Samuel, Fosu and Novakovich seal 3-0 winReading U21 3 (Samuel 31, Fosu 51, Novakovich 90 pen)
QPR U21 0
- Samuel opens the scoring on half an hour
- Brilliant Fosu free-kick doubles advantage
- Novakovich slides home injury time penalty for 3-0
- Kuhl makes his return from injury
The Royals' under-21s kicked off the defence of their U21 Premier League Cup title in fine style, securing an impressive win over QPR at Adams Park this evening.
In freezing conditions, the game began at a fierce tempo, with the Royals making the pace and getting early joy down the right hand side of the pitch. It was from that side that Sean Long almost unlocked the Rangers defence six minutes in, crossing into the unmarked Liam Kelly who thundered a header at the target only to see a superb reaction save from Joe Lumley parry it from point blank range.
Three minutes later Dominic Samuel fizzed an effort just wide of the bottom right corner after good work from Fosu had earned the striker a clear sight of goal. But QPR found a foothold and created a couple of half chances themselves on the break, without truly testing Dan Lincoln in the Reading goal.
On the half hour, Reading broke Rangers' resistance. Harried out of possession at the back, Aaron Tshibola was alert to play a well-weighted first time pass into the path of Samuel who bore down on the QPR keeper and slotted it inside the right post to hand the cup holders the lead.
Keown blocked a Pattie shot and Lincoln held onto a speculative effort from Laurent after the midfielder had battled his way into a shooting position on the edge of the area, before a quite incredible save from Dan Lincoln was needed to prevent a Rangers equaliser on the stroke of half time. Jake Mulraney delivered a lovely inswinging cross, Aaron Mitchell brought it down with his chest and slammed a right-footed effort at goal from six yards out, but Lincoln parried it brilliantly with his body and the ball skidded out for a corner.
Reading began the second half on the front foot and Shane Griffin force Lumley into a save in the opening five minutes. But the Royals had a free kick seconds after the save and Tariqe Fosu swept a sublime right-footed set piece into the top left corner of the QPR goal to make it 2-0 in style.
Reading kept pressing for more, Samuel seeing an effort skid wide, but QPR were throwing caution to the wind and Mitchell saw a hooked effort blocked by a Reading body when it seemed Lincoln would be called into action once more.
Jack Stacey supplied Samuel with a chance to add a third soon after, breaking down the right and crossing low into the striker who sidefooted it just wide. Then a carbon copy of that chance produced the same outcome, Liam Kelly supplying the ball into the box and both Fosu and Tshibola failing to find the target.
QPR's youngsters who had only lost once in their league season before the visit to Adams Park and who sit top of their U21 Professional Development League Two (South) table, tried to find a way through a resolute Royals back line, but to no avail. Lincoln produced a couple of smart saves from Pattie's close range header and Mulraney's drilled effort from range but the holders were going to begin their cup campaign with a well-deserved win.
Stacey almost capped the victory with a curling effort that sailed inches wide, and then substitute Andrija Novakovich did add some gloss to the scoreline when he was brought down by Josh Laurent in injury time to earn a penalty he would coolly convert.
Kuhl completed the full 90 minutes on his return from injury and Martin Kuhl's side were off to a winning start.
Reading u21s: Lincoln, Long, Griffin, Keown, Sweeney, Tshibola, Kuhl, Stacey, Fosu, L Kelly, Samuel (Novakovich 86).
Subs: Ward, Owusu, Dickie, Shaughnessy.
QPR u21s: Lumley, Furlong, Gibbons, Ehmer, Wise, Comley (O'Sullivan 71), Mitchell, Mulraney (Kakay 76), Laurent, Pattie, Andrade (Shodipo 74).
Subs: Lennox, Komodikis.