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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

4-3
01 May 2018 Venue Villa Park Attendance Referee Joseph Johnson

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

Aston Villa PL2
4 - 3
FT
Reading PL2

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4-3-3
  • 1
    Matija Sarkic
    GK
  • 2
    James Bree
    DF
  • 3
    Mitchell Clark
    DF
  • 4
    Easah Suliman (C)
    DF
  • 5
    Jacob Bedeau
    DF
  • 6
    Jack Clarke
    MF
  • 7
    Callum O'Hare
    MF
  • 8
    Jake Doyle-Hayes
    MF
  • 9
    Keinan Davis
    FW
  • 10
    Alex Prosser
    FW
  • 11
    Andre Green
    FW

Substitutes

  • 12
    Rushian Hepburn-Murphy
    SUB
  • 13
    Viktor Johansson
    SUB
  • 14
    Corey Blackett-Taylor
    SUB
  • 15
    Kelsey Mooney
    SUB
  • 16
    Oscar Borg
    SUB

Manager

  • -
    Kevin MacDonald

3-5-2
  • 1
    Luke Southwood
    GK
  • 2
    Tom Holmes
    DF
  • 3
    Gabriel Osho (C)
    DF
  • 4
    Tom McIntyre
    DF
  • 5
    Ramarni Medford-Smith
    DF
  • 6
    Ryan East
    MF
  • 7
    Tennai Watson
    DF
  • 8
    Andy Rinomhota
    MF
  • 9
    Ben House
    FW
  • 10
    Tyler Frost
    MF
  • 11
    Danny Loader
    FW

Substitutes

  • 12
    Teddy Howe
    SUB
  • 13
    Liam Driscoll
    SUB
  • 14
    Joel Rollinson
    SUB
  • 15
    Andre Burley
    SUB
  • 16
    Jack Nolan
    SUB

Manager

  • -
    Scott Marshall

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Match Previews

Ahead of the game | U23s to battle Villa for play-off final

Semi-final at Villa Park awaits youngsters

30 April 2018

The Royals' U23s will be giving their all to secure a place in the Premier League 2 play-off final on Tuesday night, but face a tough obstacle firs

Club News

🎥 Behind the scenes: U23s seal play-off place

30 April 2018

Aston Villa U23 vs Reading U23
Tuesday 1st May 2018, 7pm kick-off
Villa Park
Premier League 2 play-off semi-final

Scott Marshall's Under-23s will be heading to face Aston Villa, who finished comfortably in 2nd place in the Premier League 2 Division Two table, in a one-legged play-off semi-final on Tuesday night.

A dramatic final day of league action saw the Royals overcome Stoke City 3-1 at Madejski Stadium last week, with a hat-trick from Sam Smith earning the points on the night.

That win was enough to earn 5th place in the table and a trip to Villa Park for the semi-final against a Villa side that were cruising in the Premier League 2, but defeats in their final two league matches will leave them wanting to bounce back against the Royals.

Club News

Royals to feature live in season finale

30 April 2018

It's certain to be a tight battle between the teams, with Marshall's side having taken all three points against the Villans at Madejski Stadium back in October - a brace from Josh Barrett, now on loan at Coventry City, earning a 2-1 victory on the night.

It wasn't a feat to be repeated in the reverse fixture in March, with Joseph Mendes opening the scoring for the Royals but the result was overturned by Kevin MacDonald's side. James Finnerty equalised before half-time, before an own goal from Teddy Howe in the second half saw the Royals behind.

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy made the result safe 20 minutes from time with his strike to give Villa a 3-1 win at Walsall's Bescot Stadium.

The prize for victory in the semi-final is a trip to the Amex to face Brighton and Hove Albion's U23s, who overcame Middlesbrough 3-0 in the other semi-final, which took place on Friday night.

Winning the final would seal a return to the top tier of Under-23 football, but a stern test awaits the Royals in the semis in Villa.

For anyone looking to make the trip to Villa Park and watch the potential next generation of Royals, tickets will be available on the gate on Tuesday night.

We'll have you covered on all the usual Reading FC channels on the night, as we back the boys at Villa Park!

 

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Match Reports

Stoppage-time heartbreak for U23s in play-offs

1 May 2018

Reading’s Under-23 season came to the cruellest of ends as Aston Villa struck a winner deep, deep into stoppage-time in their Premier League 2 play-off semi-final – Rushian Hepburn-Murph’s 95th-minute goal gave the hosts a 4-3 win and a meeting with Brighton in the final later this month.

Given the final score, it was remarkable to think that it was goalless at the interval – but Royals skipper Gabriel Osho poked the visitors ahead.

Quick-fire strikes by Hepburn-Murphy and Villa captain Easeh Suliman turned the game on its head, only for Tom McIntyre to nod in another leveller.  The Villans led again through Corey Blackett-Taylor; Reading levelled again through Teddy Howe.  Truly breathless stuff.

And then, in heartbreaking fashion, Hepburn-Murphy grabbed his second of the night with barely enough time left for Reading to muster a response.  It’s the Midlands side who will compete with Brighton for a place in the Under-23 top tier.

There was no shortage of attacking intent from either side in the early exchanges – an early corner routine, after some lively forward play by Ben House, almost brought the opener. 

Ryan East played a short interchange with Danny Loader, but Tom McIntyre’s volley was closed down when he was found unmarked on the far side.  East recycled, but Andy Rinomhota’s header looped onto the netting.

Southwood, back between the sticks for the Royals for the first time this season after a campaign spent with Bath City, produced a stunning stop to keep out Callum O’Hare – it was an inswinging cross by Andre Green which was glanced towards goal, but the stopper saved and held from point-blank range.

At the other end, Tyler Frost hammered towards goal as he received on the edge of the area; it deflected into Loader’s path, but penalty appeals were waved away as a challenge was made in the area.

East was pulling the strings in midfield for the Royals, and when he glided towards the box and played a disguised pass for Loader, Jacob Bedeau arrived just in time to block the fierce strike behind.

Ramarni Medford-Smith, playing in an advanced wing-back role, was often an option – and a seeking cross-field ball by Tom Holmes was won in the air… Medford-Smith ran onto his own flick-on, but was just beaten to the ball by goalkeeper Matija Sarkic.

The Royals were starting to crank up the pressure, but to no avail.  Frost outmuscled Alex Prosser to spin away into space in his own half – bursting down the left, he cut in off the flank and fired marginally past the far post.  Moments later, he played a clever back-heel for Loader, but Villa captain Easeh Suliman closed down to divert the effort wide.

Villa were first to threaten after the second half kicked off – Jack Clarke drove downfield with intent, but his eventual effort lacked the conviction to trouble Southwood, who gratefully scooped up the strike.

Club News

Gallery | Seven second half goals in U23 semi-final

1 May 2018

Rinomhota went on a rambunctious run, breaking the Villa defensive line, and squirmed into the box… the home side’s defence matched him every step of the way, however, and prevented the midfielder from getting any conviction on the strike.

And then, on the hour, a flurry of goals.  Reading were first to strike – Loader was clobbered by Sarkic as the goalkeeper made a reckless challenge outside the area, and when Frost sent in a low free-kick, Osho gently flicked the ball into the far corner off the heel of his boot.

Villa grabbed the next two.  The equaliser came 90 seconds after the Royals’ opener, as a fortuitous ricochet allowed sub Hepburn-Murphy a clean run at goal, and the finish was clinical.  Moments later, the Villans had completed the turnaround as Suliman arrived on a deep free-kick by Jake Doyle-Hayes to loop a header over Southwood and in.

Reading remained full of industry – and House, full of running, picked the pocket of Suliman on the left flank… but he couldn’t find Loader in the six-yard box, as a good chance went begging.

With quarter of an hour left to play, that persistence paid as Reading had their leveller through McIntyre.  The defender sprung highest in a crowded area as East whipped in the corner, and desperate efforts couldn’t prevent the net from bulging.

The scoring wasn’t done, by any stretch.  Villa led again through sub Blackett-Taylor, who was alert at the far side as Hepburn-Murphy sent in a low delivery from the right byline.

And it was a Royals substitute who grabbed our third, tying the game up once again.  House and Frost each tried to squeeze the ball in, only to see blocks come in… but the ball broke for Howe, who swung a left boot and struck inside the near post, tying a breathless game up at three apiece!

In the fourth added minute at the end of the 90, Osho almost grabbed a winner – a couple of step-overs and a powerful strike by the defender, but a great save at by Sarkic.

So it was heartbreaking when Villa pinched the win at the other end, with almost the last action of the match.  Hepburn-Murphy danced into the area and prodded through the narrowest of gaps, tucking in what proved to be the match-winning goal.

Full-time: Aston Villa U23 4-3 Reading U23

Aston Villa U23: Sarkic, Bree, Clark, Suliman (c), Bedeau, Clarke, O’Hare, Doyle-Hayes, Davis (Blackett-Taylor 55), Prosser, Green (Hepburn-Murphy 55).
Unused subs: Johansson, Mooney, Borg.

Reading U23: Southwood, Holmes, Osho (c), McIntyre (90+5), Medford-Smith, East, Watson (Howe 66), Rinomhota, House, Frost, Loader.
Unused subs: Driscoll, Rollinson, Burley.

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