Jupp stars but Premier League new-boys QPR run out comfortable winners
Goalkeeper shines on first City outing
St Albans City 0 QPR 4
NEW St Albans City boss David Howell used the club’s first pre-season friendly to cast his eye over no fewer than 27 players as he looks to build a squad at Clarence Park capable of matching the club’s ambitions of a play-off spot.
Two goals from Leon Clarke plus one each for Antonio German and Alesandro Pellicori handed a strong QPR XI a 4-0 win but despite being on the wrong end of that scoreline it was goalkeeper Nick Jupp who caught the eye for the Saints with a string of fine saves that kept the scoreline respectable.
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The former Harrow Borough man was the only player to play the full 90 minutes as boss Howell began each half with a completely different XI, the first team playing in Saints’ red away kit before being replaced by a squad turned out in yellow.
While City were still finding their feet, Rangers were quick out of the blocks with Martin Rowlands volleying wide and Angelo Balanta hitting the post with the goal at his mercy all inside the first three minutes.
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Jupp produced a great double save to first deny Mo Shariff and then Clarke from the rebound but the goalkeeper was left exposed by his defence as the QPR pair combined for Clarke to steal in and open the scoring after 14 minutes.
It could have been two just four minutes later when Shariff steered Lee Cook’s corner goalwards but Jupp produced an excellent diving save to push the ball around the post.
City did create chances of their own with Jerome Walker capitalising on a slip by Gary Borrowdale to cross for Danny Hart but the former Barnet man dragged his shot across the face of goal and wide.
Sean Shields impressed throughout his 45 minutes on the park and he came close to an equaliser with an audacious lob from distance that just dipped over Elvijs Putnins’ crossbar.
At the other end Clarke had the ball in the back of the net for a second time following a flowing QPR move but the linesman’s flag cut short the celebrations.
Latvian stopper Putnins, who played at Clarence Park last season while on loan at Boreham Wood, produced an outstanding one handed save to claw out a Rob Haworth header and he was at it again minutes later to block a Hart effort with his feet.
City could have found themselves two down at the break when Balanta beat Jupp from the corner of the box but Tobi Jinadu was on hand to hack clear off the line and keep the scoreline at just 1-0 at the interval.
City’s new-look second half line-up saw Arlesey defender James Gray and ex-Hatfield Town full-back Max Farrelly included as only Jupp remained from the first half.
The City stopper was kept just as busy as he was in the first half producing save after save to deny the visitors.
Rangers’ second goal did eventually come and it was that man Clarke once again. Cook’s neatly floated corner found the forward racing towards the near post and the big front man gently flicked the ball across goal and inside Jupp’s far post.
It was soon three as sub Antonio German made the most of a slip by Reece Yorke to round Jupp and roll the ball into the unguarded net just two minutes later.
German did have the City stopper beaten for a second time but the QPR man’s powerful effort crashed back off the goalkeeper’s right hand upright and away to safety.
The second half was proving almost one way traffic and it was no surprise when Rangers netted a fourth.
Bruno Andrade was given too much time on the left flank to pick out Pellicori who drifted into the box unmarked and flicked the ball into the corner of the net.
The final say of the evening went to Man of the Match Jupp who finished his first outing in a City shirt with another good save to keep out German’s powerful drive.
City now turn their attentions to tonight’s game at Ware where boss Howell will take a closer look at some of the trialists trying to earn themselves a deal at Clarence Park.
City: Jupp; Dedman, Chaves (Attoh 29), Ijaha � (Holy 36), Moran, Jinadu, Hart, McGonigle (Shields 36), Haworth, Walker, Sean Shields.
City 2nd Half: Jupp; Farrelly, Terry, Mengeli (Mentis 68), Gray, Yorke, Ehui, Fry (Alebiosu 77), Haule, Hall, Walters (Turner).
QPR: Putnins; Harriman, Borrowdale, Rowlands, Parmenter, Ehmer, Cook (Pellicori 65), Clarke (Henri-Francis 68), Shariff (German 51), Doughty (Gibbons 68), Balanta (Andrade 46).
Sub not used: Olley.
Referee: Dave Rock Att: 551.