QPR U18 (3) – Gillingham U18 (O)

Puma Youth Alliance Cup Southern Area Final

Team: Putnins, Cox, Waters, Harris, Wright, Davenport, Smith, Ehmer, German, Vanterpool, Parker.
Subs: Bulmer, Perring, Bailey, Sutherland, Nanetti

This was to be a complete reversal of the score and the inclement weather from nearly twelve months ago when Colchester United knocked the R’s out of the Cup by three goals to nil in very wet and very blustery conditions. This time Rangers progressed to the Final by the same score-line in warm and sunny weather at Harlington. Incidently Antonio German and Terry Smith were the ony players to feature in both these matches.

But it was the visitors who almost took the lead early on when a free kick from the edge of the box was headed off the line and their follow up effort was cleared. Josh Parker was having another very good game and after an excellent cross into the box, two attempts went close before the ball was cleared for a corner. A lovely pass from Elliott Cox to Cyrus Vanterpool down the right flank resulted in a pin-point cross to an un-marked Terry Smith who powerfully headed the ball into the net after 18 minutes. The R’s went further ahead when a wonderful through ball to Parker was coolly put away with only the keeper to beat. He nearly got another but for a flying save from their keeper. He was proving to be a real handful for the Gillingham defence which resulted in an awful challenge right in front of us ! There was another flare up on the other side of the pitch but eventually things began to calm down again. Half time: 2-0.

Although Rangers were well on top, the second half was getting a bit stale. The visitors didn’t really look like getting back into the game but then a good ball into the box was superbly intercepted by Aaron Waters. We still thought that a third goal was required to seal the tie and Max Ehmer was on hand to place the ball neatly in the corner after a mix-up between the Gills keeper and the full back. 3-0 to the R’s but at the other end, ‘Elvis’ Putnins made an outstanding finger-tip save to deny Gillingham a consolation. Danny Davenport had an excellent match but following a heavy challenge in the closing stages, he limped off and was replaced by Christian Nanetti. Earlier in the half, Keith Ryan had brought on Frankie Sutherland and ‘Reggie’ Perring at the expense of Terry Smith and Cyrus Vanterpool.

Well done to Keith Ryan, Steve Gallen and the team and good luck in the final against either Grimsby Town or Tranmere next month. Last year’s winners were Hull City who defeated Colchester Unted. I thought that there might of been a bigger turnout but the Saturday Morning Mob were out in force with Alan Barnes, Robbie Bennett, Roger Stokes, Froods, Big Paul, jbee, Julia, Pat and Tom Harrison all in attendance. Thanks to Roger for the lift to Conningham Road.

Steve Russell