QPR U18 (3) – Swansea City U18 (0)

Puma Youth Alliance Cup Group 3

Team: Goodchild, Coyne, Ford, Brown, Wright, Davenport, O’Brien, Arthur, German, Rose, Balanta

Subs: Crowther, Harris, Gardner, Folkes and a U16’s player (Dave ???)

Rangers ultimately cruised to victory in this Cup fixture with a workmanlike performance that sometimes lacked the free-flowing football and excitement (at both ends) of recent games. The lads bucked the trend of recent home games and started the game brightly, putting pressure on the Swansea defence from the first whistle. Within 10 minutes, Romone Rose had the ball in the net – a neat side-foot finish after a good header down by Antonio German but the goal was rightly ruled out for offside. Angelo Balanta then burst down the left hand side and cut in to send a right foot shot just over the bar. Chris Arthur wasted a glorious opportunity after he was released by a terrific pass inside the right full back. With time to look up and maybe slide a pass across the area to the supporting players, he chose to go for goal but shot wide of the near post.

The opening goal arrived soon after though, courtesy of a cool finish from Balanta as he raced onto a pass from German. The front three continued to combine well and cause problems for the Swans defenders and Rose was unlucky as he nipped in to beat the keeper to a bouncing ball but his header just got away from him and edged past the post. To this point, the Rangers defence had been largely untroubled but for a well-timed dash from his line by Chris Goodchild to comfortably claim a through-ball before the striker could pounce. But after the goal there was a more even period of play as Swansea pushed forward a little more. The rest of the half yielded few chances though. A Rose strike from outside the penalty area was the best effort that either side could muster. Half Time: 1-0

Rangers started the 2nd half brightly and German was soon stretching the visitors defence with a strong run down the right. As his cross was blocked, Danny Davenport set the ball out wide for Billy Coyne to curl in a wicked pacy cross that just needed a touch but just eluded Rose and Balanta. Rose did get his head to a couple of crosses from Arthur and German soon after but couldn’t quite hit the target. After this burst of action, Swansea applied some pressure of their own and Lee Brown did well to block a goal-bound effort which may have beaten Goodchild. Rangers responded with the goal that effectively sealed the match. Balanta picked out German with a pinpoint cross field pass and he powered past the covering defender before cutting in and striking a low left foot shot under the keeper’s dive at the near post.

The R’s sat back after that and the game became a little scrappy with little goalmouth action. Goodchild took a hefty knock as he just beat a Swans striker to a through-ball and he received lengthy treatment on the field but continued in goal. Swansea pressed for a consolation goal but Rose wrapped up the win with a late goal, cushioning Balanta’s pass before heading home. Full Time: 3-0. With Danny Maguire and Cyrus Vanterpool missing today, Rangers passing and movement in midfield was less fluent than in recent weeks and relied a bit more on early passes forward to the strikers to create chances. The abundance of pace up-front ensured that this tactic succeeded although the possession stats suffered somewhat. Matt O’Brien playing in a more central midfield role, did offer more protection to the back four and they looked more solid defensively as a result. I thought Angelo Balanta was the pick of the bunch today.

The Saturday Morning Mob was a bit depleted todayAlan Barnes, Robbie, Roger, Clive snr and because the game kicked off late at 11am, Joe English was only 2 minutes late this time ! That’s three wins out of four in the Cup ’round robin’ group which assures progress through to the next stage of the competition with three games still to play. On the downside though we discovered that Danny Maguire will be out for over a month with a foot injury – a stress fracture to a small bone on the top of his foot I believe. Get well soon Danny. Next match is away to Plymouth Argyle.