QPR UNDER-21s provided stiff competition for Stevenage’s first team in a friendly on Tuesday despite slipping to a 3-1 defeat at Broadhall Way.
The League One outfit were made to wait until the second-half to find the breakthrough before goals from James Dunne and Sam Hoskins handed the hosts the advantage.
R’s frontman Troy Hewitt reduced the deficit ten minutes from time but Steve Beleck completed the scoring two minutes later to restore Boro’s two-goal cushion.
Despite defeat, Rangers boss Marc Bircham was proud of his young guns, who were unfortunate to leave Hertfordshire on the losing side.
“We lost 3-1 but all three goals were mistakes,” Bircham told www.qpr.co.uk.
“It was a hard game but it was a great test for us, especially for the younger lads.
“It’s good to show them the level that they have to aspire to if they want to make it as a professional.”
Bircham used Tuesday’s outing to experiment once again with his side, which included two trialists and five from the R’s Under-18s squad.
“That’s why we play these games,” Bircham said. “It means we can try a few things out and have a look at a few different options.
Bircham was also pleased to see a familiar name on the scoresheet, as Hewitt capped his return from a successful loan spell with League Two side Bury with a goal.
The R's boss added: “Troy’s come back looking sharp and hungry.
“He did really well and scored a deserved goal with a great strike.”
It also proved to a busy afternoon for Bircham and co. off the pitch as no fewer than three members of his Under-21s side agreed deals on loan.
Jordan Gibbons and Michael Doughty both sealed temporary switches to the SPL with Inverness Caledonian Thistle and St Johnstone respectively, while Michael Harriman extended his stay with Gareth Ainsworth's Wycombe Wanderers until the end of the season.
It takes the number of R’s youngsters out on loan to six, following in the footsteps of Bruno Andrade (Wycombe), Tom Hitchcock (Bristol Rovers) and Frankie Sutherland (Portsmouth).
“It’s all part of the plan I had at the start of the season, to get players out on loan,” Bircham said.
“I think it’s the first time really we’ve had so many on loan at Football League clubs.
“Hopefully there might be a few others too between now and the end of the season.”