Team: McLean, Wardlaw, Searle, Jordinson, Blodgett, Lewin, Pope, Hennessy, Moore, Charles, Hall
Subs: Akerman, Carolan, Curr, Nygaard-Parsons, Cutler
I met up with Sammy outside Park Royal Station for the trip to Ely City’s Demcom Stadium for Rangers’ opening league match of the season against Cambridge City.
The bar was closed due to a staff shortage and the snacks consisted of chip butties and some excellent home-made cakes.
From my vantage point in the stand, Ely Cathedral, which dates back to 1083, was clearly visible above the tree-line.
On a pitch that looked very bumpy and rock-hard, QPR’s starting line-up included new signing, Teni Charles.
Although looking well offside, Katie McLean was forced into making a superb save and only then did the lino raise his flag?
The Lilywhites broke away down the right-wing and after cutting in slightly, Grace Stanley slotted the ball into the far corner.
The home side were denied a second goal when Katie McLean made an excellent save from a powerful header following a corner.
A wonderful ball from Georgie Lewin found Ellie Searle out on the left-flank, which resulted in the Rangers wing-back firing just past the upright.
This was followed by two goalscoring attempts from Brogan Moore. The first one flew over the crossbar from 25 yards, then, after seizing upon a loose ball, she shot directly at the keeper from around 20-yards.
Grace Stanley doubled City’s lead from the penalty spot. Looking harsh, the referee awarded it for an alleged hand-ball?
The Lilywhites had a player booked just before the break for a pull-back on a Rangers player. Half-time: 0-2.
In the opening minutes of the second-half, a great ball by Ellie Searle found Teni Charles in the box, who then tapped her shot just wide of the post.
Ellen Wardlaw was sin-binned, and Grace Stanley completed her hat-trick with a thumping shot into the roof of the net.
The R’s keeper made a very good stop from an angled shot and the ball was cleared to safety.
Steve Quashie replaced Teni Charles and Bella Simmons added a fourth goal following a move down the left-flank and the resulting effort was placed low, into the corner of the net.
Two further changes saw the introduction of Emilia Nygaard-Parsons and Alice Curr at the expense of Erin Pope and Ellen Wardlaw respectively.
Following a water break, the final two substitutes were brought on to replace Brogan Moore and Laura Hennessy.
Rangers pulled a goal back when Alice Curr’s superb strike flew past the City keeper.
This was a very good period for the R’s and Ellie Searle went very close with a low shot that just evaded the far post.
QPR scored a well-deserved second goal when Emilia Nygaard-Parsons got the final touch from close range following a corner.
And in the closing stages, Lauren Jordinson’s header bounced off the crossbar.
City’s manager said after the game: “It was a stressful one. It was a game of two halves really. They panicked us.”
“To be fair, it was a little bit squeaky at the back-end of the game, but we managed to dig in.”
Next up for the R’s is a visit to Carshalton Athletic FC’s War Memorial Sports Ground on Sunday to take on Wimbledon.