QPR PICKED up their first win in the U21 Professional Development League Two this evening with a 2-0 victory over Millwall at Loftus Road.
Mo Sharif scored the opener on 68 minutes while Rob Hulse doubled Rangers’ lead seven minutes later in a match which saw Kieron Dyer and Alejandro Faurlin come through an hour of action unscathed.
In front of the watching Chairman Tony Fernandes, Technical Director Mike Rigg and Head of Academy and Football Operations Shaun Hallett, QPR’s U21 team – which included the eligible three over-aged players – started with Aaron Lennox in goal, Michael Harriman at right back, captain Max Ehmer and Taylor Parmenter in the centre of defence, and Jamie Sendles-White at left back.
In the centre of the park, Faurlin was joined by Dyer, while Frankie Sutherland started on the left and Sharif on the right.
Hulse played the lone role in attack, with Michael Doughty playing just off him.
There were few chances in the opening five minutes but Faurlin produced a lovely piece of individual skill in the middle of the park which drew admiring applause from the 300-plus supporters in attendance.
On eight minutes the first opportunity of the game arrived, and it was Dyer who nearly gave Rangers the lead. After a lovely one-two with Doughty, the former West Ham man’s shot from a tight angle was pushed wide by Steve Milldenhall in the Lions goal.
Hulse was next to work the visiting stopper, firing a low drive from 15 yards towards the bottom right corner but Milldenhall comfortably gathered.
At the other end of the pitch, Millwall’s Aiden O’Brien should have done better with a close range header from a corner on 18 minutes but his effort flashed wide of Lennox’s goal.
With the game 20 minutes old, Rangers again went close to breaking the deadlock. This time Sharif produced a lovely low delivery from the right but Hulse was unfortunate not to convert the ball goalwards from a tight angle at the far post.
Meanwhile, Lennox had to be alert to stop Khari O’Regun’s drive from the edge of the area just past the half-hour mark.
Moments later, Dyer skipped past Jack Sammoutis before playing a delightful eye-of-the-needle pass to release Sharif but his shot from 16 yards was easily stopped by Milldenhall.
As the half drew to a close, there was still time for a brilliant piece of skill by Faurlin. As the ball dropped from the sky, the R’s midfielder managed to control the ball AND take on a Lions player with one touch.
It led to another round of applause from the supporters.
And just before the half-time whistle Harriman got forward to fizz a long-range effort just wide of the post from 25 yards.
Rangers flew out of the blocks after the break with Sharif going close twice within the opening two minutes. Firstly he saw his powerful drive from the edge of the box well saved by Milldenhall.
From the resultant corner, Doughty’s centre was met well by Sharif but his header flashed wide from close range.
Moments later, Faurlin was once again at his creative best. On the edge of the box, while looking one way he clipped the ball in the opposite direction into the path of Doughty whose curling effort drifted just wide of the far post.
The Rangers defence was rarely tested up until this point but Ehmer produced a stunning block-tackle to stop Connor Wilkinson after the Lions striker jinked his way into the Rangers penalty area.
Just before the hour-mark, the hard-working Dyer was replaced by Bruno Andrade and with his first touch of the game, the Rangers youngster nearly scored the opening goal of the night but his long-range effort was brilliantly saved by Milldenhall.
Faurlin was next to be replaced, and the popular midfielder received a standing ovation following an excellent run-out which saw him complete 63 minutes of action.
QPR’s dominance finally paid off five minutes later when Andrade created space down the left and produced a teasing cross to the far post which Sharif bravely stooped to head home.
It was no more than Rangers deserved after enjoying large spells of possession in the Millwall half.
And that lead was doubled on 77 minutes, with Andrade’s impressive cameo appearance helping create another goal.
Again he caused problems down the left flank and this time pulled the ball back across the turf for Doughty. With time to pick his spot, the R’s midfielder looked to find the bottom corner from 16 yards and as the ball headed goalwards, Hulse toe-poked home to deceive Lions keeper Milldenhall.
In the closing stages of the game there were no further clear-cut opportunities for either side but Glyn Hodges and Marc Bircham will surely be pleased with the performance of their side.
The displays of Faurlin and Dyer were undoubted plus points, while a number of the youngsters excelled.
All in all, a good night’s work for QPR’s development side.
QPR: Lennox, Harriman, Sendles-White, Faurlin (Hunt-Laurent, 63), Parmenter, Ehmer, Sutherland, Dyer (Andrade, 58), Hulse, Doughty, Shariff (Hitchcock, 76).
Subs: Petrasso, Trani