Young Royals stung by BeesThe Royals were edged out of the Under-21 Premier League Cup in a tight affair at Adams Park, after being hit by two Brentford goals against the run of play.
Despite a late strike from Pierce Sweeney, Reading could not find an equaliser with Brentford progressing to the next round courtesy of a 2-1 win.
The first 10 minutes of the game were extremely open with both sides creating a number of half chances. Brentford had a number of shots from range all flying well wide of Stuart Moore’s goal. On the 9th minute it was the Royals who came the closest, when Tariqe Fosu beat his man and had his shot from outside the box bounce just wide of the post.
As the half progressed the Royals grew in confidence and began to control the game. The first clear opportunity did not come until the 19th minute with the chance again falling to Fosu. A jinking run down the left wing from Lisandro Semedo picked out the forward who cut onto his right foot but his curling effort was well saved by Nik Tzanev in the Brentford goal.
It was a half of few chances, but just as Reading seemed to be getting a grip of possession in midfield, Brentford struck to take the lead against the run of play. A direct ball forward found Jermaine Udumaga on the edge of Reading’s box who smashed a fierce shot into the top corner.
The Royals looked to respond quickly and on the 38th minute they nearly did just that when Jack Stacey made a powerful run down the right hand side. His cross flashed across the face of goal and found Shane Griffin at the back post who could only fire high and wide from close range.
The second half began with the Royals on the front foot pressing for an equaliser. Fosu was causing Brentford real problems on the left wing and again came close when his close range effort sailed over the bar after working an opening.
Dominic Samuel was the next to create an opportunity when his drive from the edge of the Bees box forced a superb save from the Brentford keeper. Tzanev in the Brentford goal was called into action a couple of minutes later when Samuel again tested him. This time the striker beat his man on the right hand side before curling shot across goal, only for the stopper to deny him with a fine right handed save.
Andrija Novakovich was the next to force a save out of Tznaev when he attempted to slide the ball in at the near post after a darting run off the left wing. As the half wore on it seemed that it was going to be a matter of time before the Royals found the illusive equalizer, only for Brentford to strike again against the run of play.
A quick counter attack on the 78th minute caught the Royals defence cold and substitute Herson Rodrigues Alves was found in the centre of the Reading box, dispatching his finish coolly from the six yard box to double the visitors lead.
Reading did not stop pushing to get back in the game and on the 86th minute they finally got the breakthrough from an unlikely source. The ball bounced out of the Brentford box after a Reading corner finding Pierce Sweeney in space who unleashed a fine curling effort finding the top corner and handing the home side hope.
The Royals continued to press but were unable to find a way past the Brentford defence that remained resolute until the final whistle, despite a late red card for Josh Laurent, ensuring it was the Bees that progressed to the next round of the competition.
Full-time: Reading U21 1 Brentford U21 2
Reading U21: Moore, Stacey, Griffin, Shaughnessy, Hyam, Sweeney, Semedo (Owusu), Novakovich (Fridjonsson), Samuel (Cardwell), Kelly, Fosu.
Unused subs: Ward, Rinomhota.
Brentford U21: Tzanev, Mepham, Field, Ferry, Barbet, O’Shaughnessy, Senior (Alves), Macleod, Udumaga, Westbrooke (Laurent), Holldack.
Unused subs: Clayton, Qurri, Greaves.