U23 Professional Development League 2
Team: Salamon, Kakay, Woodman, Trialist, Williams-Lowe, Bettache, Ajose, Owens, Lloyd, Flaherty, Mema
Subs: Cant, Anthony, Conte, Aoraha
This was my first visit to the Wallace Binder Stadium, the home of Maldon & Tiptree FC. The ground consisted of three small stands, one of them was behind a goal and the other twowere situated on either side of the pitch. Behind the other goal was a grass bank.
On the bench was young goalkeeper Harry Cant, who I was told, only turned seventeen in January and also defender Elijah Anthony who had celebrated his 18th birthday just a few weeks previously.
In front of a sparse attendance of between thirty and forty, the R’s lined up with four at the back, which included a trialist, who, apparently had been on West Brom’s books.
Rangers got off to a productive start with the first effort coming from Joseph Ajose.
Then, the away side won a corner following good work by Stan Flaherty. This resulted in Alfie Lloyd heading over the crossbar.
Joseph Ajose burst forward and as he approached the goal he shot wide of the far post.
But it was the home side who took the lead after 13 minutes from their first real attack of the afternoon. After they had won a corner, Harry Beadle’s looping header from 15-yards evaded the R’s keeper.
Faysal Bettache went on a good run and laid the ball off to Ajose, who’s shot by the near post was saved by the U’s keeper.
After the R’s had lost possession, the subsequent shot hit Matteo Salamon in the stomach before going behind for a corner.
The resulting cross was cleared off the line and then during the melee the ball came off the upright. The ref spotted that the Colchester No.9 had kicked at the Rangers keeper and booked him.
I was told that he had had scored a hat-trick against the Rangers U18’s earlier in the season.
Later, after being clearly fouled, Faysal Bettache was booked for remonstrating with the referee!
Chay Cooper was the next player to be shown a yellow card following a foul on Charlie Owens. The Rangers No.4 then belted the ball from fully 30-yards and it looked as if the U’s keeper had tipped it onto the bar
But in the process of making the save he stayed down for some time and eventually he had to be helped off and was replaced.
The home side doubled their lead on 35 minutes from the penalty spot. Chay Cooper stepped up and drilled the ball into the net.
It was still the away side doing most of the attacking. Alfie Lloyd set up Osman Kakay, but his shot was struck straight at the keeper. The corner was delivered low into the box and Deon Woodman’s effort finished wide of the upright.
The U’s No.8 took off down the left-wing, which got him to the bye-line, but good defending by Woodman nullified the threat as he put the ball behind.
At the other end, Armelindo Mema twisted and turned his way forward before setting himself up for a strike on goal. The referee blew his whistle as the ball was still coming down. Half-time: 0-2.
Into the second-half and it was unusual to see QPR winger, Armelindo Mema with his socks rolled down, which reminded me of Dave Thomas all those years ago.
Rangers were straight out of the blocks and after taking a pass from Ajose, an overlapping Osman Kakay fed Alfie Lloyd in the box, but the R’s striker shot wide.
The R’s got the goal they deserved on the hour-mark. From a free kick 25-yards out, Charlie Owens took just four steps back and then let fly. The ball flew in via the underside of the crossbar.
From a corner, Deon Woodman got his head to the ball, but it lacked power. As it came back to him, he spun round, and his shot then hit the underside of the crossbar before being cleared to safety.
Rangers equalised six minutes later. A ball in from the right reached Osman Kakay, who then directed his shot into the bottom corner.
Following a spell of penalty-box pinball, Ajose attempted to connect with the ball in mid-air, but the ball went behind for a goal-kick.
The Rangers trialist was booked for a foul on Chay Cooper and Paul Furlong brought on Alex Aoraha at the expense of Armelindo Mema.
Rangers got the win they deserved after dominating the second-half.
Thanks to Sammy for the lift.