Reading’s Under-18s continued their strong start to the new campaign by earning a 1-1 draw away at league leaders Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday.
The Royals became the first team to take anything out of a game against Spurs so far this season – they had a clean-sweep of wins from their first four fixtures, in which they had scored 18 goals with a +11 goal difference!
It could have been a fifth consecutive win on the bounce for the hosts when Dilan Markanday netted midway through the second half, but Conor Lawless equalised with ten minutes remaining to earn a share of the spoils for the Royals.
Reading began on the front-foot and could have taken an early lead when Michael Olise stepped up to fire a free-kick goalwards… with the goalie beaten, it was the post that denied him the opener.
The North London club did manage to wrestle control of the ball, but hard work and tactical soundness allowed Reading to frustrate their hosts. That was until the 69th minute, when Markanday finally found the breakthrough for Spurs.
That meant a test of character for the Royals boys, which they stood up to. After working the ball through from the back to the final third to win a corner, Tottenham only half-dealt with the resulting set-piece – and that allowed Lawless to collect and bend an unstoppable effort into the far corner… a stunning leveller.
With the momentum swinging in Reading’s favour, Under-16 Lynford Sackey – making his U18 debut – raced through on goal but was denied one-on-one. A succession of dangerous late set-pieces also went unrewarded as the Royals pushed for all three points in the U18 Premier League South.
While the winner was elusive, a 1-1 draw represented a positive result for an especially young U18 squad.
Full-time: Tottenham Hotspur U18 1-1 Reading U18
Tottenham Hotspur U18: Oluwayemi, Lyons-Foster, Fagan-Walcott, Cirkin, Bowden, White, Shashoua (Richards 66), Patterson, Markanday, Lloyd-Bennett, Mukendi (Tainio 76).
Unused subs: Thorpe, Maurizio, Kurylowicz.
Reading U18: Hillson, Pemberton, Bristow, Pendlebury, Hewitt, Sole, Simmo, Nevers (Murray 75), Lawless, Olise, Moore (Sackey 87).
Unused subs: Roberts, Osorio, Tetek.