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Report: 21s beat Arsenal

17 February 2014

Reading U21s 2-1 Arsenal U21s

Reading 2 (Tanner 29, Tshibola 37)
Arsenal 1 (Hayden 45)

Reading ran out 2-1 winners over Arsenal in the Under 21 Premier League on Monday evening at Madejski Stadium.

A crowd of almost 3,000 fans took advantage of free tickets to watch the youngsters largely outplay the Gunners, as Craig Tanner opened the scoring just before the half hour mark with a crisp finish after great work by Sean Long.

Aaron Tshibola then doubled the Royals lead, ghosting in unmarked to finish coolly after neat build up play down the left wing.

Arsenal rarely threatened in the opening period, but did pull a goal back in first half stoppage time as Isaac Hayden crashed a low effort of a skiddy surface and under goalkeeper Dan Lincoln. 

The second half saw less goalmouth action, although Gozie Ugwu did crash a shot off the post with 15 minutes left on the clock, as Martin Kuhl's side saw the game out comfortably for an impressive victory.

Reading: Lincoln, Long, Griffin, Sweeney, Keown, Kuhl, Tshibola, Fosu (Kelly 88), Stacey, Tanner, Ugwu. 
Subs not used: Moore, Cooper, Hyam, Fridjonsson 

Arsenal: Macey, Moore (Fagan 34), Ormonde-Ottewil, Ajayi, Pleguezuelo, Hayden, Zelalem (Lipman 62) (Kamara 87), Eisfeld, Toral, Olsson, Miyaichi. 
Booked: Hayden, Toral,  Olsson

Subs not used: Ilev, Iwobi

Attendance: 2,875 

First Half 

A clearly talented Arsenal side, who included players with first team experience and a full Japanese international in Ryo Miyaichi started brightly - but it was the Royals who had the first chance of the half.

Craig Tanner teed up Aaron Tshibola on the edge of the box, before the midfielder saw his rasping drive palmed away by goalkeeper Matt Macey. 

The former Bristol Rovers stopper was in action again just moments later; Gozie Ugwu with the effort this time, which was tipped wide. 

You felt the goal was coming - and it came from a familiar source, as Tanner edged his side in front just before the half hour mark.

Sean Long scuttled into the area after superb interplay with Jack Stacey, before the Irish full back squared for an unmarked Tanner to lash home. 

A break in play which unfortunately saw Gunners defender Tafari Moore stretched up failed to stifle a rampant home side, who doubled their lead after 37 minutes.

Tshibola drifted late into the box, and like Tanner before him, found plenty of space to pick his spot and coolly slot home. 

The Royals were dominating, but were dealt a blow on the stroke of half time. A cross from the left was only half cleared and Isaac Hayden hit a crisp effort which slipped off a wet surface and under Dan Lincoln.

Second Half

The second period got underway with the visitors exuding a little more confidence, though Reading had the first shot after the restart as Fosu's long ranger was well held by Macey.

Although the second half wasn't quite as eventful as the first, Ugwu was doing his best to spring it into life in the final twenty minutes. The frontman barged his way in from the right before slamming towards goal from a tight angle, only to see the ball smash back off the post and away from goal. 

Fosu then took advantage of a slick Reading move by bounding into the area from the left before dinking across goal, but somehow neither of the two on-rushing Royals front-men could get a touch and convert into an empty net. 

Jack Stacey tried a long range strike in stoppage time which flew over Macey's bar, but Martin Kuhl's men comfortably saw out the game to pick up a valuable league victory. 

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