Royals beat Middlesbrough to stay thirdReading Under-21s took all three points as they beat Middlesbrough 3-2 in a thrilling victory at Hogwood Park on Wednesday afternoon.
The win keeps Royals third in the Barclays U21 Premier League, level on points with second place Spurs after 11 games.
Reading got off to a flying start and taking the lead after 14 minutes when Jake Sheppard was bought down unfairly in the Boro box. The winger had been played in brilliantly by Lisandro Semedo but was halted before he could look to finish. Liam Kelly stepped up to take the spot kick and converted coolly, handing the Royals a deserved lead.
As the first half progressed Reading continued on the front foot and looked to press home their advantage, doing just that on the 29th minute through Harry Cardwell. The striker took advantage of a clipped cross from Pierce Sweeney which cleared the opposition defence finding forward, who took the cross on his chest and slotted a precise finish past Joe Fryer in the Boro goal.
The Royals were in control for the remainder of the first half, creating a number of half chances and were good value for their two-goal lead when the half time whistle blew.
The second half started in much the same vein and nine minutes in, it looked as though the Royals had put the result beyond doubt when Semedo made it 3-0.
Some good work from Sheppard on the right hand side created space for a whipped cross. Fryer could only get a minimal amount of contact on the ball as he attempted to collect, with the cross falling invitingly to Semedo who reacted quickest. The attacker cut onto his right foot and fired his finish home to hand the Royals a three-goal cushion.
Things were not to be so straightforward for Reading however, when Boro got one back on the 66th minute. Arnel Jakupovic’s a first time shot from the right-hand edge of the penalty area swerved around goalkeeper Stuart Moore to put the visitors back in the game.
The Austria U19 international added a second on 74 minutes when he turned to rifle home low into Moore’s bottom left-hand corner from 22 yards setting up a tense final quarter of an hour at Hogwood Park.
It was the young Royals’ who took all three points though, showing maturity in the last 15 minutes by closing out the game and ensuring they took a valuable victory, keeping Reading third in the Barclays U21 Premier League.
Speaking after the game, Assistant Academy Manager Lee Herron was happy with the Reading performance, and was pleased with the way the youngsters managed to close out the game after conceding two quick goals.
“We were comfortable in first half, playing some good football and scoring two good goals”, said Herron. "We started the second half in the same vein because we knew they would come out fired up looking to affect the game, so scoring the third when we did was important.”
“We gave a poor goal away by our own admissions which gave them a bit of oxygen into their performance and they then got another one. But credit to the boys for managing the game correctly in the last 15 minutes; we kept the ball well and managed to secure the win which was an important one for us.”
Reading U21: Moore; Watson, Owusu, Fridjonsson, Hyam, Sweeney, Sheppard, Rinomhota, Cardwell, Kelly, Semedo (Lawal).
Unused subs: Ward, Husin, Jules, Chatee.
Middlesbrough U21: Fryer; Johnson, Elsdon, Williams, Bennett, Tinkler, Chapman (Pattison 60), Morris, Jakupovic, Morelli, McGinley (Maloney 85).
Unused subs: Coddington; Wheatley, Jowers.