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Academy finish in style

6 May 2013

Chelsea U18s 0-3 Reading U18s

Chelsea 0
Reading 3 (Tanner 44, 68 Long 62)

The Royals Academy finished the Elite League season on a high as a Craig Tanner brace helped Reading beat Chelsea 3-0 at their Cobham training ground.

Remarkably, it was our under-18s' tenth consecutive victory - undoubtedly making Eamonn Dolan's men the form team going into the Barclays U18s Premier League final stage. With second place now confirmed, the Royals will face the third placed team - either Everton or Manchester United - next week in the semi final.

The three points weren't enough to climb above league leaders Fulham as they beat Everton 2-0 to secure the title - but Tanner's double and Sean Long's excellent strike capped a typically assured performance that will give them deal of confidence going into the knockout stages.

Our in-form boys went about their business in the right way from the off - Tanner surged forward down the left and picked out Shepherd Murombedzi who let fire, but had his shot well saved by Chelsea goalkeeper Ben Killip.

The Blues struck wide at the other end, then Tariqe Fosu then had a half hearted appeal for a penalty turned down before he shot wide from a difficult angle.

Royals goalkeeper Dan Lincoln then pulled off two excellent saves to keep the score level, before captain Aaron Kuhl latched onto a poor CHelsea backpass but couldn't quite get enough on it to stab past Killip.

Reading were close to taking the lead as Tanner raced forward on the counter, but Kelly's eventual effort was to tame. However, Tanner did manage to give the Royals a crucial half time lead thanks to a well-taken free kick.

The striker's initial set piece was handled by a Chelsea man in the wall - but the retake was swept home superbly by Tanner to give the Royals a timely lead going into the break.

Second half

Lincoln had to be on his guard straight after the break - and he was. The young goalkeeper pulled off a fantastic fingertips save from a goal-bound free kick to deny Chelsea a quick leveller.

Reading soon got into their stride and had another penalty shout turned down as Tanner tumbled down in the box, moments before the striker shot over the bar.

And Dolan's men would soon clinch the second goal they deserved. After a good team move, right-back Long found space in the box and fired home emphatically into the bottom left corner for 2-0.

The Royals were more or less comfortable from there on in, and almost extended their lead just minutes later as Kelly trapped the ball down, magnificently fooled his marker but hit shot sailed just over.

It was then left to Tanner to kill off any chance of a Chelsea comeback - as the striker grabbed his brace after finishing off another flowing move with a composed finish past the onrushing Killip.

With just over twenty minutes to play, the Royals saw out the game in a professional manner albeit a couple of half chances for the hosts. The final whistle confirmed an excellent tenth win in a row, eclipsing their nine-game winning sequence in the first phase and setting them up nicely for the imminent semi-finals.

Chelsea: Killip; Nditi, Conroy, Muleba, Dabo; Colkett, C.Musonda, Swift (C); Cole, Gnahore, Kandi. 

Reading: Lincoln, Long, Hyam, Cooper, Griffin; Murombedzi, Kuhl (C), Stacey, Fosu (Ismajli 86); Kelly; Tanner (Taylor-Crossdale 80).

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