Swindon Town U18s v QPR U18s
PAUL Furlong’s QPR Under-18s kicked-off their FA Youth Cup campaign in style with a convincing 3-1 win at Swindon Town on Tuesday night.
Kingsley Eshun’s opener gave Rangers the lead at the County Ground, albeit not for long after Christian Frimpong’s header hauled Town level before the break.
But it was to be the visitors’ night in Wiltshire, as Josh Bowler’s penalty and Romeo Akinola’s sublime free-kick soon after sealed the R’s passage into the Fourth Round.
It was the hosts who came out of the traps quickest, threatening twice inside the opening eight minutes.
Sol Pryce would have picked out the top corner but for an athletic save from Marcin Brzozowski, while Scott Twine wasn’t far away from turning in strike partner Jordan Young’s centre.
Twine had a clearer opportunity shortly after but couldn’t direct his header on target when unmarked six yards out.
At the other end, Rangers should have opened the scoring from their first attack of note. Amrit Bansal-McNulty danced through the Swindon defence but could only slide his shot wide with the goal gaping.
But Furlong’s youngsters did manage to break the deadlock just after the half-hour mark. Bowler and Bansal-McNulty both saw shots saved, but goalkeeper Archie Matthews could do nothing to prevent Eshun tucking home the rebound.
The lead lasted just five minutes, though. An inviting free-kick from the right found Frimpong, who dispatched his header past Brzozowski to quickly restore parity.
Rangers had Brzozowski to thank for keeping the scores level going into the break. Young let fly from 25 yards but again the R’s goalkeeper was equal to the effort, flying to his left to divert the ball to safety.
Chances dried up somewhat after the re-start as both sides looked to take the initiative.
That was until the hour-mark, however. After Bansal-McNulty was bundled over just inside the box, Bowler stepped up and coolly sent Matthews the wrong way from the penalty spot.
And it was so nearly a third minutes later. Matthews could only spill a shot into Eshun, but the ball ricocheted agonisingly the wrong side of the post.
Rangers did add a decisive third goal, though, and in some style. Akinola picked out the bottom corner from 25 yards, curling his free-kick around the wall and beyond Matthews’ despairing dive to all but seal victory.
Swindon responded with a series of corners which forced Brzozowski once more into action – twice saving in quick succession – but they ultimately came to nothing, as Rangers weathered the late storm to celebrate victory.
They can look forward to welcoming Tottenham Hotspur to Loftus Road in the Fourth Round.
QPR: Brzozowski, Barzey, Genovesi, Mesias, Eales, Fox, Francis-Adeyinka, Akinola, Eshun, Bansal-McNulty, Bowler.
Subs (not used): Springer-Downes, Bowman, Platt, McLeod, Kifwasima.
Booked: Genovesi, Bansal-McNulty.
Goals: Eshun 33, Bowler 62 (pen), Akinola 71.