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CUP WINNERS!

19 April 2014

Under-21s beat Manchester City to lift trophy!

Reading u21s 2 (Fosu 71, Stacey 74)
Man City u21s 0


READING ARE CUP WINNERS! Reading became the inaugural winners of the U21 Premier League Cup by beating Manchester City at Madejski Stadium this afternoon.

Two second half goals, from Tariqe Fosu and Jack Stacey sealed a 2-0 victory on the day, and a 4-3 win on aggregate.

A stage was erected and the medals and trophy were presented, injured skipper Aaron Kuhl joining this afternoon's captain Pierce Sweeney to lift the silverware in front of more than 3,000 vocal Royals fans.

The 2-0 win on the day was the culmination of a wonderful season of cup football for our Academy lads, fully deserved after an historic FA Youth Cup run for our under-18s and this, some silverware for our trophy cabinet.



Reading: Lincoln, Long (Fosu 68), Griffin, Keown, Cooper, Sweeney (c), Tshibola, Stacey, Kelly, Tanner, Ugwu.  
Subs: Ward, Murombedzi, Fridjonsson, Cardwell.

Manchester City: Lawlor, Drury (Tasende 75), Facey, Denayer, Leigh (Bytyqi 75), Glendon, Fofana, Ntcham, Lopes (C), Cole, Hiwula. 
Subs: O'Brien, Plummer, Bryan. 

Referee: Mr K Friend
Attendance: 3,034


First Half   

Reading began brightly with Gozie Ugwu almost in behind but flagged offside as he scampered onto a Liam Kelly throughball - and then Tanner broke down the left but was dispossessed cutting inside before he could get a shot away.

Dan Lincoln was the first goalkeeper tested, saving comfortably with a dive to his right to deny Marcos Lopes, and ten minutes in Oliver Ntcham saw a deflected effort loop over the Royals crossbar.

Within the space of a minute, Ugwu and then Cole broke the offside trap at each end, Ugwu muscled off the ball before he could shoot and Cole touching it around Lincoln but his cross was well defended. 

Jake Cooper directed a header into the side netting from a Liam Kelly corner and then Kelly was cynically tripped by George Glendon as he looked to break from midfield. Glendon was booked but the free kick came to nothing.

Just before the half hour mark, Ntcham won possession in midfield and fed Cole, who strode towards the edge of the box and rifled inches wide of the bottom right corner with a sweetly struck left-footed effort.

Then Lopes curled a free kick beyond the dive of Lincoln but just over the crossbar, and a low cut back from the byline five minutes later presented Cole with a shooting opportunity, but his effort was well blocked by Sean Long.

An audacious effort from distance from Lopes was well held by Lincoln, just after Jordy Mayifuila had almost connected at the far post with a searching cross from the right.

But the Royals almost unlocked the City defence when Tanner toed the ball into the path of Kelly on the edge of the box, but the Irish youth international tried to pick out a man at the far post instead of going for goal himself and the ball bobbled wide and behind for a goal kick.

Still time for a chance at either end before the break, a cross floating just too high for Stacey to get his head to, then on the break away, Fofana arced an effort wide of the right post.

Second Half

The opening chance of the second half fell Reading's way. Tanner fed Kelly who backheeled it into the path of the overlapping Griffin. He cut the ball back from the byline and Sweeney controlled it and shot, only to see it charged down and loop away from Lawlor's goal.

Moments later, Griffin took the ball forward after good work from Kelly and found Tanner inside. He spotted Stacey in acres of space down the right, but from a tight angle Ian Lawlor managed to palm the under-18s winger's stabbed effort away and City hurriedly hacked it clear.

Ntcham fires a reminder that City posed a potent threat on the break, driving forward and thundering a right-footed effort just wide.

But Martin Kuhl's men came close to a break away goal themselves, Tanner and Ugwu running at the last two defenders, but Tanner delaying his shot too long, eventually trying a backheel towards his strike partner that was cut out.

Lincoln had to be alert to keep out a Cole drive from the right side of the box, smothering the ball well at his near post.

Then, the breakthrough. Martin Kuhl introduced under-18s starlet Tariqe Fosu for Sean Long and with virtually his first touch of the game, he cut inside from the left, scuttled into the box, and rifled an unstoppable effort past the statuesque City keeper and low into the left corner.

The aggregate score had been levelled...but it wasn't level for long. Minutes after taking the second leg lead, Reading took the lead overall when Jack Stacey got in behind the City defence, coolly rounded the visiting keeper and passed the ball into the open net to the home fans' sheer delight.

The wind had truly been taken out of Manchester City's sails, two sucker punches that they struggled to recover from and Reading defended their lead quite superbly in the final 15 minutes, restricting Vieira's men to very few glimpses at goal.

The final whistle sounded and mayhem ensued. The celebrations could begin thanks to a stunning second half performance.

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