Reading U18s 0-1 Sunderland U18sReading’s U18s finished as runners up in Play-off Phase Group 2 after slipping to a narrow 1-0 defeat to Sunderland at Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
An early goal from Andrew Nelson put the visitors ahead and, although the Royals were the better side for the majority of the encounter, they were unable to find an equaliser.
Sam Smith and Lewis Collins both came close to drawing the Royals level but the Black Cats’ defence held firm on a sunny morning in RG2.
Sunderland nudged ahead after just two minutes when they broke out from defence and, when possession fell for Nelson, he thumped into the corner of the net from range.
Reading almost drew level immediately, though. Tennai Watson played in Jake Sheppard down the right and his fierce, low cross just eluded the on rushing Sam Smith inside the six-yard box.
Captain Collins came within inches of equaliser soon afterwards when he fired inches off target. Noor Husin won the ball on the near touchline and found his skipper, who drove forward and shot agonizingly wide of the far post.
Sunderland goalkeeper James Talbot raced quickly off his line to deny Smith before, at the other end, Royals stopper Luke Southwood made a smart stop to his left from Jordan Blinco.
Danny Williams latched onto a long through ball after the break but his looping volley was pushed away from danger by the busy Talbot. Williams again went close with the final opportunity of the game when he fired onto the roof of the net from a tight angle.
Reading: Southwood, Watson, Richards, Bennett, Osho, Husin, Rinomhota, Collins, Sheppard, Davis, Smith.
Subs: Tupper, Jules, East, Williams, Osei-Tutu.
Sunderland: Talbot, Taylor, Casey (Colquhoun, 45), Storey, McEvoy, Pybus, Embleton, Molyneux, Blinco (Graham, 85), Ganiyu (E Robson, 69), Nelson.
Subs not used: Bale, Purvis.