Match Report by Nick DuGard: Saturday, 1 August 2015: Pre-Season Friendly: Wealdstone 3 QPR U21\’s 1
INJURIES to Jonathan North and Dale Binns overshadowed an otherwise excellent win over QPR\’s U21s yesterday.
Goals from Shaun Lucien, Connor Calcutt and man of the match Jonny Wright sealed a 3-1 win over the Championship side\’s Development Squad.
However, last year\’s player of the season North and summer arrival Binns both hobbled out of the action, the former suffering from a problem at the back of the knee, while the latter went to hospital with a suspected broken toe – just the sort of news boss Gordon Bartlett could have done without just seven days ahead of the season curtain-raiser against Bath City.
Still deprived of a host of players because of holidays and injuries, Bartlett started with former Bournemouth professional Ryan Case at right-back, while Connor Calcutt joined Josh Hutchinson in a two-man attack. Binns meanwhile started at left-back in place of Ryan Watts who was side-lined with an eye infection.
The visitors almost caught the home defence cold with just 75 seconds on the clock when a ball played into the left side of the box found Reece Greco-Cox no more than four yards out. He stabbed the ball beyond North only for the ball to hit the inside of the post and roll along the line before a defensive boot cleared the danger.
That scare survived Stones began to compete and were furious on the quarter hour when Ball appeared to be tripped by Ossie Kakay, but penalty appeals were waved away by referee Felton.
Encouraged the home side threatened again Case crossed for Hutchinson whose spectacular bicycle kick flew just wide.
Rangers\’ youngsters responded with Cox\’s close range drive parried behind by North for a corner which came to nothing.
It was Stones who broke the deadlock on 31 minutes when Dan Brown slipped in Lucien on the left of the box and the winger turned his marker inside out before firing through Martin Brownski\’s legs into the far corner.
Harly Wise threatened at the other end with a glancing header wide, before Binns, injured minutes earlier limped off to be replaced by another new face Dillon Casey.
The Rangers youngsters exploited his absence a couple of times forcing first Wes Parker and then Tom Hamblin to head behind for corners, but Stones kept their slender lead at the break.
Rangers opened the second half brightly but it was Stones who doubled the lead on 53 minutes. Hutchinson did really well to steal the ball on the left and when he played it inside Calcutt was upended by Dickandi, leaving the official no alternative but to give a penalty. Calcutt picked himself up to send Brownski the wrong way from the spot.
Stones were now playing confidently and it was 3-0 just before the hour when Wright latched onto a cross from the left. He played a short ball to Hutchinson, who, unable to get a shot off, played it back to the impressive Wright, who fired inside the near post.
Kakay volleyed over at the other end, but it could have been 4-0 when Wright\’s cross was skewed over his own bar by substitute James Haran.
The biggest worry for Stones came when North limped out of the action with a quarter of an hour left, meaning an appearance in goal for 41-year-old player-coach Scott McGleish.
And the veteran was soon in action, clutching a shot from Giamm Cricklow.
He could not manage a clean sheet as late on substitute Aaron Mitchell beat him with a shot which flew in off the underside of the bar.
Wealdstone: North (McGleish), Case (Ifil), Binns (Casey), Parker (Martin), Hamblin (M’Boungou ), Brown (Hope), Wright, Ball (Davies), Calcutt (Bonnett-Johnson) , Hutchinson, Lucien