Point gained away from home
The Royals Academy picked up a well deserved Barclays U18 Premier League point at Aston Villa on Wednesday afternoon.
Without the likes of second year scholars and professionals Liam Kelly, Aaron Kuhl and Jack Stacey, Reading's under-18s performed in the Midlands and could have taken all three points.
David Dodds' men were dominant early on, and took the lead after eight minutes. From a Noor Husin floated free-kick, defender Dom Hyam did well to win a header at the back post, which came back off the post, onto an unfortunate Villa man and into the net.
De'Jaune Taylor-Crossdale went close moments later after some good work from Estonia youth international Bogdan Vastsuk, one minute before Germaine Ofori had the ball in the net - only to be ruled out for offside.
Royals right-back Nana Owusu then raced down his flank, beating his man and delivering an excellent cross to Vastsuk, who headed just wide.
The Estonian forward then had a goalbound effort well saved by Villa goalkeeper Charlie Bannister, while Conor Shaughnessy and Taylor-Crossdale were both wide of the mark shortly before half time.
After the break, it was the hosts' turn to play with the advantage of the wind and took full advantage early on. Capitalising on a lapse in concentration from a throw-in, the Villa attacker struck well on the half volley to beat Royals stopper Lewis Ward.
Reading looked to retake the lead soon after and weren't far away when midfielder Husin curled right-footed just wide.
Though Ward had to be on his guard to deny the Villians on two or three occasions, it was the Royals who looked the more likely to snatch a later winner.
Ofori perhaps had the best chance late on when he was denied at point blank range by Bannister, before Hammad Lawal's last gasp effort rolled back off the post before the full time whistle blew.
Nevertheless, a very creditable point away from home for our under-18s, who take on Arsenal next Saturday at Hogwood Park in the league.
Royals: Ward, Watson, Owusu, Dickie, Hyam (C), Ofori, Lawal (Williams 76), Shaughnessy, Husin, Taylor-Crossdale, Vastsuk (Urbancic 78).