U18 Report: Watford 3-3 QPR
By Danny Varsalona
A dramatic late goal rescued a point for Watford in a 3-3 thriller at the Watford Training Ground - despite the home side racing into a 2-0 lead after just 20 minutes.
A first-half brace from Ryan Cassidy put the home side 2-0 up, but three second-half goals from Queens Park Rangers and a late Jack Burchell strike meant both sides had to settle for a point.
Watford shot out of the blocks and were ahead after just two minutes – with Cassidy coolly slotting his penalty down the middle after QPR were penalised for a push in the box.
The Hornets continued to press forward and made it count, doubling their lead after 20 minutes with a fantastic goal.
A long ball forward was flicked into the path of Dominic Hutchinson on the right wing, who cleverly squared the ball for Cassidy to grab his second of the game with a smart first-time finish.
The Hornets could have added to their lead with a flurry of chances – the best falling to Reece Miller who could only volley over.
The visitors ended the half on a high and nearly grabbed a goal back – but the Watford defence stood strong after a frantic goal line scramble.
The Hornets started the second half much like the first and were only denied a third by a fantastic double-save from Harvey White in the R’s goal, parrying from both Jayden Bennetts and Kai Sanders.
It proved an important moment in the match as QPR grabbed two goals in four minutes to stun the Hornets. Rangers captain Joseph Gubbins smashed home a spot-kick before Jahiem Rose finished off a neat move from the away side.
With 15 minutes left to play both sides battled hard for the next goal and it was QPR who got it, tapping in on the rebound after a superb reaction save from Dante Baptiste.
But there was still a sting left in the tail of the young Hornets and deep into injury time, they equalised in dramatic fashion.
Bennetts won the ball deep inside the Watford half before playing a cute ball over the QPR defence. Burchell raced towards it and knocked the ball past the on-rushing ‘keeper before chipping the ball into the far corner, with a little help from the woodwork.
It was a nerve-wracking end to a thrilling second half of football, but a game that Watford will feel slightly aggrieved they didn’t win after spurning numerous chances throughout the match.
HORNETS | Baptiste (GK), Matthews, Rashan, Burchell, Langstone, Tricker (Trialist, 59’), Hutchinson, Maclean, Cassidy (Sanders, 65’), Miller (Bennetts, 45’), Sankoh.
Subs not used | Horsewood, Khaira.