QPR UNDER-23S’ long unbeaten run finally came to an end against Watford on Monday.
Paul Hall’s side – who hadn’t tasted defeat since September – suffered their first loss in 10 games after a devastating double from Hornets striker Michael Folivi.
Alex Baptiste’s late header threatened a comeback but it proved to be just a consolation.
It was a quiet start at Harlington, with Paul Smyth having one of the R’s rare chances in the opening stages. His burst from the right ended with his shot going just wide, though.
Matt Smith had the R’s next effort of note but he too couldn’t find the target – hooking a volley wide after good work from Ilias Chair to dig out a cross.
Watford always carried a threat at the other end and it was they who made the breakthrough on the half-hour mark. Folivi showed a deft touch to guide his curling effort beyond the despairing dive of Marcin Brzozowski from just inside the box.
Smith’s afternoon ended soon after following a nasty blow to the face which required treatment, while Sean Goss came closest to an equaliser before half-time when his free-kick curled just over.
A much-improved Rangers returned after the break and should have been level. Baptiste spurned a glorious chance when he turned over Goss’ corner from close-range, while Ryan Manning went close with a free-kick.
Lewis Walker too threatened but he was denied by Watford goalkeeper Dante Baptiste who stood tall to repel the striker’s shot.
Despite the R’s pressure, it was Watford and Folivi again who struck the all-important second goal. Another stunning strike saw the striker curl this one in off the far upright from 20 yards.
Rangers managed to pull one back six minutes from time – Baptiste heading home a Goss free-kick – and piled on the pressure at the death, but it proved too little too late.
QPR U23: Brzozowski, Baptiste, Genovesi, Goss, Rowan (Owens 52), Phillips, Smyth, Manning, Walker (Bansal-McNulty 70), Chair, Smith (Alfa 38).
Sub (not used): Dickinson.
Goal: Baptiste 84.
Images courtesy of Tom Smeeth.
Highlights: QPR U23s 1, Watford U23s 2
QPR Under-23s unbeaten run came to an end at Harlinbgton following a 2-1 defeat against Watford.