McLoughlin Nets Twice as U23s Draw at QPR
Friday, 12th Oct 2018 16:01 by Jon West
Shane McLoughlin scored right at the start of each half but Town U23s' winning run nevertheless came to an end as they drew 2-2 with QPR at Loftus Road.
Midfielder McLoughlin provided both goals in an entertaining affair which saw Chay Tilt, a relative of Ipswich's summer transfer target Curtis Tilt, net for the hosts.
Town fielded a number of U18 players because of international commitments elsewhere, although Flynn Downes was able to feature having trained with the England U20 squad this week.
The draw ended a run of three successive wins for Town but they won't be too disappointed as Gerard Nash's side are still sitting pretty at the top of the Professional Development League Two South table with five wins from nine games.
Town, in their bright orange away kit, took the lead in the first minute from the first attack of the game as the hosts dozed off instead of defending a set piece properly.
Kai Brown was fouled midway in the Rangers half, Jack Lancaster flighted in the freekick and the Hoops backline stood and watched as skipper McLoughlin ran in to poke past exposed goalkeeper Marcin Brzowoski.
The lead was short-lived however as Rangers captain Amrit Bansal-McNulty sidefooted powerfully beyond Harry Wright from just inside the box in the eighth minute after Deshane Dalling had played the ball back from the left of the box.
Both sides had already scored plenty of goals this season and it was already obvious why.
Dalling was causing Town problems on the left flank and cut inside to unleash an effort of his own but Pat Webber was in the way to block at the expense of a corner that came to nothing.
Rangers came close to taking the lead ten minutes later when an opportunity from just outside the box opened up for Charlie Owens.
Wright parried the shot into the air and behind him to his right and it required 16-year-old Kian Ronan to get to the loose ball ahead of Rangers' lone striker Lewis Walker, who was penalised for fouling the Gibraltar U21 defender as he cleared from in front of a post.
Dalling had another go soon after but Wright was behind a low drive towards his near post.
Town responded with an instant counter the saw Lankester wriggle his way into the danger zone but Brzowoski was perfectly positioned to save, and came out soon after to block Danny Rowe's shot on the stretch.
Myles Kenlock, back from an ankle injury, was given a talking to by the referee for hacking Bansal-McNulty down and the fleet-footed Dalling again caused problems from the freekick move.
Lankester felt he should have had a penalty at the other end as Charles Rowan challenged but the referee was having none of it, and Town made a change just before the half-hour mark when Rowe was replaced by Armando Dobra, presumably because of a fitness concern.
The newcomer immediately set up Kenlock for a shot that was blocked, with Tayo Edun lashing the rebound just over.
Rangers survived a few nervy moments in their own box before the frustrated Lankester was booked for preventing Brzowoski from launching a clearance.
The half ended with the scoreline all square and both sides looking good bets to add to it afterwards.
And so it proved as Town once again took the lead from the first attack of the half - and once again it was the same two players who combined from a freekick.
Lankester launched it from distance and this time McLoughlin, once again in space in the box, glanced home a header into the bottom corner.
McLoughlin gave the ball to Walker, allowing the Hoops striker to stride forward, but the shot was weak and Wright dealt with it easily.
The nippy Dobra did well to get into a crossing position down the left but couldn't find a team-mate.
Webber was needed at the other end to hack clear in front of goal as Rangers pressed for an equaliser and, after Wright pulled off a brave block, a corner saw Dalling's downward header bounce just over.
Rangers levelled just after the hour mark when Bansal-McNulty set up Tilt on the right of the box and the winger's powerful drive was too hot for Wright, who could perhaps have done better.
Bailey Clements came on for Kenlock with a little over 20 minutes remaining and an enforced change followed soon after when Webber was hurt and replaced by Ross Marshall.
Aramide Oreh tried for a late Hoops winner but Wright was able to block his shot.
The impressive Dobra was impeded just outside the box, with the Rangers offender earning himself a booking.
Lankester's freekick went through the wall but went straight to the keeper and an entertaining contest ended all square.
The U23s are in action again on Wednesday in a friendly at AFC Sudbury to mark the switching on of new LED floodlights at the Kings Marsh Stadium (KO 7.30pm).
QPR: Brzowoski; Felix, Rowan, Wells, Williams (Genovesi 46); Owens; Tilt, Bansal-McNulty, Oteh, Dalling (Bettache 65); Walker. Unused: Dickinson, Omar.
Ipswich: Wright; Ronan, Webber (Marshall 71), Ndaba, Kenlock (Clements 67); Downes; McLoughlin, Brown, Edun, Rowe (Dobra 28); Lankester. Unused: Egan.
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