Baggies beaten in u21 testReading u21s 6 (Losasso 2, Church 4, 27, Tanner 9, Shorey 44, Morrison 85)
West Brom u21s 1 (Berahino 81 pen)
Two goals and two assists from Simon Church set Reading's u21s on their way to a comprehensive 6-1 victory over West Brom at Madejski Stadium on Friday night.
Reading were 3-0 up inside nine minutes, with Church setting up both Charlie Losasso and Craig Tanner as well as scoring himself to give Chris Cummins' side the perfect start. Church then added another midway through the half with an excellent header and Reading went in 5-0 up at half time following a superb free kick from skipper Nicky Shorey.
Shorey was then wrongly penalised for handball in the second half, allowing Saido Berahino to score expertly from the spot before Sean Morrison turned in Shorey's corner for 6-1. It was an enjoyable evening's football, and every single Royal put on a good performance to suggest the future is bright for our young charges.
Reading (4-4-2): S Taylor; Arnold, Shorey (c), Morrison, Sweeney (Partridge 80); Gunnarsson (Webb 84), J Taylor, Edwards (D'Ath 61), Losasso; Church, Tanner. Subs: Henly, Oliyide
West Brom (4-4-2): Lewis; Hurst, Garmston (Gayle 67), Daniels, O'Neil; Mantom, Thorne (c), Sawyers (Brown 60), Allan (Roofe 60); Berahino, Wood. Subs: Palmer, Nabi
Team news: Reading used all three available overage outfield spaces, selecting Brynjar Gunnarsson, Simon Church and captain Nicky Shorey, while they also utilised their overage goalkeeper position to give Stuart Taylor a welcome runout. The Baggies included New Zealand's World Cup striker Chris Wood, and they had League experience in the shape of George Thorne and Saido Berahino among others.
Full report: Reading started superbly and were ahead inside two minutes. Morrison dispossessed Wood well, allowing Shorey to find Church wide on the left. He cut the ball back superbly for Charlie Losasso, and his sidefoot finish into the corner was excellent. It was 2-0 inside four minutes, Church pressuring the visiting keeper into a mistake and tapping home for a striker's finish. And before the ten minute mark Reading had a third, Nick Arnold finding Church's good run before the frontman's super low cross was turned in on the slide by Craig Tanner.
Chris Cummins' team then had to wait 17 minutes for another goal, and this time Tanner turned provider with a wonderful left wing cross; Church doing the rest with an excellent header. Taylor then made a couple of decent saves in the Reading goal and right before half time it was 5-0, Shorey curling in a great free kick against his former side after Ryan Edwards was fouled.
Understandably the second half was a quieter affair and Tanner had a couple of chances with his head, while Lawson D'Ath made a welcome return from injury. Church was unlucky not to get a hat-trick after a lovely touch and shot was saved, and then Shorey was wrongly penalised for handball - never intentional - and Saido Berahino scored a good penalty into the corner. But Reading soon scored again and Shorey set up Sean Morrison for a back post header to round off a good night.
Our under 21s' next game at Madejski Stadium is on Monday 22nd October when we take on Norwich City at 7pm, and if it is anything like this game then our supporters are in for an enjoyable evening. Tickets are already on sale - concessions £2, adults £4 and parking is free.