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U18s: Royals end Chelsea's 14-match unbeaten run

25 February 2015

Chelsea 1-2 Reading

Andrija Novakovich’s second-half strike completed Reading’s comeback as they came from behind to beat table-topping Chelsea at their Cobham training ground.  

Chelsea had not lost a game since falling to the Royals in November, a run that had stretched to 14 matches, and they went in front through Miro Muheim after just three minutes.

Jake Sheppard then levelled the tie just after the break, before frontman Novakovich notched Reading’s second to the complete Reading’s league double over the high-flying Blues.

The result makes it five wins in six games for David Dodds’ side, who have just two matches remaining in their U18s Premier League Southern Section campaign.

Chelsea made six changes to their side that beat Fulham a week earlier and they nudged ahead when Charlie Wakefield sprinted down the right wing and teed up Muheim to drill home.

Undeterred, the Royals almost responded immediately. Axel Andresson’s header bounce off the crossbar and Novakovich then shot wide soon afterwards.

Sheppard came close after 30 minutes when he jinked himself into a shooting position but could only fire narrowly wide.

On 52 minutes, though, Sheppard found the net when, after collecting possession from Novakovich, he fired home from the edge of the box.

The equaliser was no more than the young Royals deserved and less than 10 minutes later they completed the turnaround. Novakovich received possession deep in the Chelsea half and after dummying beyond Blues goalkeeper Mitchell Beeney he found the net.

Reading stopper Lewis Ward was grateful to his goal frame on 70 minutes as Ruben Sammut powered a header against the bar while, at the other end, Sheppard fired a low strike across goal and narrowly wide.

In an open final 10 minutes, Novakovich came close for the Royals but was foiled by stopper Beeney as Reading held firm to record the impressive victory.

Chelsea:  Beeney, Nartey (Guehi 82), Grant, Brady, Dasilva, Sammut, Ali, Maddox (Ugbo 59), Wakefield, Adamczyk, Muheim.
Not used: Uwakwe, Baxter, Hinckson-Mars.

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

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