FA Youth Cup 4th Round
Team: Bulmer, Wright, ilesanmi, Ehmer, Harris, Olley, Parker, Perring, German, Smith, Sylvan-Vanterpool.
Subs Used: Cox for Ehmer, Nanetti for Sylvan-Vanterpool, Bailey for Olley.
Not Used: Brittain and Molloy.
The draw for the next Round had already taken place and the winners of this tie were set to play away to Manchester City who had just beaten Portsmouth 1-0. There were two changes to the R’s starting line-up that had fought back magnificently to see off Bristol City 5-3 in Round 3. Regular keeper, Niki-Lee Bulmer returned to replace ‘Elvis’ Putnins and Danny Davenport was unavailable due to illness so Andrew ‘Reggie’ Perring stepped in at number 8. I was disappointed to note that there was no keeper on our bench ? The two Newcastle fans sitting in front of me said that their side had been on a eight game winning run earlier in the season and to watch out for their number 9, a certain Nile Ranger. I had though, read about Ryan Donaldson who had scored his first Reserve goal aged 15 and 315 days at Blackburn in 2007. He had also made the 1st team bench at Old Trafford in August and scored both goals on his debut for the England U17’s against Denmark.
With less than 30 seconds on the clock, the visitors took advantage of a poor clearance and their full back was allowed to shoot wide from 25 yards. 5 minutes later Newcastle took the lead. McCrudden’s free kick into the box was headed home by an unmarked Henderson with Bulmer standing in no-man’s land. A cross this time from the right was neatly headed down and Bulmer had to dive low to make the save. A Newcastle player burst through and goal number two was thwarted by Bulmer as he stood his ground. Rangers were getting over their early nerves and began to penetrate themselves. Perring was unlucky when his shot came off of a defender and skied just over the bar for a corner.
Perring was involved again when his pass set up German but the Newcastle keeper was quickly on hand to deny his opportunity. At the other end, Bulmer had to spread himself to make another great save this time with his legs. His next one was even better when he somehow made a save from an unmarked player at point blank range. Rangers were just not picking up the opposition’s runners but were still in the game thanks mainly to Niki Bulmer. With the Linesman’s flag up for a foul on a Newcastle player, Mr Mason either didn’t see it or decided to play on and Ed Harris mopped up magnificently in the box to clear the danger. It was felt that their second choice keeper wasn’t being tested enough. Then a Josh Parker effort from 25 yards was put round the post by Max Johnson for a corner. Half Time: 0-1
QPR got off to a good start and could of soon equalised. Vanterpool’s cross found Parker and his shot was well saved and with defenders blocking the goal he couldn’t follow it up. Nile Ranger was booked for throwing the ball away. The visitors went further ahead when a long free kick up field found Taylor in acres of space and he then blasted the ball into the top corner. Two down and another good header was well saved by Bulmer. Max Ehmer left the field to be replaced by Elliott Cox. Andrew Perring took a free kick on the edge of the box which resulted in a number of efforts to score as the ball pinged around the goal mouth.
Antonio German broke through but their keeper came racing out to clear. Christian Nanetti was introduced at the expense of Cyrus Sylvan-Vanterpool. A diagonal ball through the R’s defence and Bulmer had to make yet another great save. With around 15 minutes to go, a long ball bounced the wrong side of Ed Harris and Williams took advantage to slot home number three. Steve Brown made his final adjustment of the night when Danny Bailey came on for Luke Olley. Rangers deservedly pulled one back when Josh Parker put over a lovely ball across the box for Terry Smith to score. The visitors should of scored their fourth when Nile Ranger unbelievably put the ball wide from just yards out and this was then followed by another great save from Bulmer. Just before the ninety minute mark, the R’s had a golden opportunity to make added time very interesting but unfortunately Josh Parker missed the target from 5 yards. Only 3 minutes were added before the referee blew the final whistle.
The official attendance was given as 517 and special praise must be given to Niki-Lee Bulmer for a string of magnificent saves. It has to be said that with no ball boys situated within the other three sides of the Ground, it’s embarrassing to see the players clambering over walls and seating to retrieve the ball. If the ball is deemed too far away to collect a new one is introduced. Not only that but these stoppages must break the players’ concentration and is certainly not reflected in the time that is added on. Thanks to Joe English for the lift home.