Colchester United, 1 QPR 1
FA Women’s Premier League
FOLLOWING their heavy defeat against Gillingham on the opening day of the season, Rangers put in a much-improved performance at Colchester United recently and, with it, earned a deserved share of the spoils.
The game against the Gills was a big learning curve for QPR’s youthful new team. For only their second game together, they faced a strong Colchester side that only narrowly missed out on promotion last term.
Rangers blooded two young debutants into the starting line-up – midfielder Emma Davies and goalkeeper Sophie Cheadle – with the hope that they could play a big part in helping the R’s pick up their first points of the campaign.
Both teams battled to stamp their authority on the match early on and, as a result, the majority of the play was contested in the middle of the park, with neither team applying consistent pressure or creating any scoring opportunities of note.
After the 20-minute mark QPR started to find their momentum and showed more promising link-up play between the midfield and forwards – a result of which saw both Kim Meadows and Kasha Petit go close to breaking the deadlock with efforts that tested the U’s keeper.
Rangers deservedly took the lead in the 39th minute following a corner. A Sarah Staples delivery found Louise Naylor at the far post, who powered her header home to give the R’s the advantage.
Unfortunately for Rangers their lead did not last long, with Colchester quickly responding when they hit back two minutes later. A cross from the right wing caused confusion in the Hoops defence, leaving Colchester’s striker unmarked to head home.
In the second half it was Colchester who came out stronger. However, despite the home side enjoying the lion’s share of possession, they could not break down a well-organised Rangers.
As the half progressed the U’s continually piled on the pressure – forcing one corner after another – but Cheadle in the visitors’ goal was in fine form to make sure that nothing got past her.
Rangers made a couple of late changes in attack in the hope of snatching all three points and thought that tactical change had paid off in the dying minutes when substitute Stacey McConville found the back of the net with a superb header, only for an offside flag to rule it out.
Star Player – Sophie Fogarty – QPR’s player of the match, Fogarty’s (pictured, above) tireless work-rate and continuous breaking up of the play in midfield was second to none. She showed experience beyond her years in the centre of the park.
QPR Ladies: Cheadle, Ishmael, Walker, Staples, Naylor, Dempster, Sills, Fogarty (McConville 74), Petit, Davies (Walsh 80), Meadows. Subs not used: Swift, Wendon.