QPR U18 (0) – Nottingham Forest U18 (1)

The U18’s came into this match with a magnificent unbeaten start to the season. The latest opponents, Nottingham Forest, were one of the sides that had been added to the fixture list last month.

Rangers lined up as follows: Smith, Furlong, Kakay, Comley, Wise, Kpekawa, Young, Mitchell, Butler, Shodipo, Grego-Cox.

Within minutes, Cole Kpekawa was on hand to block a shot and then Rangers went close when a header was cleared off the line following Brandon Comley’s corner. At the other end, a dangerous shot evaded Mark Smith, but just cleared the crossbar. The R’s keeper then managed to palm Forest’s next effort, hit with some venom, round the post for a corner.

A good period of play from the R’s then followed, and after a very good move, Reece Grego-Cox snatched at the ball which was always going wide. A better effort from him came following a good ball in and their keeper was forced down to save with his chest. Cole Kpekawa almost opened the scoring, but the keeper appeared to make the save courtesy of his backside!

A free header from a corner then left the Forest defence in disarray and the ball hitting the post, but the referee blew up for handball. Good work from Grego-Cox saw him winning the ball back, but his shot drifted just wide.

Despite the R’s having the best of the half, it was the visitors who took the lead around 5 minutes before the break after Forest were awarded a free kick on QPR’s left flank. From the set-piece, the ball sailed over to the far post which Karo headed down into the bottom corner.

Rangers started the 2nd half less fluid as Forest upped their game. However, it was the R’s who found the back of the net, but unfortunately Grego-Cox was ruled offside. Mark Smith made a very good save to deny Forest doubling their score.

A minute or so later, Steve Gallen replaced George Butler with Ben Pattie. Last month this former Hemel Hempstead Town Academy graduate signed a two-year deal with the R’s.

Nathan Corkery replaced Olamide Shodipo after 77 minutes which added some pace to the proceedings. Last week Corkery was named in the Republic of Ireland U17 squad for the forthcoming Euro Championship Qualifying Tournament.

Rangers had another goal-bound effort cleared off the line following a corner. With just minutes remaining, Ryan Young left the field and on came Tyrell Mitford.

Frustrating as it was, the R’s finished strongly and although they deserved something out of the game, it has to be said that Forest are a decent outfit.

The Saturday Morning Crew also included Alan Barnes, Ray Davenport, Brian Clark, Rob Bennett, Roger Stokes and Clive Kingham.

Steve Russell