Comfortable win over Boreham Wood in first pre-season friendlyBoreham Wood 0
Reading 5 (Evans 44, Rakels 59, Fosu 79, 90, Kelly 84)
The Royals got off to a winning start in the first of their summer pre-season friendlies, emerging 5-0 victors at a blustery Boreham Wood this afternoon.
George Evans opened the scoring with a well-struck effort from the edge of the area that whistled past Sam Beasant and inside the right post on the stroke of half-time, before Deniss Rakels read a sublime Kermorgant flick to lob Beasant for a second on the hour.
Wholesale changes in the second half didn't halt Reading's hunger for more goals and Dominic Samuel's low cross was finished with aplomb by Tariqe Fosu at the far post before Liam Kelly scored a fourth with a sublime set piece. Fosu added a fifth, capping off a lovely passing move in and around the hosts' area and Reading fans will go away pleased with what was a comfortable win and an encouraging display.
A brand new season, a new-look squad taking shape, but some things don’t change. Paul McShane thundered into a 50:50 aerial challenge with just two minutes played and had to spend ten minutes in the dressing room getting patched up before returning to the field with a customary white bandage wrapped around his forehead.
The first real chance fell to Yann Kermorgant who forced his way into a shooting position with ten minutes played, nodding the ball into the box and preparing to pull the trigger only for a last ditch sliding tackle from Matt Paine to prevent Sam Beasant being called into early action.
Moments later Garath McCleary got the opportunity to stretch his legs in space down the left and he did get a shot away, forcing Beasant into a save with a strike from distance.
McCleary’s fleet of foot almost created a chance for Evans in the middle but a low cross was cut out by a watchful Boreham Wood defence, then Danny Williams found the side netting with a right-footed strike.
McCleary was proving the main threat to Wood’s defence and he brought down a long ball beautifully, turning in the process and then shooting first time only to see his effort arrow over the crossbar.
Beasant, the son of Royals goalkeeping coach Dave, pushed a downward Kermorgant header away from his bottom left corner, before Yakubu forced Al Habsi into action with a placed right-footed shot that was looking to squirm into the bottom right corner on the half hour.
Reading pressed for an opening goal that looked like it would come and on the stroke of half-time it did. Deniss Rakels controlled a ball out to the left side of the box and he teed up Evans with a ball back to the midfielder on the edge of the box. Evans picked his spot, firmly placing a shot through a crowd of bodies and inside the right post to hand the Royals the lead.
HALF TIME: Boreham Wood 0-1 Reading
Rakels took early aim at the start of the second half but fired over from a difficult angle, then Fosu was brought down in the box but the defender was deemed to have taken the ball. And at the other end Yakubu half appealed for a penalty as he ran into Evans inside the area, but he got up with a smile on his face knowing no foul had been committed.
Fosu brought down a good crossfield ball on the right and cut inside to pull the trigger with his left foot, only to see his effort bobble wide of the right post.
But the lead was doubled when a delightful flick from Kermorgant looped into the run of Rakels and, spotting the keeping coming off his line, the Latvian striker got to the ball first and lifted the ball over Beasant and into the back of the net.
Stam made wholesale changes just after the hour, making eight changes in total to introduce Tanner, Stacey, Samuel, Gravenberch, Griffin, Dickie, Jules and Barrett.
But it was the home side who almost found the net next, Ricky Shakes powering onto a good pull back from the right to fire first time over the crossbar with a thunderous effort that just kept rising.
The Royals' flow had become a little disjointed with so many changes, but Tariqe Fosu added a third with little more than ten minutes remaining. Samuel was released down the right and he fizzed a dangerous cross into the box where it skipped through to Fosu at the far post - the substitute calmly finished to make it 3-0.
There was still time for more though and after Dominic Samuel had won a free kick by being dragged back by Joe Devera, Liam Kelly executed a brilliant set piece to arc the ball over the wall and into the top left corner with the keeper helpless to stop it rippling the net.
And Fosu stole a second by tapping home a fifth for Stam's side in injury time, ending a lovely passing move that capped a convincing performance.
FULL TIME: Boreham Wood 0-5 Reading
Reading: Al Habsi, Watson (Dickie 63), Obita (Griffin 63), Cooper (Gravenberch 63), McShane (Jules 63), Van den Berg (Kelly HT), Evans (Tanner 63), Williams (Barrett 63), McCleary (Fosu HT), Rakels (Stacey 63), Kermorgant (Samuel 63).
Unused subs: Ward.
Boreham Wood: Beasant, Nunn, Gibbons, Ricketts, Paine, Stephens, Moke, Chiedozie, Andrade, Uchechi, Yakubu.
Unused subs: White, Gibbs, Woodards, Morrison, Devera, Clifford, Davis, Shakes, Ferrier, Daniels, Strutton.