OLAMIDE Shodipo played 45 minutes as he bids to return to full fitness as QPR Under-23s lost 2-1 at Colchester Untied on Monday evening.
The 21-year-old has been missing since a thigh injury in September required him to undergo surgery to resolve the issue.
He came through a half at the Jobserve Stadium unscathed as Amrit Bansal-McNulty’s first-half strike handed the R’s a half-time lead.
However, a second-half Colchester United penalty and an 87th-minute winner from sub Jake Hutchinson meant the R’s youngsters suffered a third straight defeat.
An early chance for the R's fell to Caden Genovesi as he charged down a clearance from U's keeper Dillon Barnes but it cannoned off the QPR full-back and just over the bar.
Chay Tilt was next-up to test the home keeper but his low drive on the instep from 12-yards was parried away by the keeper after Amrit Bansal-McNulty teed him up, before Olamide Shodipo, making his first appearance since returning from injury, drifted a curling effort wide of the post from distance.
R’s defender Kraig Noel-McLeod then saw his volley from a corner saved before Amrit Bansal-McNulty put Paul Hall’s side in front.
A well-weighted through ball from Chay Tilt was dummied by Aiden Mesias allowing Bansal-McNulty to race into the U’s area before beating Dillion in the far corner to make it 1-0.
Just after the half an hour mark R’s keeper Marcin Brzozowski was called into action for the first time as fisted behind Dean Ager’s top corner effort to preserve Rangers one-goal advantage and ensure QPR led at the break.
Dillon De Silva replaced Shodipo at half-time and the Under-18s winger almost made an instant impact as he turned wide of the upright from six-yards following Tilt’s centre four minutes into the second half before Ager responded at the other end riffling over from just inside the Hoops box.
Efforts from Ollie Sims and Louis Dunne saw Colchester try to claw themselves level but fortunately for QPR they were high and wide of the target respectively.
Colchester were offered a route back into the game in the 69th minute when Todd Miller was upended in the QPR box. The referee pointed to the spot and Louis Dunn sent Brzozowski the wrong way from the spot to make it 1-1.
Rangers should have sealed the win though eight minutes from time when De Silva had just the keeper to beat but Barnes blocked with his body before Mikel Platt’s acrobatic effort was headed off the line.
It proved costly as Colchester sealed victory three minutes from time when substitute Jake Hutchinson slid in at the back post to covert Ager’s cross less than 60 seconds after coming on for the home side.
QPR U23s XI: Brzozowski, Felix (Wells 63), Genovesi, Bettache, Omar (Fox 63), Noel-McLeod, Tilt, Mesias, Platt, Bansal-McNulty, Shodipo (De Silva 46).
Subs not used: Bowman.
Goal: Bansal-McNulty 18.