Wolves well beaten in 3-1 victory
Reading's under-18s came from behind to sweep aside a high-flying Wolverhampton Wanderers outfit at Hogwood Park on Saturday morning.
Wolves had only been beaten once all season and stood behind only Manchester United in the Northern Group of the Barclays U18s Premier League, but Reading - who had only lost twice all season themselves - began brightly.
Harry Cardwell dragged an early effort wide and Conor Shaughnessy powered a header over the crossbar after a tasty cross from the lively Liam Kelly.
Peter Smith squandered a good chance for the visitors, spooning a left-footed effort over the crossbar, and Ibrahim Keita headed just too high with a far post header, but at the other end Kelly's right-footed free-kick forced Wolves keeper Scott Dutton into a good save.
The deadlock was broken after 36 minutes. Smith stole the ball out on the right and scurried forward before arrowing an effort against the base of the left upright. The resultant corner was deftly glanced on at the near post and Keita stabbed it over the line from close range for 1-0.
But Reading responded brilliantly and four minutes later were level. Great build up play saw a lovely scoop over the top find Kelly in the box. He brought it down, passed it back to Noor Husin, who teed up Shaughnessy from the edge of the box - and the midfielder picked his spot to perfection, placing a sweet 20-yard right footed effort wide of Dutton's dive and inside the right post.
The second half was virtually all one way traffic. In the opening minutes, George McLennan bombed forward and fizzed a low ball across the face of goal but no-one was there to touch it in.
And before long, the Royals had the lead. Husin took a touch to create a yard of space and set up the strike for his right foot, and he curled an elegant effort past Dutton's flailing dive and into the top right corner to make it 2-1.
Shaughnessy then sidefooted home his second of the game after Kelly pulled the ball back from the byline and stroked it into the midfielder's path who made no mistake from eight yards out. 3-1.
Lewis Ward in the Reading goal had to parry a powerful effort from Tom Hill on the hour, but it was Wolves keeper Dutton who was keeping the busiest, pulling off a great save from another expert Kelly free kick and then somehow tipping a powerful Stacey effort over his bar.
Reading were in complete command though, passing the ball around at will and Fridjonsson almost added a fourth when he strode onto another cultured Kelly ball over, but the Icelander was beaten to it by the Wanderers' keeper.
Wolves were well beaten though, and Reading had picked up their third successive win of the season, moving up to within three points of new league leaders Spurs.
Reading line-up: Ward, Watson, McLennan, Fridjonsson, Dickie, Hyam, Stacey, Shaughnessy, Husin, Kelly, Cardwell.
Subs: Gogic, Collins, Lawal, Owusu, Ismajli