Reading Under 18s 2 (Ikpeazu (2))
West Ham Under 18s 2 (Lee (2))
Uche Ikpeazu scored twice to earn the Under-18s a 2-2 against West Ham in their opening Barclays Under-18 Premier League match.
Hammers striker Elliot Lee troubled the Royals defence and struck twice for visitors in the first-half at Hogwood Park.
But our youngsters recovered well in the second-half and eradicated West Ham’s lead thanks to a double from imposing striker Ikpeazu.
With five minutes left, forward Craig Tanner produced an excellent piece of individual skill, and smashed the crossbar from 25 yards out.
2-2 was how it finished, and Academy boss Eamonn Dolan was pleased with the character shown to earn a point.
He said, “We had a good philosophy out there and I was pleased with how we played. We were unlucky to go 2-0 down but we showed character to get back on level terms.
“We could have defended a bit better, but the boys recovered well and nearly won it at the end. They did well and definitely deserved a point.
“Our policy this year is to test the boys and take them outside their comfort zone. So a lot of our second year players played for the U21s instead of the U18s, which was a good challenge for them.
“We have a great deal of respect for West Ham. I started my career there under Tony Carr – who is amazingly still producing new players in the Academy.
“It’s a good program this year with the EPPP and a massive challenge. We hope we can develop the boys so they can emulate the likes of Alex Pearce and Hal-Robson Kanu - who have now played in the Premier League.”