- QPR Under-21s lose 5-4 to Norwich City on Wednesday
- Trialist (2) and Aaron Mitchell (2) on target during thrilling second-half
- Ale Faurlin completes first full 90 minutes since return from injury
- Mauricio Isla, Junior Hoilett and Niko Kranjcar also feature at Harlington
Aaron Mitchell and a trialist both bagged a brace in a thrilling encounter at Harlington, where Rangers levelled the scores at 4-4 only to concede a fifth late on.
Steve Gallen included four senior professionals in his side with Mauricio Isla, Junior Hoilett and Niko Kranjcar amongst the starting XI. Ale Faurlin also featured from kick-off – lasting the full 90 minutes for the first time since the Argentine’s recent return from injury.
Denied: Reece Grego-Cox goes close for Rangers early on
The visitors fashioned the first chance on 11 minutes, inexplicably heading wide of Joe Lumley’s left-hand upright with the goal gaping.
Lumley twice denied Norwich from their next attack. The R’s goalkeeper made an instinctive double save at his back post to keep the Canaries at bay.
Isla: Mauricio Isla was one of three first-teamers to feature in the first half
Meanwhile, Lumley’s opposite number prevented Hoilett from firing Rangers ahead. The winger’s 25-yard effort was curling inside the top corner before the goalkeeper clawed the ball over.
But it was Norwich who made the breakthrough on the half-hour mark. Carlton Morris combined neatly with his strike partner, before providing the finishing touch from six yards.
Kranjcar: Niko Kranjcar also enjoyed 45 minutes at Harlington
They would have had another had Lumley not palmed over their next attempt from distance.
City didn’t have to wait long for a second, though – doubling their lead in fortuitous circumstances five minutes before the break. A cross from the right looked harmless enough, but a wicked deflection diverted it inside Lumley’s near post.
Hoilett: Junior Hoilett tried his luck from the left wing for Steve Gallen's side
There was time for a third on the stroke of half-time. After a corner was hooked back into the box, a Norwich midfielder reacted quickest to prod the loose ball into the far corner.
A much-changed Rangers re-emerged for the second half – going close to pulling a goal back inside three minutes. Mitchell was involved as one of three trialists on show spurned the chance over.
Comeback: Ale Faurlin came through the full 90 minutes unscathed
Another trialist found the net moments after. After taking a touch 20 yards out, the striker buried his shot inside the far corner.
A first goal was quickly followed by a second for Rangers just three minutes later. This time Mitchell struck, making no mistake from close-range.
Defence: Darnell Furlong featured at left-back for Rangers at Harlington
Rangers continued to dominate in search of an equalising third, but were caught out on the counter-attack. City's winger took full advantage, bursting down the left before drilling a low shot beyond Lumley’s reach.
The action soon swung back towards the other end. Mitchell dispossessed a City defender in his own box before coolly slotting the ball underneath the goalkeeper.
Goal: Aaron Mitchell scores his first of two goals after coming off the bench
And the comeback was complete midway through the second period. Mitchell again was involved as the R’s trialist grabbed his second of the afternoon with another emphatic finish from 18 yards.
Parity didn’t last long, though. A quickly-taken corner provided City’s fifth with a toe-poked finish inside the six-yard area.
Brace: Aaron Mitchell scores his second and QPR's third of the afternoon
Lumley somehow prevented City adding a sixth from their next attack. A deflected shot seemed destined to loop over him, but the goalkeeper made a miraculous one-handed save to palm the ball onto the post and away to safety.
Mitchell came equally close to snatching another equaliser. The midfielder’s next attempt was clawed away by the City goalkeeper from underneath his crossbar to preserve victory.
QPR (first half): Lumley; Isla, Ehmer (Haran 43), Trialist, Furlong; Gibbons, Faurlin, Trialist, Hoilett; Kranjcar; Grego-Cox.
QPR (second half): Lumley, Comley, Haran, Trialist, Furlong; Trialist, Faurlin, Sutherland, Manning; Mitchell, Trialist.
Goals: Trialist 51, 71, Mitchell 54, 63.
See also ...
- Reserves romp to 8-0 victory over Barnet
- Under-21s undergo fitness tests at Middlesex University
- Ale Faurlin continues comeback in Crystal Palace defeat