COLCHESTER United under-23s came up against former U's keeper Dillon Barnes in their 2-0 defeat at Queens Park Rangers, writes BRIAN WALLER.

Barnes, who left the U's for West London in the summer, was between the sticks for a strong Rangers side which featured several first-team players in the Professional Development League Two clash, at Harlington.

Rangers began the match well and almost went ahead after three minutes through Jan Mlakar, who nearly got on the end of a cross from former U's loanee Olamide Shadipo.

Deshane Dalling then headed just wide for the hosts but Colchester responded well and Michael Fernandes broke away, only for his effort to deflect wide of the target after the home defence got close to him.

After the fast start, things quietened for a while before Rangers took a 21st-minute lead.

Some superb work by Ilias Chair gave Mlakar the chance to cleverly clip the ball over U's goalkeeper Callum Coulter.

Rangers were very close to scoring a second goal but keeper Coulter made a good save from a Mlakar header on 25 minutes.

Brighton and Hove Albion loanee Mlakar, who has made three appearances for Rangers' first team, has represented Slovenia at various age levels from under-15 to under-21 level and looked dangerous.

But the U's were still creating chances mainly on the break and QPR defender Nathan Carlyle did really well to halt Dean Ager's run, as he got into the home penalty box.

Three minutes later, Callum Anderson got in behind the R’s defence but miscued his attempt wide.

Colchester were certainly well in the game as after keeper Barnes saved well from Ager, a rebound effort from Diogo Freitas-Giouveia came back off the post.

However, Rangers really should have scored a second goal but Dalling somehow then skied the ball over the bar from just a few yards out, as the hosts went in at the break ahead.

Soon after the interval, Matt Smith's 25-yard shot flew just wide.

And soon after, Smith's pass split the away defence to set up the chance for Dalling who went wide of keeper Coulter but from a tight angle, saw his attempt came back off the post.

Rangers were certainly having the better of the second half and Ben Wells saw his shot from distance fly just wide.

Shadipo's shot was blocked at close range before Rangers wrapped up their win with 14 minutes remaining through Smith, who squeezed his effort in from close range.