Royals lose out in ManchesterOur Under-23 side were on the wrong side of a 2-1 scoreline when they visited Man City on Saturday, as Josh Barrett’s early goal was met by replies after the break by Paolo Fernandes and Brahim Diaz.
It was all experience for a young Royals side, which gave more game-time at U23 level to the likes of Under-18s Tyler Frost, Danny Loader, Jordan Holsgrove and Teddy Howe – the latter of which debuting at that age-group.
Man City had threatened as early as the third minute when Lukas Nmecha struck from the edge of the box, but Luke Southwood was equal to it and tipped onto the bar with an acrobatic stop.
And then the breakthrough came the Royals’ way when Sam Smith leapt well to flick on for Barrett – the Ireland Under-21 international kept his composure to fire across goal and into the far corner, giving the Royals a seventh-minute lead and the possibility of making it home and away wins against Man City for our U23s this season.
Southwood again was called into action after the half-hour mark, as Fernandes first drew a stop with a firm strike before saving low at the feet of Rodney Kongolo.
Reading couldn’t take their opportunities to extend their advantage – and ultimately that allowed City back into the game when Fernandes curled in with his left foot from the edge of the area, early in the second half.
The turnaround was complete midway through the second period when Diaz was teed up to drill from 25 yards out, and his effort clipped the inside of the post before nestling in the back of the net.
Jake Sheppard had a late chance to level from a set-piece after Reading won the ball high upfield and Smith drew a foul right on the edge of the area, but the defender couldn’t get the ball to dip in time to find the target.
Our Under-23s will be back in action on Wednesday at Madejski Stadium, taking on Hertha Berlin in the final group game of the Premier League International Cup – and before the game begins, manager Jaap Stam will be hosting a signing session in the Madejski Stadium Megastore.
Full-time: Man City U23 2-1 Reading U23
Man City U23: O’Brien, Duhaney, Latibeaudiere, Horsfield, Angelino, Garcia, Fernandes, Kongolo, Diaz, Boadu (Ambrose HT), Nmecha (Buckley-Ricketts 78).
Unused subs: Kaug, Hardy, Patching.
Reading U23: Southwood, Sheppard, Richards, Bennett, Hyam, East, Frost (Howe 77), Rinomhota, Barrett (Holsgrove 77), Novakovich (Loader 76), Smith.
Unused subs: Tupper, Medford-Smith.