mema, his close range effort was palmed behind by the Addicks’ keeper. Harvey and Kargbo collided from the resulting corner and both players went down and in need of some attention.
This was a very good spell for the R’s and their next effort came from Mema. His shot whizzed just past the upright.
Paul Furlong made his two final changes on the hour mark, which saw Stathis Kalathias and Chimaechi Eze come on for Matthew Gordon and Lemar Griffiths respectively.
After the ball had been given away from a throw-in, the home side fashioned a shot at goal, but the ball was rising as it cleared the crossbar.
With around ten minutes remaining, Luc Albon scored a third goal. His free kick from 25 yards went in off the post.
Despite this setback QPR still went looking to pull a goal back. Armelindo Mema broke free and his shot came off the keeper’s chest and out of danger.
Then, Hamzad Kargbo managed to get his head to an awkward cross and watched the ball bounce off the top of the crossbar and go behind. But the Rangers striker got the goal he fully deserved when he cleanly drove the ball into the back of the net.
The R’s No.9 scored his second goal from close range in stoppage time. The referee blew the final whistle seconds later.
Next up for Paul Furlong’s side is a trip to the Crystal Palace training ground on Friday.