U23 Professional Development League
Team: Dieng, Kakay, Hamalainen (Arthur), Manning, Finney, Paul, Bowler, Akinola, Alfa (Crichlow), Eze, Prohouly
Subs Not Used: Herdman, Klass
It was the turn of Timothy Seny Dieng to be made captain and this Friday afternoon encounter at Loftus Road kicked off in blazing sunshine.
For some reason the Rangers defence looked very shaky and all over the place in the opening 15 minutes or so!
This early pressure was elevated when a long ball from Eze in a midfield position, sent Josh Bowler on his way, who then managed to win a corner.
Colchester had a good opportunity to open the scoring when a ball placed across the six-yard box ended up being lofted well wide.
At the other end, Josh Bowler put a great ball into the six-yard box, which the U’s defender just managed to clear round the post for a corner.
A United player got into a good shooting position, looked up, belted the ball, and as the R’s defender turned his back, the ball rebounded off his heel.
Ryan Manning put a great ball into the box and the subsequent effort from Axel Prohouly was shot low which James Bransgrove managed to save with his legs.
Soon after, the Colchester captain, Dexter Peter, was penalized for tugging (I think?) Alex Finney;s shirt. Eberechi Eze stepped up to put the ball cleanly to the keeper’s right.
The visitors equalized a couple of minutes before the break following a free kick. The initial shot went through Finney’s legs and was then blocked, but Decarrey Sheriff belted his second effort into the corner of the net. Half-time: 1-1.
Ody Alfa went on a great run down the left wing and as he cut in to the box at speed a United defender stuck out a leg which brought him down. Mr. Richardson had no hesitation pointing to the spot for the second time.
Ryan Manning thumped the spot kick, which shook the frame of the goal, then chipped his follow-up effort, which also bounced off the crossbar. The next attempt was knocked well over but would have been ruled offside anyway.
On 54 minutes, Ody Alfa was replaced by Gianni Crichlow after receiving a knock.
Remarkably, Rangers were awarded a third penalty on the hour mark after Niko Hamalainen was pulled back by Dion Sembie-Ferris. Eze’s low shot to Bransgrove’s right was well saved but Crichlow flew in to finish it off.
Osman Kakay received what appeared to be a harsh booking as he was endeavoring to take a throw-in!
Rangers went close to adding another goal when I think, Chris Paul (?) headed the ball just wide of the post as the U’s keeper desperately scrambled back.
In the 69th minute, Jeremy Arthur came on at the expense of Niko Hamalainen.
The visitors equalized after 82 minutes when Eoin McKeown lobbed the R’s custodian after a defensive mistake.
With a minute or so remaining and following a long, patient build-up, Josh Bowler found Gianni Crichlow who then tapped the ball into the bottom corner to earn Rangers a well deserved three points.