RYAN Manning’s sublime free-kick wasn’t quite enough for QPR Under-21s to take all three points from Barnsley on Monday afternoon.
Paul Hall’s side once again included several Under-18s such as Jake Eales, who kept his place in defence after scoring in last week’s defeat to Birmingham City.
And it was the young R’s who settled quickest in Yorkshire. Gianni Crichlow fired the first strike of the game into the goalkeeper’s hands, while opposite number Conor Hudnott was called upon soon after to tip a long-range effort around the post.
Rangers came within a whisker of the opener on 18 minutes, when Joe N’Guessan connected with Josh Bowler’s cross only to see his shot cleared off the line.
They didn’t have to wait long for another chance, though. After Rangers were awarded a free-kick 25 yards out, Manning strode forward to curl home another of his trademark free-kicks.
Rangers continued to look the likeliest to net again thereafter, with N’Guessan going close twice before half-time.
After the re-start, Bowler almost added the R’s second but his shot was blocked on the line.
Meanwhile, a rare Barnsley attack ended with Hudnott saving with his feet.
But Rangers would ultimately rue not adding to their tally as the hosts snatched a point 14 minutes from time. Raquarn Crosdale rose highest from a free-kick to head home at the far post.
Hall’s side now return to west London, where they welcome Colchester United to Loftus Road in their final outing of the season next Monday evening.
QPR: Hudnott, Paul (Barzey 73), Williams (Fox 73), Hamalainen, Eales, Manning, Akinola, Corkery, Crichlow, N’Guessan (Alfa 73), Bowler.
Sub (not used): Brzozowski.
Goal: Manning 20.