Rinomhota, McIntyre and Frost all net in 3-1 winThe Royals’ Under-23s got off to an ideal start in their Premier League Cup campaign as they overcome Birmingham City with a 3-1 win at Solihull Moors' Autotech Stadium.
The rain was unrelenting throughout in the Midlands – and Reading also were relentless in their play and got the win thanks to first-half goals by Andy Rinomhota, Tom McIntyre and Tyler Frost, picking up a perfect start in a group which also includes Sheffield United and Stoke City.
Not even a minute had passed before the deadlock was broken – Zak Jules' ball out of defence was cleverly flicked through by Dominic Samuel to allow midfielder Rinomhota to steal in - and then to pick out a composed finish from the edge of the area, past the advancing goalkeeper.
That lead lasted just five minutes though – Corey O'Keeffe was deemed just onside as he took down a raking ball from the left for the Blues on his chest, and with his second touch slotted just inside Stuart Moore’s upright on the run to restore parity.
But midway through the first half, Academy scholar McIntyre added another goal to his impressive tally so far this year – the 17-year-old rose high at the back stick to power in Josh Barrett’s inswinging free-kick, restoring Reading’s advantage.
And then just a few minutes later, shortly after Barrett had been denied a goal of his own with a fierce strike from the edge of the area, left-back Shane Griffin got to the byline to hang up a cross for the onrushing Frost to head in a Reading third at the far post.
The damage could have been worse for the hosts before half-time – Samuel was denied a penalty shout, and full-back Jake Sheppard had a thunderous effort turned just past the upright as he burst into the attack. And Barrett was a whisker away from finding the net from the edge of the box, which would have been a quite superb team goal.
The second half was a goalless affair – though that owed a lot to the performance of the goalkeepers. Moore made a stunning one-on-one save to deny O’Keeffe a second for the Blues, while Sheppard was again denied at the near post after a ball was allowed to squirm free in the right channel.
Moore’s crossbar was rattled from distance midway through the second half and sub Harry Cardwell drew a fine stop from a narrow angle in the closing stages for Reading, but the Royals held the two-goal margin when the final whistle was sounded.
Full-time: Birmingham City U23 1-3 Reading U23
Birmingham City U23: Weaver, Dacres-Cogley, Caddis (Seddon), Cleary, Martin, Cooper, Maxwell, Lubala (Poppa), O’Keeffe, McDonald (Mbunga), Hale.
Reading U23: Moore, Sheppard, Griffin, Jules, McIntyre, Bennett, Rinomhota, Frost, Barrett, Novakovich (Cardwell), Samuel.