ONE goal was all that separated a youthful QPR Under-21 side and their Bolton Wanderers counterparts at the Macron Stadium on Monday night.
On an evening of a few clear-cut chances, Paul Hall’s youngsters – which included a host of Under-18s – came closest through Josh Bowler and Ryan Manning, but ultimately went down to George Newell’s 43rd-minute winner for the hosts.
It was Rangers who fashioned the first effort of note midway through a scrappy first period. Olamide Shodipo cut in from the R’s left flank before a deflection took his shot just wide.
Meanwhile, it took until six minutes before the break for the hosts to seriously threaten. Rangers had Conor Hudnott to thank twice for keeping out Tyrell Palmer and Alex Perry in quick succession.
Hudnott was helpless soon after, though. After Palmer was this time denied by the woodwork, Newell was on hand to convert the rebound off the post from close-range.
It could have been 2-0 in stoppage time but Newell skewed his next chance wide.
Under-18s pair Bowler and Jack Williams were introduced by the hour-mark, and it was the former who almost levelled the scores. His low shot was well saved by Bolton goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons, while Ryan Manning fizzed a first-time shot agonisingly wide late on.
Hudnott denied Bolton a second goal in the final minute – tipping around Perry’s drive – but one goal proved enough for Wanderers in the end.
QPR: Hudnott, Komodikis, Lobjoit (Williams 60), Paul, Eales, Hamalainen, Crichlow, Manning, N’Guessan, Folkes (Bowler 55), Shodipo.
Sub (not used): Brzozowski.