QPR U23’s returned to winning ways on Friday afternoon, courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Watford in the Professional Development League 2 South.
Strikes from Charlie Kelman and Stephen Duke-Mckenna was enough to secure a fairly comfortable win for the R’s at Vicarage Road.
Both sides started brightly, but it was Paul Hall’s Rangers side with some familiar names in the starting XI who were able to carve out the first real opportunity of the half.
Kelman was able to create some space on the edge of the box, only for his effort to be comfortably palmed away by Hornet’s keeper Adam Parkes.
Despite this, it became a very even first-half, with the R’s continuing to see a lot of the ball, but unable to turn this into any sort of goalscoring threat.
On the half an hour mark, troublesome Kelman felt he should’ve had a penalty kick, when he went down from a Achraf Lazaar challenge – only for the referee to wave play on.
This encouraged the visitors and nice work between Reece Cole, Faysal Bettace and George Thomas saw for the former Coventry City man’s eventual effort deflected for a corner kick.
With five minutes of the half left, Rangers were ahead.
A nice turn from the increasingly influential Bettache eventually saw him picking out Kelman who was able to emphatically smash the ball home from the edge of the box.
This goal seemed to kick the hosts into gear, but the R’s held on and went into the break leading.
Following the half-time break, Rangers dominated.
Macauley Bonne was first to go close, but could only fire over.
Goal scorer Kelman was then quick to feel the full force of a Hornets challenge, ultimately resulting in the former Southend youngster being withdrawn from proceedings.
His replacement Duke-Mckenna instantly made an impact, combining well with Bonne.
In the 68th minute, the visitors had the chance to wrap things up, Bonne this time turned provider for Thomas, however the former Coventry City man could only fire straight at Parkers in the home sides net.
With this, the game instantly turned into a scrappy affair, as challenges from both sides began to fly in.
Tiago Cukur went closest for the hosts, but Joe Walsh was on hand to deny the Watford man.
And as we approached the 83rd minute, substitute Duke-Mckenna was able to wrap things up.
Some great pressing work from the R’s frontline eventually saw the ball falling to Thomas who fed in the former Everton man, who then slammed home – 2-0.
After doubling our advantage Rangers continued to press forward and seemingly dominated possession right up until the final whistle, but the two was enough and like Mark Warburton’s side in February, Paul Hall’s side returned to the capital with the victory.
Starting XI: Joe Walsh, Aaron Drewe, Nathan Carlyle, Joe Gubbins, Franklin Domi, Kai Woollard-Innocent, Faysal Bettache, Reece Cole, George Thomas, Charlie Kelman (Duke-Mckenna 52’), Macauley Bonne.
Subs not used: Mahoney, Dalling, Alfa.