QPR UNDER-21s signed off the 2012/13 season with a 4-0 defeat against Colchester United on Monday.
Marc Bircham’s Elite Development squad were on the receiving end of a four-star performance from their hosts at the U’s Florence Park training ground.
First-half goals from Freddie Ladapo and Ryan Melaugh put Colchester 2-0 up at half-time before Ladapo added his second and Colchester’s third in the 51st minute with Tom Eastman rounding off the scoring just after the hour mark.
Despite the scoreline it was the R’s who started brighter in the early exchanges. Canadian midfielder Michael Petrasso fired over after six minutes before skipper Frankie Sutherland warmed the hands of Colchester keeper Shaun Phillips 60 seconds later.
Petrasso’s countryman - Dylan Carreiro - was the next Rangers player to try his luck from the edge of the U’s penalty box with a right foot drive which also found the arms of Phillips.
As play switched to the other end, R's custodian Joe Lumley was called into action with a fabulous save from Ladapo to keep the scores level.
Josh Hunt-Laurent wasted a good chance on the breakaway after a mistake from Colchester midfielder Jordan Sanderson saw him give up possession to Hunt-Laurent but his effort sailed comfortably over the bar before the hosts opened their account two minutes later.
Play shifted out to the right-wing and Mason Spence was afforded time to whip the ball into the R’s box for Ladapo to head home from eight yards to put the U’s 1-0 up.
Ten minutes later and Ben Brown went close to cancelling out Colchester’s opener but his angled shot fizzed wide of the far post following a strong drive from midfield.
That proved to be a rare chance for Bircham’s young charges as Colchester doubled their lead two minutes before the half-time whistle. Connor Hubble, on trial with the League One side after being told he would not be offered a deal at QPR, played Melaugh through one-on-one before calmly beating Lumley to make it 2-0.
Rangers made a change after the break with Freddie Champion making way for Brandon Conley but it was Colchester who were to further extend their hold on the match in the 51st minute.
Lumley did well in the R’s goal to parry a shot from Sanderson but, with the QPR backline failing to clear the loose ball, Ladapo hooked it home for his second goal of the afternoon.
Three soon became four as the impressive Ladapo fired in another effort on goal. It looked to be on target but Eastman made sure as he helped it into the net from close range.
Ladapo then had a sniff of a hat-trick but Lumley was equal to his shot from 12 yards before R’s substitute Emmanuel Monthe headed over from Conley’s cross. Moments later Monthe won a corner with a shot from the edge of the area, forcing Phillips to push wide.
Lumley was then to thwart Ladapo for a further time with a smart save to his left two minutes from the end as the R’s season ended with a blot in their otherwise solid copybook.
Colchester: Phillips; O’Donoghue, Olufemi, Sanderson, Ball, Hubble, Melaugh, Lapslie, Spence, Eastman (Kent 67), Ladapo.
Subs not used: Bonne, Szmodics, Nwachuku, Roast.
QPR: Lumley; Magri, Kpekawa, Champion (Conley 46), Parmenter, Young, Hunt-Laurent (Mitchell 65), Sutherland, Brown (Monthe 70), Carreiro, Petrasso.
Subs not used: Furlong, Trani.