A QPR U23’s side that featured many first-team stars beat Colchester United 2-0 at Harlington on Monday afternoon.
Goals from Jan Mlakar and Matt Smith sealed all three points for Paul Hall’s young Rangers side.
Hall’s R’s started the game on the front foot with Olamide Shodipo whipping in a cross that Mlakar was inches away from tapping home, but the Slovenian striker was unable to convert.
Moments later, Shodipo was again at the forefront of Rangers’ attack when the wide man caused trouble down the right flank before picking out Deshane Dalling. However, the opposite winger was only able to put his header wide.
Despite the positive start from the hosts, Colchester grew in confidence and their first chance of the game came quickly after when a counter attack by Dean Ager picked out Michael Fernandes, whose shot was tipped away by Dillion Barnes in the R’s net.
Diogo Freitas-Gouveia was next to go close for the visitors when his trickery enabled him to weave through the Rangers' defence but his effort was straight down the throat of Barnes, ensuring the game remained goalless.
As the clock hit the 20-minute mark, Slovenian striker Mlakar put the R’s ahead when he latched onto a great through ball by Ilias Chair before coolly dinking it over the keeper.
After taking the lead, troublesome Chair continued to threaten Colchester’s defence, but this time his long-range strike was deflected and the sting was taken out of his shot, allowing it to calmly roll into Callum Coulter’s arms.
Hall’s side were unlucky not to double their advantage when a great outside-of-the-boot ball by Chair, found Dalling out wide, who whipped in a neat cross. This time goalscorer Mlakar was denied by Coulter in the U’s net before his follow-up effort smashed into the side netting.
Before the break, Ager again caused the R’s backline trouble when he forced Barnes into a low save, and Freitas-Gouveia could only fire the rebound against the post.
Following the half-time break, Rangers started brightly with midfielder Smith and substitute Stephen Duke-McKenna having chances to double the lead, but the visiting defence stood firm.
A great ball by an influential Smith played in Dalling, before the attacker rounded Coulter in the U’s goal. However, his effort hit the post and was safely collected by the thankful goalkeeper.
Moments later, more good work by Duke-McKenna down the right-hand side eventually found Ben Wells on the edge of the box, but he couldn’t keep his strike on target as it flashed wide.
As the second half progressed QPR continued to press for a second and they thought they had it when more good link-up play between Smith and Duke-McKenna saw them eventually pick out Dalling, but he was unable to get his shot away before the ball was cleared from danger by Harvey Sayer.
Shodipo was next to go close after some good work by Dalling and Smith then managed to pick out the wide man, but again he saw his shot blocked for a corner kick, which was eventually cleared.
It wasn’t all one-way traffic for the R’s, though, as Freitas-Gouveia had a chance to level proceedings but after a good driving run, he could only drag his effort wide.
With 13 minutes left on the clock, Smith finally doubled the R’s lead when he twisted and turned his way through the visitors' defence before slotting home.
With time petering out, Hall’s side pushed for a third but they ultimately had to settle for two goals and all three points.
QPR Starting XI: Barnes, Williams-Lowe, Domi, Smith, Rowan, Carlyle, Shodipo, B.Wells, Mlakar (45 Duke-McKenna), Chair (61 Frailing), Dallling.
Subs not used: Brzozowski, Duncan.
Goals: Mlakar 21, Smith 77.
Booked: Rowan 71