Derby County U21s 0-1 Reading U21sReading stepped up their bid for promotion to the Under 21 Premier League First Division with a 1-0 win over second-placed Derby County on Monday evening.
Andrija Novakovich struck the decisive blow seven minutes from time, which keeps Martin Kuhl’s men third in the Division Two table – just a point behind the Rams and having played a game less.
The Royals have four games remaining this term, three of which are at home, and a perfect record in those games will guarantee them promotion to Division One.
Hosts Derby headed into last night’s clash having won six successive matches but the Royals, who had won their previous four games themselves, proved to have too much for them.
Reading started on the front foot and had sight of goal when Nana Owusu poked over the crossbar from close range. At the other end, Callum Guy sent a left-footed strike well off target.
Guy again went close as the first period drew to a close but, having been played in Alefe Santos, his shot was well repelled by Royals stopper Dan Lincoln.
Owusu went close again at the beginning of the second half. He saw a low strike blocked by before Derby defender Max Lowe and goalkeeper Jonathan Mitchell combined well to get in the way of Harry Cardwell’s follow up.
The Rams introduced first teamer Mason Bennett just beyond the hour mark and he immediately forced Lincoln into action, with the stopper flying to one side to tip away a powerful, left-footed shot.
But the Royals nudged ahead seven minutes from the end when Novakovich prodded home after Derby had failed to clear a free-kick. The goal proved to be decisive as the hosts failed to find an equaliser, meaning that it’s now five successive wins for the U21s and four clean sheets on the bounce as well.
Derby County: Mitchell, Ssewankambo, Lowe, Hanson, Lelan, Sharpe, Santos, Koblenz (McDonald 87), Thomas, Guy, Calero (Bennett 65).
Not used: Wassall, Barnes, Vernam
Reading: Lincoln, Long, Griffin, Fridjonsson, Keown, Sweeney, Owusu (Rinamhota 82), Kuhl, Cardwell, Novakovich, Fosu.
Not Used: Hyam, Ward, Sheppard, Husin