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Historic win for Academy

12 March 2014

Reading through in shoot-out

Reading u18s 4 (Cardwell 8, 70, Taylor-Crossdale 117, McLennan 119)
Liverpool u18s 4 (Williams 83, Rossiter 90+3, Trickett-Smith 94, Wilson 100)

Reading win 5-4 on penalties

Reading reached the FA Youth Cup semi finals for the first time in our history after an absolutely incredible game against Liverpool.

We won 5-4 on spot kicks, but that doesn't tell anything like the full story of an amazing match.

Reading led 2-0 but were pegged back on 88 minutes, and then trailed 4-2 only to score twice in the final three minutes of extra time.

We then scored all five of our penalties, with De'Jaune Taylor-Crossdale stroking home the decisive spot kick to send our players, staff and supporters wild on a great evening.

It really was an incredible night, with drama, quality, sheers guts and determination, and first and foremost our youngsters are through to the last four for the first time ever - a quite remarkable achievement.

Reading: Ward, Watson, Owusu (McLennan 105), Hyam, Dickie, Kuhl (c), Fridjonsson (Husin 96), Kelly, Stacey, Fosu, Cardwell (Taylor-Crossdale 90)
Subs: Legg, Vastsuk 
Booked: Owusu (foul 39), Kuhl (foul 68)

Liverpool: Crump, Randall (c) (Cleary 111), Maguire, Williams, Jones, Chirivella (Trickett-Smith 68), Wilson, Rossiter, Ojo, Brannagan, Kent (Canos 68)  
Subs: Hart, Firth 
Booked: Wilson (foul 65), Maguire (timewasting 119)

Referee: Mr G Ward

First half
Liverpool had the ball in the net very early on, but the visitors were denied by the offside flag, and Lewis Ward then had to make a good save from Jordan Rossiter.

Then with eight minutes on the clock Harry Cardwell scored a goal of the very highest quality. Picking up the ball on halfway from Tennai Watson, he turned his man brilliantly and advanced deep into opposition territory. On his own in a dangerous position, he beat his man again and produced a lovely finish for a wonderful goal.

The game continued to be lively, and Rossiter tried his luck again, before Ward saw a Sheyi Ojo shot go not too far wide. Liam Kelly then hit a cracker from 25 yards but it flew just over, still inside the first 15 minutes.

There were chances galore, and Dominic Hyam almost scored from a corner before Ward made an excellent and important stop from Harry Wilson.

Ryan Kent was then brought down by Nana Owusu just outside the Reading box, but the resulting free kick was well blocked.

The Royals continued to press for a second goal, and just before the interval Jack Stacey walloped an effort against the upright - and there could have been a handball from a Reds defender as they cleared their lines. 

Second half
The game was very open at the beginning of the second half, and Tariqe Fosu had a very strong penalty shout on 58 minutes, while down the other end we also had a number of Liverpool forays to contend with.

It was cagey and tight, and both teams were desperate to get the next goal, but it came to the home side when Cardwell stroked home on the rebound following good play by Owusu down the left.

Liverpool sub Daniel Trickett-Smith then clipped the bar with a free kick from range, and it continued to be a game full of urgency and tension.

Then inside the last ten minutes the tension was raised a notch when Jordan Williams' long range effort found its way home for 2-1.

And cruelly, into the fourth minute of injury time, Rossiter turned home a neat finish from only a couple of yards out to take it to extra time.

Extra time
Both sides had to regain their composure, and Fosu was first to come close to scoring on 93 minutes, shooting not too far wide on the angle before forcing Ryan Crump into a good low save.

And then the Reds did get the fifth goal of the night, Daniel Trickett-Smith turning home low left-footed past Ward.

Then Fosu was seemingly in on goal, but Crump stood up well to his prodded effort.

But Wilson made it 4-2 with a very neat finish, and Liverpool then looked to kill the game with stoppages, but we tried to keep going and Stacey again hit the post in the 116th minute with a header. It looked to be game over, but Reading were not to be done.

Liam Kelly set De'Jaune Taylor-Crossdale away for a lovely finish on 117 minutes, and with our keeper Ward up in the Reds' box, Fosu played a neat flick for sub George McLennan to smash home high for 4-4!

So into the shoot-out and every one of our five takers slotted home, with Cameron Brannagan's missed spot-kick giving Taylor-Crossdale the chance to slot home for glory, which he did with aplomb.

Penalties, Liverpool took first:
Jones 1-0
Fosu 1-1
Trickett-Smith 2-1
Kuhl 2-2
Brannagan 2-2 (missed)
Stacey 3-2
Ojo 3-3
Husin 4-3
Maguire 4-4
Taylor-Crossdale 5-4

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