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Point gained for U21s

11 February 2013

Stalemate with the Canaries

Reading's youngsters shared the spoils with Norwich City at Hogwood Park on Monday afternoon.

In their third Barclays under-21 Premier League game of phase two, the Royals dominated the second half but were denied by a resolute Canaries defence.

With the first team squad away for warm-weather training in Dubai, coach Chris Cummins named a familiarly youthful side - with Jake Taylor skippering the side.

Striker Craig Tanner went close in the opening few minutes as his free-kick bounced a yard wide of the post, before Taylor had a venomous strike well blocked.

City looked dangerous themselves in the first half with a number of aerial opportunities in Reading's box - but the Royals managed to scrambled away to survive the visitors' brief spell of pressure.

The lively Taylor almost snatched Reading the lead shortly before the interval when he dispossessed the Canaries' centre back, and squared to Dominic Samuel - but the returning Colchester loanee fired over.

Royals goalkeeper Jon Henly made a fantastic double-save to deny Norwich the lead early on in the second half - getting up well after the initial block to clear the danger.

Our youngsters had a succession of half-chances as the second half drew on - with Lawson D'Ath firing just wide from distance and Canaries goalkeeper Remi Matthews saving a Niall Keown header.

With ten minutes remaining, the Royals had the best chance of the game. Academy star Tanner cut inside from the left, chose to go alone and let fire from outside the area - only to have his stunning effort rebound of the post.

Tariqe Fosu, who replaced Ryan Edwards late on, found himself in a golden opportunity to strike - but a heroic sliding taking from Norwich defender Ramil Sherrif preserved the visitors' clean sheet.

The pressure didn't stop there - Samuel couldn't quite connect to a looping cross with his left foot, before D'Ath almost fooled Matthews with a cross-shot which needed to be tipped over for a corner. From the ensuing set-piece, Taylor was released into the box and had a fierce strike bravely blocked before the full time whistle blew.

Frustrating though it may have been that the young Royals didn't clinch victory after a dominant second 45,

Despite the stalemate, Cummins and Academy manager Eamonn Dolan - overlooking seven of his current Academy players - would have been pleased with what was a excellent defensive and goalkeeping display with plenty of chances created at the other end.

Next up for the under-21s is Crystal Palace at Hogwood Park next Monday - behind closed doors. Click here to view their fixtures and results for 2012/13.

Royals: Henly; Arnold, Webb, Keown, Sweeney; Tshibola, Edwards (Fosu 74), D'Ath, Taylor; Tanner, Samuel.

Subs: Losasso, Lincoln, Ikpeazu, Cooper.

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