Royals romp to 3-0 Fifth Round winReading 3 (Stacey 45, Owusu 68, Cardwell 78)
Accrington Stanley 0
Reading's under-18s breezed into the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup tonight, comprehensively beating Accrington Stanley to set up a mouth-watering last eight tie with either Watford or Liverpool.
The Royals were dominant from start to finish and Jack Stacey handed the home side a deserved lead on the stroke of half-time when he swept home after a deep Aaron Kuhl cross had caused confusion in the Stanley box.
Nana Owusu doubled the hosts' advantage midway through the second half, drilling a thundering right-footed effort towards the bottom right corner from 25 yards out and goalkeeper Kieran Wolland unable to keep it out.
Harry Cardwell added a third when he glanced Stacey's cross inside the left upright with his chest - and it could have been more. Liam Kelly and Aaron Kuhl struck the crossbar, Cardwell forced a fine first half save from Wolland, Stacey saw a shot cleared off the line and Fosu had a number of penalty appeals waved away.
In front of the watching Nigel Adkins, Andy Crosby, Sal Bibbo and Dean Wilkins, our under-18s were in total command and with that win have equalled the club's best ever run in the FA Youth Cup to date. Bring on the quarter-finals!
Referee: Mr C Hicks
Within the opening 20 seconds, Accrington almost took an alarmingly early lead. A hopeful ball pumped forward was passed back to Lewis Ward by Nana Owusu, but it was well-read by the Accrington striker who nipped in to intercept and stab the ball wide of the Royals stopper's body and thankfully the right upright as well.
Then, in a lively opening to the Fifth Round encounter, Liam Kelly swept a cross in from the right that almost caught Kieran Wolland out in the Accrington goal but landed on the roof of the visitors' net to Stanley's relief.
Reading took control, keeping possession well and putting pressure on the Accrington defence. Good strength and pace from Tennai Watson saw him win the ball and bomb forward, feeding Stacey down the right and his cross was headed high into the air by Cardwell. The goalkeeper punched the ball clear of Fosu and then Kelly couldn't bring it down quickly enough to get a shot on target.
Then some superb work down the right from Fosu saw the forward skip between two defenders and whistle a good low cross into the six yard box, looking for Kelly at the far post, but the ball was somehow hacked clear before it reached the Irish international.
20 minutes gone and Owusu found some space down the left, whipping in a cross which was intercepted by a diving header from Luke Greaves, the ball spiralling high over the panicking Wolland and just over the crossbar for a Royals corner.
Then twice Jack Stacey came within a whisker of breaking the deadlock. The first he made himself, powering forward, cutting onto his right foot and driving low and inches wide of the bottom right corner. Moments later, a bustling run from Kelly saw him feed Cardwell, who toed it on to Stacey in space inside the box - but this time he arrowed wide of the opposite corner to his obvious disappointment.
Accrington were struggling to deal with the attacking presence of right-back Tennai Watson, who would not be bullied off the ball in the final third and worked the space to shoot, left-footed from distance, but it sailed well wide of the target.
Rob Dickie did well at the other end to head a good cross from the right over his own crossbar, but it was the hosts who were creating all the openings, Stacey passing just wide of the right post once more as half time neared.
In injury time, a great run from Watson saw Fridjonsson turn his ball forward on to Cardwell, who drove low towards the bottom right corner, only for Wolland to produce a stunning save and push it round his post.
Then, from the resulting corner, Accrington cleared off their goalline when Fridjonsson pulled the ball back from the byline and Stacey seemed certain to score, but a Stanley man on the goalline was in the right place at the right time to desperately hack clear.
Reading were not to be denied though, and on the stroke of half-time, took a deserved lead. Aaron Kuhl swept a cross into the box from the left, the Accrington keeper raced off his line but got nowhere near collecting it, Fosu cleverly stabbed it inside, Fridjonsson helped it on to the unmarked Stacey and he slotted into an empty net.
Only five minutes into the second half and it was almost 2-0. Stacey's low centre beat everyone in the six yard box but an off balance Sammi Fridjonsson couldn't keep his feet to turn it home at the far post.
Stacey then almost unlocked the Stanley defence once more, this time his scuffed strike was sidefooted goalwards by Cardwell but into the palms of Wolland.
Aaron Kuhl was next to come close for the Royals, his free kick deflecting up off the Accrington wall and looping onto the crossbar and behind for a corner.
Eventually it came. Nana Owusu had opened the scoring in the Fourth Round win against Crewe and he thundered a right-footed drive towards the bottom right corner from 25 yards out and Wolland could only tip it onto the inside of his post. It cannoned back into the body of the Accrington keeper and trickled over the line to give the hosts that all important cushion.
Tennai Watson arrowed an effort just wide of the bottom right corner, Fosu bulleted just wide of the top right corner...Reading were in total command.
And soon it was 3-0. The irrepressible Stacey swept a cross shot into the box and Harry Cardwell got a faint glance on the ball to chest it past Wolland and inside the left upright.
Tonight's game was broadcast live on the club's official YouTube channel with co-commentary from former Academy stars Jake Taylor and Michael Hector. Highlights of the game and the broadcast will be available on YouTube and on Reading FC Player.