Reading’s Under-18 side were defeated 3-1 at Leicester City last Saturday in the Under-18 Premier League.
All goals came in the first half – Conor Tee opened the scoring as he found space to latch onto a cross early on, before Tyrese Shade doubled the scoring as he was played in through the middle.
Ethan Coleman headed Reading back within a goal, but the scoring was wrapped up just before the break as George Heaven squeezed in the Foxes’ third.
Under-18 manager David Dodds said: “We’ve said right from the off in pre-season that we’re really young this year. Andre Burley, who is now our senior centre-half, went to play for the Under-23s at Brighton and did really well on Friday night – but that left us a little bit inexperienced.
“Leicester’s first goal was a whipped cross from the byline and we just lost our marker by half a yard in the middle, and he rifled in – and you’re fearing a long afternoon. But then we played really well at the other end and passed really fluently.
“We played some good stuff, but then we got a bit mixed up with our distances between goalkeeper and back four and one of their lads was slid in to score for their second.
“But the performance in the first half I was really pleased with – we played firm football and created chances, and took one from set-piece and there were a couple we should have taken but didn’t. We got out goal back from a corner when Ethan Coleman headed in a really nice delivery. And we had a penalty appeal turned down when Shamar Moore had his shorts pulled from behind as he was shaping to shoot – the ref missed that one.
“So we were prepared to go in a goal behind at half-time to try and regroup and sort out some defensive things, but just before the break we switched off from a set-piece and that led to a corner – our goalkeeper was being held out of the way, and how it wasn’t pulled up for a foul I don’t know, but they managed to score from that situation. It’s a shame because it was a key moment of the game when we were right in it, and it knocked us back before half-time.
“In the second half they pressed us right in, and they were a yard quicker than they had been in the first half and they were picking up all of the second balls. Even though there weren’t any goals in the second half, our performance level had been a lot higher in the first half, if you discount some errors at the back.
“It is more good experience for the younger lads and we had four schoolboys out there at the end. All in all there were some really promising things in the first half, but in the second half we struggled to get out from the back as well as we had in the first. It’s a young team that will learn from the experience.
“It’s a great philosophy we have here, to play players above their age group and take them out of their comfort zone – it’s the same for the Under-23 team as well, and a lot of our Under-18s are playing regularly at that level now. They’re all getting challenged.”
Full-time: Leicester City U18 3-1 Reading U18
Leicester City U18: Yates, Thandi, Thomas, Heaven, Ughelumba, Brown, Tee, Gill, Williams (McLeod 45), Fielding, Shade.
Reading U18: Rosario, Wilson, Lawless, Obamakinwa (Pendlebury 60), Nditi, Buchanan, Sparta, Coleman, Nolan (Nevers HT), Wallace (Matete 70), Moore.
Unused subs: Desbois, Lawrence.