PETER SKAPETIS netted a brace at Loftus Road tonight as QPR’s Elite Development Squad came from a goal behind to beat Swansea City 2-1.
Josh Sheehan gave the visitors a 13th-minute lead with their first effort on goal before Skapetis took centre stage in the second half.
He levelled matters five minutes after the interval with a powerful, close range strike before sealing victory on 70 minutes with another well taken goal inside the area.
Frankie Sutherland saw his spot-kick well saved moments after Swansea had taken the lead against the run of play, but it didn’t deter the young R’s from producing an excellent performance which, ultimately, gave them the victory they deserved in front of 250 watching supporters.
Marc Bircham opted for an attacking 4-2-3-1 formation for the visit of Swansea.
Joe Lumley was between the sticks for the R’s, while the back four, from left to right, consisted of Yun Suk-Young, Luke Young, Tal Ben Haim and Sam Magri.
Max Ehmer and Sutherland sat in the middle of the park, while Mo Shariff operated on the left, Dylan Carreiro in the middle and Michael Petrasso on the right, with Skapetis in attack.
It was the hosts who started the brighter, and Ehmer went close on three minutes with a low drive which warmed the palms of Swans stopper Dave Cornell on a cold night in W12.
The visitors found it difficult to get out of their half in the early exchanges owing to Rangers’ dominance of possession.
The young R’s were playing with real confidence following their recent wins over Millwall (2-0) and Barnet (8-1), but it was the visitors who took the lead.
With their first attack of the game, Rory Donnelly broke down the left at pace before unselfishly squaring for Josh Sheehan to tap home from close range.
On 17 minutes Rangers were given a great chance to level matters when Keston Davies was adjudged to have brought down Ehmer in the Swansea box.
Sutherland assumed responsibility from 12 yards but saw his well-placed effort brilliantly saved by Cornell, who dived full-stretched to his left to get a firm hand on the ball and push it around the post.
Despite the disappointment, Rangers continued to play with confidence as they looked to get themselves back on level terms.
Shariff did well to get clear down the left wing and pick out Skapetis at the near post, but his deft touch from close range was easily gathered by Cornell.
January-signing Suk-Young had little to do in the opening period at left-back, but on the half hour he comfortably won an aerial challenge, coolly picking out team-mate Skapetis as he did so.
And the Korean was ever-eager to get into more advanced positions down the left side whenever the opportunity arose.
Skapetis nearly levelled matters for the hosts with a stunning strike from 25 yards in the 32nd minute but his drive was well gathered by Cornell.
Suk-Young’s attacking nature nearly paid dividends three minutes later when he got to the byline before producing a fantastic centre to pick out Carreiro, but the Canadian’s volley was charged down.
And as a very one-sided opening half drew to a close, Petrasso sent a fine ball across the face of goal from the left but no-one was on hand to convert the chance.
After the break, Rangers continued where they had left off and were level within five minutes of the restart. Shariff battled valiantly on the right and the ball fell kindly for Skapetis, who cleverly delayed his shot
inside the area before slamming home into the roof of the net, giving Cornell no chance.
It was no less than Rangers deserved after peppering the Swansea goal in the opening half.
And on 58 minutes the R’s nearly took the lead through an unlikely source. Right back Magri exchanged passes with Shariff, before bursting through on goal but his low drive from 16 yards zipped narrowly wide of the far post.
Magri turned provider moments later, getting down the right after a good exchange with Ben Haim to produce a pinpoint centre for Carreiro, but he could only direct his looping header onto the roof of the Swansea net.
With such sustained pressure, it was only a matter of time before QPR took the lead and that duly arrived with 20 minutes to go. Sutherland made a nuisance of himself in the Swans box as the visitors failed to clear, and the ball bounced into the path of Skapetis.
With the keeper challenging, the striker again showed great composure to take his time, using his body as a shield before turning and firing low into the corner of the net.
Clearly in the mood at Loftus Road, Skapetis went close again with ten minutes remaining. Young picked him out with a fine pass over the top, and Skapetis broke clear of the Swans rearguard but saw his powerful half-volley fly straight into the mid-drift of Cornell.
QPR comfortably saw out the closing exchanges to secure victory.
QPR: Joe Lumley, Sam Magri, Yun Suk Young, Max Ehmer, Luke Young, Tal Ben Haim (Jamie Sendles-White, 66), Mo Shariff, Frankie Sutherland, Peter Skapetis, Dylan Carreiro, Michael Petrasso.
Subs not used: Ben Brown, Joshua Hunt-Lauren, Freddie Champion, Tommaso Trani
Goals: Skapetis, 50 & 70
SWANSEA: Dave Cornell, Liam Shepherd (Alex Samuel, 85), Neil Taylor, Josh Sheehan, Tom Atyeo, Keston Davies, Henry Jones, Lee Lucas, Kurtis March, Rory Donnelly, Curtis Obeng
Subs not used: Oliver Davies, Joseph Jones, Connor Roberts, Sam Evans
Goals: Sheehan, 13