QPR U18 2 – 2 Southend United U18

Team: Goodchild, Ford, Goode, Howell, Brown, Rose, Coyne, O’Brien, Arthur, Maguire, St.Aimie

An amazing fight back by Joe Gallen’s U18 side saw them gain a precious point at an overcast and windy Harlington. The R’s got off to the worst possible start. After just 3 minutes, the Southend centre forward ghosted in behind the QPR back four to flick a header over Goodchild to give the visitors the lead. Rangers struggled to gain any momentum against a very good Southend side who had six trialists from Arsenal and West Ham playing for them. Only two chances were really created, one from Rose on the right wing and the other was from a header after a left wing cross from Chris Arthur.

St. Aimie and Maguire were given no protection by a very fussy referee from the frequent manhandling by the Southend centre backs. The visitors were taking control of the midfield and after 30 minutes, a stunning 20 yard shot smashed against the QPR crossbar. It was not surprising when just before half time, Southend put together a five man move which saw their forward put clean through the Rangers defence and shoot past the onrushing Goodchild. Half Time: 0-2

The R’s started the 2nd half with the wind at their backs and were on the front foot from the off. After 10 minutes, Folkes came on and went upfront with Maguire dropping back to midfield with Coyne making way. Maguire started to pull the strings in midfield, spreading passes right and left, linking the play well with the front two. But still clear cut chances failed to arrive. With 20 minutes left, Joe Gallen reverted to three at the back with a trialist coming on to join the front two and the right back Ford, going off. QPR piled forward with shots from St.Aimie, Rose, Arthur and Maguire but the visitors were defending well but very physically. Stoppages for injuries were occurring every couple of minutes. There was an especially long break in play when Folkes challenged for a ball and ended up on the floor in agony. Eventually he had to be stretchered off and another trialist came on as sub.

Time was ticking away, but in the 88th minute, St.Aimie picked up a loose ball on the edge of the area, drifted passed a defender and stroked home to give Rangers a very late lifeline. The QPR pressure was unrelenting with corner after corner causing Southend all sorts of problems. 8 minutes of time had been added when Maguire took another corner from the right hand side. The ball fell to the feet of the trialist at the far post who reacted quickly and stabbed the ball over the line for a thoroughly deserved equaliser. Another 5 minutes of extra time were played, in which Rose had a fantastic shot which was heading for the top corner but the Southend keeper somehow got his fingertips to the ball and pushed it over the bar. Another shot by Howell went just wide and the referee finally blew for time. 2-2 and a fair result to a fine match.

Danny Maguire was superb, battling up front in the 1st half and directing play in the 2nd. The attendance was approx 60 and it was good to see johnqprhayes, Joe English, Robbie Bennett (with some excellent ball control in the 2nd half) and also Frank Clark from the .org board.