Royals beat Leicester at a blustery HogwoodRoyals forward Rowan Liburd scored the only goal of the game as Reading beat Leicester City in the Barclays U21 Premier League at a blustery Hogwood Park.
A Reading side, which featured new signings Deniss Rakels and George Evans as they looked to get more minutes into their legs, took to the pitch trying to overcome a Leicester team who had beaten the Royals when the two clubs met earlier in the season.
Liburd’s 74th minute goal was enough to seal the points for the Royals in a closely fought affair, with the striker netting his 11th goal of the season for the U21s.
In a first half of difficult conditions the Royals controlled possession in the midfield through Aaron Kuhl and Evans. A 45 minutes of few chances saw the Royals restrict Leicester to only one shot on goal, with the Royals creating a few half chances.
As the two teams headed into the break the scores were level with the Royals dealing well with an aggressive Foxes side.
The second half saw Reading kick against the wind as they looked to take the lead. As the half progressed the Royals began to create more opportunities opening Leicester up on several occasions.
It was not until the 74th minute that Reading made what turned out to be the definitive breakthrough. A slick passing move that started in midfield cut through the Foxes defence, finding Liburd on the edge of the Leicester box. The forward played a quick one-two before slotting the ball coolly into the back of the net.
The Royals comfortably saw out the remaining quarter of an hour despite the visitors’ efforts to get back into the game, putting them back on a winning track in the league.
After the game Royals U21 manager Martin Kuhl was pleased with his side’s performance and the quality the team showed in difficult conditions against a tough opponent.
“It’s a good result because mistakes have cost us in the last few weeks when I think overall we have played quite well," said Kuhl. "We’ve had a few lads that are new to the Under-21s so they were having to get used to the pace and the tempo of the game.
“We did well to dominate the first half in horrible conditions against them because they were a strong and aggressive side, but I think once we locked horns with them our quality showed through especially in the second half.
"Over the last few weeks we’ve been talking about having to find a winning way and we did that today with a good team performance.”
Reading U21s: Moore, Watson, Long, Evans (Kelly 64), Keown, Jules, Stacey, Kuhl, Liburd (Cardwell 81), Rakels (Novakovich 64), Fosu.
Unused Subs: Osho, Ward.
Goal: Liburd (74).
Leicester City U21s: Iversen, Amartey, Pacanu (Ndukwu 68), Chaudury, Moore, Johnson, Miles, Watson, Blythe, Muskwe (Rowe 55), Dodoo (Cain 55).
Unused Subs: Fox, Maddison.