Reading’s Under-18s came from behind to take a point from a trip to Southampton on Saturday in arctic conditions at Staplewood.
After a few forward forays for the Royals, it was the Saints who took the lead through Enzo Forise. It was a loose pass which allowed the Saints forward to pounce – striding in on goal, he finished emphatically past Gabriel Rosario.
But Reading were level before the interval, as defender Joe Wilson hit a shot on the spin and squeezed it past the unsighted Adam Parkes to get the Royals back on terms.
The Royals dominated much of the second half and had chances to win it, with Khalid Simmo, Adam Liddle and sub Shamar Moore each forcing saves. Ultimately the teams shared the points.
Under-18 manager David Dodds said: “We had a few of our more senior players available to us, which was nice – for example Andre Burley was able to play the first half for the first time in a while.
“And after a few early opportunities for them, we began to take control so it was disappointing to go behind. It was our free-kick that was cut out and punished, and in fairness to their striker, he took the chance well.
“But we got deservedly back level through Joe Wilson and in the second half, we didn’t give Southampton many chances at all and could have won it ourselves. Their goalkeeper had to make a really good save to deny Shamar Moore.
“It was disappointing to lost Marcel Elva-Fountaine early in the game to a knee injury, which looked quite nasty.
“But we performed well against a strong Southampton team and that was pleasing.”
Full-time: Southampton U18 1-1 Reading U18
Southampton U18: Parkes, Ramsey, Ledwidge, Klarer, Bradley-Green, Smallbone (Bartlett 59), Hamblin, Robise (Freeman 90), Hansen (Siu 59), Brennan, Afolabi.
Unused subs: Bycroft, Kozak.
Reading U18: Rosario, Wilson, Elva-Fountaine (Nditi 17), Burley (Nevers 52), Philby, Buchanan (Moore 62), Nolan, Coleman, Simmo, Omolabi, Liddle.
Unused sub: Roberts.