Villa hold Royals' attack at bay in the MidlandsThe Royals’ Under-18 side played out a goalless draw away at Aston Villa on their second league meeting of the new campaign.
A blustery afternoon in the Midlands made it particularly difficult for either side to work their opponent’s goalkeeper at Bodymoor Heath. Despite a spate of opportunities for the Royals, the Villans clung on to force a draw.
Under-18 manager David Dodds said: “The game itself was a little bit ruined by the wind – there was a gale-force wind blowing straight down the pitch, which made possession difficult for both sides and the ball was turned over a lot in a scrappy game. To put that in perspective, Joe Tupper didn’t have a save to make.
“Cameron Green had a good chance when Tyler Frost put him in with a really clever pass in the first half and unfortunately just pulled his shot wide. In the second half we pressed them in and had a lots of crosses – Joel Rollinson put some really good crosses in and we had shots blocked and turned off the line.
“We played really well but couldn’t quite break them down as they defended really well. They played on the counter-attack a bit and had a couple of flurries, but didn’t cause us any major problems. So it is a little bit disappointing to have so much of the game in the second half and not convert the chances.
“Against West Ham the week before we had several chances in the first half and couldn’t finish them off, and then got beaten in the second half. This time around, even though we didn’t win the game, at least we didn’t get beat. That’s a learning curve for the boys as well.
“It is a young and inexperienced group and most of them are playing at this level for the first time – it will take them a little while to settle, but they are learning.
“The good thing is Tom McIntyre and possibly some of the others will be stepping up to the Under-23s to face Man City, and Danny Loader is away with the England Under-16 team as well to play international football. So it’s good in that respect that they are progressing.”
Aston Villa U18: Idem, Abdoul, Bazeley, Doyle-Hayes, Clarke (Pastorek 66), Coates, Cox, Hall (Williams 81), Humphries (Knibbs 72), Rowe, Mooney.
Unused subs: Finnerty, Johansson.
Reading U18: Tupper, McIntyre, Howe, Medford-Smith, Rollinson, Shokunbi, Holsgrove, Frost, Odimayo, Green, Loader.
Unused subs: Balogun, Coleman, Hillson, Philby, Wallace.