QPR Under-18s were beaten by a strong Watford team by four goals to one at a very cold Watford Training Ground on Tuesday afternoon.
Despite taking an early lead through Sinclair Armstrong, the R’s were trailing 3-1 at the break and the hosts wrapped up the scoring in the 75th minute.
Rangers lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with Tom Middlehurst between the sticks, and a back four of Mason McLean, Deon Woodman, Henry Hawkins and Arkell Jude-Boyd. The midfield three were Harrison Murphy, Harun Hamid and Mason Obeng. Omar Eisa and Adam Dougui looked to provide the width with Armstrong leading the line.
The R’s made a fast start through Dougui, who broke down the left-hand side before pulling the ball back to Armstrong, but his shot was saved.
Just a couple minutes later, Rangers did take the lead. A corner was delivered in and after a scramble in the area, Armstrong was on hand to smash the ball past the ‘keeper with his left foot from 12 yards.
Thirteen minutes in the hosts were level. A well-rehearsed corner was finished off from close range after Rangers failed to clear at the back post.
Eisa was then gifted an opportunity after intercepting the ball and skipping past a defender, but his shot was agonisingly saved by the foot of the ‘keeper.
Watford almost scored direct from a free-kick from the edge of the box, but the ball rattled the bar. Moments later, Middlehurst was called into action as he parried the ball away following a long-range effort.
Five minutes before half-time, Watford took the lead from another corner which was delivered in and stabbed home at the near post.
In stoppage time at the end of the half, the hosts then extended their advantage. Having won possession in midfield, they played a lovely through ball to their striker who managed to squeeze a shot past an onrushing Middlehurst.
As the Super Hoops were pushing for a goal, Dougui managed to get in behind the defence on the left wing. He then pulled the ball back to but Jude-Boyd, but the latter's shot was saved by the Watford ‘keeper.
Armstrong caused problems down the left once again. This time he drilled a left-footed shot across goal which was pushed away by the goalkeeper but only as far as Murphy, who fed Obeng to shoot over.
Against the run of play, Watford extended their lead further with about 15 minutes to go. A good bit of skill from their midfielder allowed him to get a shot away and fire the ball into the bottom corner.
A tough one to take, but the R’s will look to bounce back when they travel to Wigan Athletic on Saturday.
QPR: Middlehurst, McClean, Woodman (Trialist 10), Hawkins, Jude-Boyd, Murphy (Castillo 57), Hamid, Obeng, Dougui, Armstrong, Eisa (Sacapon 57).
Report: Len Harvey | Imagery: Ian Randall