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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

03 December 2018 Venue The Laithwaite Community Stadium Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

Reading PL2
2 - 1
Fulham PL2

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Match Reports

Report | U23s hold on for PL Cup win

Young Royals keep up 100% record in cup competition

3 December 2018

Reading's Under-23s overcame Fulham in the Premier League Cup, making it three wins out of three with a 2-1 win on Monday night.

Adi Popa's deflected free-kick, closely followed by substitute Conor Lawless' tap in put the Royals 2-0 ahead in the second half. Nicolas Santos Clase pulled one back late on in normal time, but the Royals held on to continue their remarkable unbeaten run in all competitions.

Scott Marshall's youngsters were locked on six points apiece in their group, level with Fulham going into Monday night's match in Woking as the Royals hoped to continue their lengthy unbeaten run.

Omar Richards was back in action for the first time since injury ruled him out of league action back in September, with Adrian Popa also getting valuable match minutes under his belt.

It was an open start to the game in Woking, with both teams immediately looking to play and gun for an early lead in this Premier League Cup tie - but without any real attacking conviction in the early stages. In fact, neither team registered a shot on goal at all in the opening 20 minutes at the Laithwaite Community Stadium.

Fulham's Luca De La Torre mustered the first opportunity of the game when he showed fleet footwork to get past two Reading players, he shot from 20 yards but Liam Driscoll watched it every step of the way and gathered with ease.

A Reading corner was held up well by Andre Burley in the box, who played out to Ryan East, Adi Popa got into the box and saw a chipped effort caught by Taye Ashby-Hammond.

The Royals were forced into an early substitution, and it came between the posts as Coniah Boyce-Clark came on for his first U23 appearance on the half-hour mark.

The goalkeeper, who is still a U16 player, was forced into action straight from the off as he did well to block Nicolas Santos Clase's goalbound strike, before denying Steven Sessegnon with an outstretched leg at his near post.

Reading comfortably beat Fulham in their Premier League 2 clash 10 days ago, but the Whites were a different proposition this time around and looked the more likely to score in the first period.

Tyler Frost went closest before the break, driving into the area across goal but past Ashby-Hammond's post in first half added time.

Half-time | Reading U23 0-0 Fulham U23

Richards was withdrawn at the interval for the Royals, making it through a half unscathed as Jazz Wallace came on in his place. Ben House was brought off shortly after as well, with Conor Lawless - who had been away with the first team squad last weekend - entering the pitch.

Reading found their feet better in the first part of the second period, Frost going close again with a rifled left-footed drive that narrowly cleared the bar - before Wallace cut inside his man but couldn't keep his shot down from the edge of the area.

But it was Popa who gave the Royals the lead on the hour mark. He stood over a free-kick to the left of the box and well within shooting range. His strike took a hefty deflection off the Fulham wall, taking it over the top of Ashby-Hammond and handing Reading the lead. 

Less than two minutes later, the Royals doubled the lead after a cross from the left was deflected into the path of Lawless, who duly tapped into the open goal and put the young Royals in command in Woking.

Fulham almost found a way back into it soon after, with Sessegnon finding his way into the Reading area. The Royals threw men behind the ball but Fulham worked it to De La Torre in space. He looked certain to score but could only strike the post with his close-range effort.

Lawless looked lively in the second period, cutting in past his marker from the right flank and testing Ashby-Hammond again from 18 yards, but the Fulham goalkeeper held on this time and stopped a third.

Cheers could be heard from the on-site bar at Woking as the Cards drew Watford at home in the FA Cup during Monday's match, but the Royals were keeping things under control on the adjacent pitch as time ticked on.

Fulham counted themselves unlucky again, though, when Sessegnon's cross found Jayden Harris free in the area. He shot first time on the turn, with the post coming to Reading's rescue 10 minutes from time.

The visitors set up a grandstand finish in Woking when Nicolas Santos Clase received the ball in space in the Reading area, slotting in past Boyce-Clark and into the bottom corner to pull one back for Fulham.

The Whites kept up the onslaught heading into the five added minutes, with Boyce-Clark doing well to pluck a dangerous Mundle-Smith cross out of the air with Fulham pressing for a late equaliser.

Full-time | Reading U23 2-1 Fulham U23

Reading U23: Driscoll (Boyce-Clark 30), Balogun, Richards (Wallace HT), Odimayo, Burley, East (c), Holsgrove, Frost, Popa, Medford-Smith, House (Lawless 47).
Unused subs: Omolabi, Green.
Goals: Popa 59, Lawless 61

Fulham U23: Ashby-Hammond, S Sessegnon, Mundle-Smith, Harris, Davies (c), Atkinson, Kelly (Davis 74), O'Riley, Santos Clase, Francois, De La Torre.
Unused subs: Jenz, Stahl, Carvalho, McAvoy.
Goals: Santos Clase 84

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