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U-18s hit Everton for four!

15 May 2013

Youngsters smash their way into the final

The Royals' under-18s produced a superb display to seal an emphatic 4-0 win over Everton and earn a place in the Barclays Academy Premier League final on Wednesday afternoon.

With Eamonn Dolan, David Dodds and Martin Kuhl barking orders from the sidelines at Hogwood Park, Reading were at it from the off and opened the scoring midway through the first half when Jack Stacey smashed home a wonderful drive from distance.

Before the break, the rampant Royals' lead had been doubled, Dominic Hyam reacting fastest to swivel on the spot and stab home from close range after a scramble in the Toffees' area.

With Nigel Adkins, Andy Crosby and Anton Zingarevich all watching on through torrential rain, hail and then glorious sunshine, the young stars didn't let up.

Top scorer Uche Ikpeazu was back from injury and came close with a header, while fellow goal-getter Craig Tanner also came close to extending the hosts' advantage at Hogwood Park.

After the break, Aaron Kuhl came close with a curling effort that sailed just wide of the top right corner, Liam Kelly robbed possession from a dawdling centre-half and shot just over, then Tarique Fosu forced the Everton keeper into a smart save, parrying a powerful drive from the winger.

As Duncan Ferguson's Everton tried in vain to find a foodhold and a route back into the semi-final, Tanner put the game to bed, surging forward into space down the middle and fizzing home a low right-footed drive that nestled in the bottom left corner to make it 3-0.

And before the final whistle could put Everton out of their misery, Tanner added a fourth; a break from substitute Taylor-Crossdale broke to the pint-sized forward who patiently rounded the final defender and the goalkeeper before passing home into an empty net.

It was beaming sunshine by the time the final whistle sounded, and after sealing their 11th successive win there were smiles and handshakes all round from the delighted bench, an impressed first team boss, and an interested onlooking owner.

The Royals now face either Fulham or Sunderland in the end of season finale - which is set to take place this weekend. The winner of Saturday's Final will decide which Academy side have been the best in 2012-13 and, on this evidence, the in-form Royals will be a match for anyone. 

Reading: Lincoln, Long, Griffin, Hyam, Cooper, Stacey, Kelly, Kuhl, Fosu (Murombedzi 86), Tanner, Ikpeazu (Taylor-Crossdale 86).
Subs not used: Moore, Jefford, Owusu

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