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Report: Exeter undone in opening friendly

15 July 2014

Edwards goal wins first pre-season encounter

Exeter City 0
Reading 1 (Edwards 8)

The results in pre-season are not all important, but it was good to see the Royals kick off their summer schedule of friendlies with a victory that came courtesy of Ryan Edwards' 8th minute strike.

The Australian youngster raced onto a Pogrebnyak flick, got in behind the Exeter City back line and, with Reading's first sight of goal, cooly passed the ball into the bottom left corner of the Grecians' goal to give Nigel Adkins' men an early advantage.

Reading bossed the first half, but chances at either end were few and far between, and fielding a very inexperienced second half eleven the Royals had the woodwork to thank when Jimmy Keohane's effort was parried by Mikkel Andersen and the ball bobbled against the left upright before being hacked clear.

18-year-old Jack Stacey was played in by 19-year-old Craig Tanner late on and the forward was only denied by City stopper Christy Pym at the near post, Reading's best chance in front of goal in the second period, and some stout defending from Alex Pearce and Stephen Kelly ensured the visitors would hold on to their clean sheet and come away with a 1-0 win.

Exeter City (FIRST HALF): Pym, Woodman, Baldwin, Coles, Oakley, Davies, Dawson, Byrne, Wheeler, Jay, Tillson.

Exeter City (SECOND HALF): Pym, Butterfield, Bennett, Sercombe, Keohane, Ribeiro, Grimes, Moore-Taylor, Watkins, Nichols, Tillson.

Reading (FIRST HALF): Federici, Gunter, Obita, Morrison, Hector, Kuhl, Williams, Taylor, Edwards, Blackman, Pogrebnyak. 

Reading (SECOND HALF): Andersen, Kelly, Griffin, Pearce, Sweeney, Akpan, Tshibola, Cummings, Long, Stacey, Tanner.

Referee: Mr A Woolmer
Attendance: 1,211 (202 away)

First Half      
The first opportunity fell to the right foot of David Wheeler, who turned inside the box and hooked an effort towards goal only to see Adam Federici leap high to push it over his crossbar with an acrobatic save.

But with the Royals' first glimpse at goal, Ryan Edwards slotted home, breaking onto a ball that was flicked in behind the back line by Pavel Pogrebnyak and sliding it wide of the onrushing Pym and into the bottom left corner for 1-0. It was a cool, calm finish from a young man who spent last season on loan in the A-League.

A quarter of an hour gone and Nick Blackman won a foul on the right, allowing Aaron Kuhl to swing a lovely free kick into the area looking for Pavel Pogrebnyak but skidding off an Exeter leg and behind for a corner.

Skipper for the first half, Chris Gunter, then burst into the area on the overlap and crossed low, looking for Pogrebnyak himself, but again an Exeter defender intercepted and was able to hack it clear from inside his six yard box.

Reading were enjoying the majority of possession and playing much of the football in their hosts' half, but a series of crosses from either side failed to find one of the new Reading away shirts on display for the first time.

Just before the break, Aaron Kuhl launched a lovely aerial ball into the path of Jake Taylor who chested it down well to race in on goal. But the offside flag on the far side was raised to thwart the Royals midfielder.

Second Half

With both teams ringing the changes at the break, the first opportunity of the second half came from City, Liam Sercombe scurrying forward and pulling the trigger, only for Alex Pearce to produce a superb sliding block to deny the midfielder's powerful low drive.

15 minutes into the second period and a chance went astray at either end. Jack Stacey almost slid in Sean Long down the right side of the box, but the Irishman could only cross into the smothering arms of Pym from the byline.

Then on the break, Tom Nichols got the chance to shoot from the edge of the area, but Stephen Kelly slid in to deny the City forward with a powerful tackle that needed to be well timed.

Exeter came even closer moments later, when Jimmy Keohane was allowed to burst down the right and into the box. His shot was parried by Andersen and the ball bounced against the inside of the left post before two Royals defenders hurriedly hacked clear.

And it took a good save from Andersen and a goalline clearance from Alex Pearce to deny the hosts soon after, City finding their flow and piling numbers forward in search of a leveller.

At the other end, with 15 minutes left on the clock, Jack Stacey forced a near post save from Pym, Tanner sliding the 18-year-old in and his low right-footed drive helped around the post and behind for a corner by the City stopper. And Sweeney's deflected header flew just over from Long's subsequent set piece.

But chances remained at a premium and the final whistle sounded to hand the Royals a winning start to their pre-season campaign.

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