QPR U23 (1) – Orlando Pirates (2)

Team: Herdman, trialist, Williams, Owens, Finney, trialist, trialist, Rowe, Emmanuel-Thomas, Chair, Grego-Cox

Subs Used: Hudnott, Darbyshire, Oteh, Fox, Mesias, Disubi, Bansal-McNulty, Akinola, Dauti

This interesting U23’s friendly was played last Friday at the Heston training ground.

The Orlando Pirates were formed in 1937 and are based in Johannesburg.

There were no team sheets issued, but we began to note the Rangers starting line-up. The biggest surprise was the inclusion of Jay Emmanuel-Thomas.

The South Africans’ all-black kit clashed with the linesmen, so within minutes the officials were issued with green bibs.

Rangers got off to a good start and took the lead after 8 minutes. Their keeper parried the ball to a well-placed Emmanuel-Thomas, who made no mistake, hooking the ball into the net from close range.

The Pirates then had a productive spell, creating a number of good chances in the process. A ball squared from the right into the box was hit first time, but cleared the bar.

They then went even closer just after, when an effort was floated goal-bound and the R’s custodian watched it come off the post.

The visitors No.23 shot down the left-wing and his low cross wasn’t cleared by an R’s defender. The ball fell to another South African player and the opportunity went out for a corner.

A lovely passage of play through midfield from the home side involved Ilias Chair, who superbly set up a team mate, but his shot was fired wide.

Just before half-time, Martin Herdman made a super save after the Pirates’ player had twisted round in the box and pulled the trigger. Half-time: 1-0.

After the break, Conor Hudnott replaced Martin Herdman in goal and Daniel Disubi came on for Jack Williams.

The Pirates optimistically appealed for a penalty when the ball was fired at Alex Finney. They then went very close when a dipping shot just evaded the crossbar.

On 52 minutes, Jay Emmanuel-Thomas was replaced by former Tottenham youngster, Aramide Oteh.

A few minutes later, Paul Hall made four further changes when he introduced; Akinola, Fox, Bansal-McNulty and Dauti at the expense of; Chair, Owens, Finney and Rowe.

And the final changes were made close to the hour mark when Danny Darbyshire replaced Reece Grego-Cox on the left-wing, and Aiden Mesias replaced a trialist.

With so many changes in a short space of time, it wasn’t a surprise when the Pirates equalised from a one-on-one header.

The visitors almost got their noses in front shortly after, following a counter-attack made at speed. The resulting shot hit a divot and received a slight deflection en route, before going behind for a corner.

The match had become a lot more physical and the Pirates No.19 got his second goal when he was on hand to finish from close range after Conor Hudnott had initially made a superb save.

This dramatic winner was agonisingly 47 seconds (thanks Chris) prior to the final whistle.

The Heston Afternoon Crew also included; Alan Barnes, ChrisPTenner and Roger Stokes.

Steve Russell

(The above pic was taken by ChrisPTenner and is used with permission)