Richards hits the net in PL2 encounterThe Royals’ Under-23s took another point in the Premier League 2 on a sodden afternoon on Wearside last Saturday, as they held hosts Sunderland to a 1-1 draw.
Omar Richards scored the opener for Reading before George Honeyman levelled shortly before the break. And Yakou Meite and Jake Cooper each got a run-out as they continued their return from injury; the former PSG winger played the first half, and our Academy graduate played 70 minutes.
It was something of a scrappy start to the game on a wet afternoon at Eppleton Colliery Welfare – but a bit of quality allowed Reading to take a lead. Meite received in space and fed overlapping full-back Jake Sheppard on the right – he sent in a low cross towards Richards, who squirmed the ball inside the far post for the opener.
The Royals could have doubled the lead but Sheppard’s bold run through the middle resulted in a shot being blocked, and then Meite’s jinking foray down the wing resulted in a cross with just too much behind it for Andrija Novakovich to get onto.
But the Black Cats got back on terms through Honeyman – he was allowed space in the box as Joel Asoro swivelled and picked the pass, and he hammered high past Luke Southwood and into the net for the opener.
Josh Barrett wasn’t far away from re-establishing a lead after half-time – with options available in the middle, he opted to shoot goalwards from a free-kick wide on the left… he pulled his effort just past the near post for Max Stryjek.
And the Black Cats got away lightly when sub Tyler Frost nipped in on a loose cross-field pass in the Sunderland half; defenders quickly swarmed the box to blunt the attack. Barrett also had a chance to win it when Richards battled hard to retain the ball on the left and fed the forward – but the shot deflected kindly off a defender for the goalkeeper.
Sunderland were guilty of wastefulness at times; Thomas Robson flashed over the bar from just outside the area after the ball had been won high upfield, before Rees Greenwood curled one round the post after receiving in a promising position.
Sub Harry Cardwell had an opportunity in the last 10 minutes as well after exchanges quick passes with Richards, but he fired over – and consequently the points were shared.
Full-time: Sunderland U23 1-1 Reading U23
Sunderland U23: Stryjek, J.Robson, T.Robson, Wright (Maja 64), Ledger, Brady, Embleton, E.Robson, Asoro, Honeyman, Greenwood.
Unused subs: Casey, Pain, Molyneux, Pybus.
Reading U23: Southwood, Sheppard, Jules, Cooper (Vancooten 69) Andresson, Bennett, Rinomhota, Richards, Barrett, Meite (Frost HT), Novakovich (Cardwell 81).
Unused subs: Tupper, East.