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Novakovich notches equaliser for U18s against Saints

10 February 2015

Southampton U18s 1-1 Reading U18s

Andrija Novakovich’s late goal earned Reading U18s a well-deserved point in an entertaining clash with Southampton at Staplewood.

Congolese forward Carel Kayembe put the hosts ahead from the penalty spot with 75 minutes gone after Gabriel Osho was harshly penalised for handball.

However, Royals forward Novakovich capped an impressive display by calmly rounding the Saints goalkeeper and slotting home the equaliser with 10 minutes remaining.

The result ensures David Dodds' side continue their good run of form, with Reading now unbeaten in their last five league games.

Southampton came into the fixture on the back of a FA Youth Cup loss to Leicester just 48 hours previously, and the Royals seized their chance to attack Anthony Limbrick’s fatigued outfit straight from kick-off.

Novakovich, who proved a handful all morning, pounced on an error from Oskar Cvjeticanin and flashed an effort high and wide with the game just a few minutes old.

The American frontman went even closer moments later, firing past Jake Hallett’s post after capitalising on another Cvjeticanin mistake.

With the Royals well on top, Hallett was forced to make further saves from Sam Smith’s free-kick and another Novakovich strike.

After this early flurry of pressure Saints grew into the game, with Dan Demkiv testing Reading keeper Lewis Ward from distance and Josh Lea blazing a chance over the bar.

The home side almost took the lead just before half-time when a stinging drive from Lea was tipped onto the crossbar by Ward, with the ball bouncing onto the goal line before being scrambled to safety.

Noor Husin went close for Reading after the break and Smith had the ball in the back of the net with a calm finish, but his attempt was ruled out for offside.

Ward was called into action once more when Demkiv threatened, but was helpless to prevent Southampton taking the lead through Kayembe’s penalty.

Substitute Tyreke Johnson made a break down the left and his delivery was blocked at close range by Osho, with the referee pointing to the spot.

Kayembe converted low to Ward’s right to put the home side ahead, but the Royals struck back almost immediately through the lively Novakovich.

The powerful striker broke clear, skipped past Hallett and slid home to give Reading a share of the spoils and keep them above their south-coast opponents in the table.

Southampton: Hallett, Bakary, Cull, Lea (Wilkin 64), Cook (c), Cvjeticanin, Willard, Regis, Kayembe, Olomola (Johnson 73), Demkiv. Not used: Isted, Deasy.

Reading:  Ward (c), Akinwunmi, Lawal, Collins, Osho, Jules, Sheppard, Husin, Smith, Novakovich, Davis. Not used: East, Collins, Williams, Andresson, Richards.

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