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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

01 March 2019 Venue Staplewood Training Ground Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

Southampton PL2
1 - 2
Reading PL2

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Match Reports

Report | Subs star in U23 comeback win

Frost and Pendlebury give U23s victory at table-topping Saints

1 March 2019

Reading's Under-23s came from behind to beat league leaders, Southampton 2-1 on Friday night at Staplewood.

After a goalless first half, Tyreke Johnson put the Saints ahead in controversial circumstances early in the second half, seemingly kicking the ball out of Coniah Boyce-Clark's hands before slotting in from close range.

But goals from substitutes, Tyler Frost and Oli Pendlebury ensured a dramatic turnaround would put Reading to back within three points of the leaders in the PL2.

The young Royals faced a tough task to score on their hands from the off, with six-times-capped England goalkeeper, Fraser Forster guarding the posts for the Saints on the night.

It was an even start at both ends at Staplewood, as expected with the two teams sitting top and 3rd in the Premier League 2, Division 2 respectively.

But Nathan Tella forced Royals youngster, Coniah Boyce-Clark into a fantastic save early on - flying to his left to tip a top corner-bound curling strike from 20 yards onto the crossbar and over.

That was the first part of an extended spell of pressure from the hosts, with the Royals defending staunchly at the back from a succession of corners and slowly asserting themselves on the ball.

Reading's first real opportunity came after 20 minutes, with skipper Ryan East playing in Michael Olise 25 yards out. The scholar turned his way into space and unleashed a left-footed strike that had Forster at full stretch - narrowly past the post on this occasion.

Boyce-Clark was the saviour again for the Royals at the back when Harry Hamblin split the Reading defence with a scything through-ball, with the goalkeeper making life difficult for Kayne Ramsay and making a good save with his feet.

Up the other end, Akinwale Odimayo surged forward from centre-back, crossing the half-way line and playing to Barrett. Former U18 captain Odimayo continued his run forward, but Barrett went alone and forced Forster into a low save.

Barrett tested the England man again with the last kick of the half, teeing himself up for a volley outside the area, which Forster had to watch all the way to catch.

It was an entertaining first half at Staplewood, with both sides showing their potential going forward - but the deadlock wouldn't be broken before the interval in Hampshire.

Half time | Southampton U23 0-0 Reading U23

Reading started the second half the stronger of the two sides, with a corner from the Royals going deep to Barrett on the left. He had his back to goal and backheeled to Medford-Smith on the run.

The full-back crossed low into the box and Tom Holmes was waiting for it. He couldn't keep his first-time effort down, though, with the ball sailing over the bar.

Up the other end, Ramsay made tracks into the Reading box and tried to cut across goal for Tyreke Johnson. Holmes came in for a tackle, but the referee blew up for a Reading free-kick for obstruction, after Johnson trapped the ball between both legs and tried to hook it over the line illegally, according to the officials.Coniah.jpg

Shortly afterwards, the hosts had the lead in controversial circumstances. Ramsay put in another low ball into the box, Boyce-Clark appeared to get his hands to it as Johnson poked out of his grasp, Reading appealed in vain for a foul but Southampton's goal stood.

Teddy Howe and Tyler Frost were both introduced as Reading freshened up the right hand side, to try and get back level quickly.

Michael Olise showed his quality of footwork as he picked the ball up on the left flank, dancing his way into the box past two Saints defenders. Olise worked his way into a shooting position, but could only fire straight at Forster, who gathered comfortably.

Medford-Smith showed great tenacity on the left, and it paid dividends as he forced Ramsay into a foul in the box - the referee pointing straight to the spot. It was Frost who stood over it, calmly sending Forster the wrong way and levelling the match at Staplewood.

Before long, Reading had turned the match on its head. Oliver Pendlebury, who had only been off the bench a few minutes, was the lucky recipient as the ball broke loose on the edge of the Southampton area. The scholar powered an effort through the crowded area, through Forster's legs and and put the Royals ahead out of the blue.

Despite late pressure from the hosts, they were unable to break the Royals down and the points came back to Berkshire on Friday night.

Full time | Southampton U23 1-2 Reading U23

Southampton U23: Forster, Ramsay, Vokins, O'Connor (c), O'Driscoll, Jones, Tella, Jankewitz (Smallbone HT), N'Lundulu (Afolabi HT), Hamblin, Johnson (Ferry 79).
Subs: Cull, Klarer, Ferry.
Goals: Johnson 55

Reading U23: Boyce-Clark, Balogun (Frost 55), Holmes, Odimayo, Medford-Smith, East (c), Holsgrove (Pendlebury 76), Rollinson (Howe 55), Olise, Barrett, Liddle.
Subs: Andrésson, Burley.
Goals: Frost 72 (P), Pendlebury 81

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