Academy side grab first win of the new seasonThe Royals’ Under-18 side fought off a determined Fulham to get the three points on a hot day at Hogwood, earning their first victory of the new season.
Trailing by a goal at the break, Reading came out all guns blazing at the start of the second half – three goals in the space of a few minutes by Tyler Frost, Joel Rollinson and trialist Ben House gave the Royals a two-goal margin, which the Cottagers weren’t able to reel in despite pegging one back late on.
Under-18 manager David Dodds said: “We started the game well, we had some good little interchanges and then all of a sudden Fulham had a shot from the edge of our box and we suddenly found ourselves one-nil down.
“It was a bit of a blow as we’d had the better start and in the first half we had the ball in the back of their net, only for Ben House to be deemed to be offside. Then we had several more half chances, but we just couldn’t get the ball over the line.
“I thought we’d be winning in the first half, or at least level. I went in and had a chat with the boys about it at half time and we started the second half with more aggression than the first half. We pressed them up a little higher up the pitch and we scored three goals in ten minutes."
The first goal came as Reading were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous area, allowing 17-year-old Tyler Frost to step up and curl the ball into the far corner.
A minute later, the game had been turned completely on its head. Frost, scorer of the first, turned provider this time as he curled a cross into the box where it was met by the head of Rollinson who flicked it on past the goalkeeper.
The scoring spree wasn’t over yet and good team play on the 52nd minute saw trialist Ben House get on the end of a pass, shift it quickly between his feet before rifling it into the goal leaving the score at 3-1.
It was at this stage that manager David Dodds was faced with a tough decision. “We had to decide whether to try and kill them off or stay back and defend - sometimes you can get caught out between the two," he continued.
“We had several good periods of play. Frost almost got another as his shot rebounded off the underside of the crossbar.”
“Then they went for it in the last 25 minutes and with about 5 minutes to go they grabbed a second. That gave us a pretty nervous final five minutes together with injury time but we held out and got the result.
“Overall I feel it was a good performance, a little bit of grit in there, little bit of artistry and a little bit of balance.”
“With three goals from three different players, as well as young trialist Ben House getting on the scoresheet, I’m pleased. We were also missing a couple of players with Danny Loader away with the England Under-16 squad where he grabbed a goal and Tom McIntyre also scoring for the Under-23s and unfortunately we were also missing the injured Ramarni Medford-Smith.
“These are three players who we hold in high regard and for various reasons weren’t on the pitch and as such we must give credit to the boys who stepped in and performed.”
Reading U18: Collings, Howe, Green, Shokunbi (Denton, 75), Odimayo, Philby, Rollinson, Coleman, House, Frost, Holsgrove (Wilson, 85).
Unused subs: Balogun, Hillson, Buchanan.
Fulham U18: Ashby-Hammond, Jenz, Mundle-Smith, Felix, Spence, Pearce, Kelly (De Havilland, 66), Harris, Elstone (Thompson, 59), Kwietniewski.
Unused subs: Schwarzer, Tahir.