Berkhamsted (4) – QPR U23 (2)

Team: Bowman, Felix, trialist, Wells, Genovesi, Alfa, Orafu, Bettache, Tilt, Shodipo, trialist.

Attendance: 193

Steve Bacon collected Alan Barnes and myself from outside Greenford Station. Arriving in good time at the Broadwater ground we adjourned to their clubhouse, which was situated just spitting distance from the turnstile.

Just before kick-off the two captains exchanged pennants and I suppose the biggest (but welcome) surprise was the inclusion of Olamide Shodipo in the starting line-up.

The young R’s got off to a good start when Shodipo’s effort was cleared off the line and the follow up attempt hit the crossbar.

However it was the home side who soon took the lead when Matt Bateman took advantage of a loose ball after some poor defending. And then following a corner the Comrades had a free header which was cleared off the line.

With the Rangers back-line all holding their arms up, Zak Howells continued his run and finished by slotting the ball into the back of the net.

At the other end, Shodipo’s long-range shot narrowly evaded the upright, but it was Andrew Ofusu who scored the next goal. He cut in unchallenged from the left-wing and conveniently poked the ball in the corner.

Paul Hall took off Olamide Shodipo after 25 minutes and was replaced by Deshane Dalling. Seven minutes later Dalling pulled a goal back to make the score 1-3.

The R’s could well have scored a second goal but two players got in each other’s way following a corner and the opportunity was lost.

Rangers gave a sloppy ball away which allowed the Comrades player to break free but it came to nothing.

Berkhamsted’s fourth arrived after the ball was weakly headed back towards Bowman which let in Andrew Ofusu to nab his second goal.

After three added minutes were announced the half-time score remained at 1-4. Good to see Lee and Marc Bircham at the interval..

Into the second-half and Rangers were having most of the possession. On 55 minutes Kingsley Eshun was introduced at the expense of one of the trialists.

Three further changes were made six minutes later. Marcin Brzozowski took over in goal, whilst Nathan Carlyle and Joe Gubbins replaced Ben Wells and the other trialist.

Due to the intense heat, play was suspended for another two-minute water break.

Ody Alfa was bundled over in the box on 87 minutes and he made no mistake with his spot kick.

Homeward bound, we stopped off in Kings Langley for a couple of pints and to chew over the game.

Thanks to Steve Bacon for the lift.

Steve Russell