Green and House net against the RedsThe Royals went top of the Under-18 Premier League Merit Group this weekend with a 2-1 win at home against Liverpool.
The table is a little skewed at the moment, with the Royals having played four of their seven fixtures while Manchester City and Arsenal have played just two and one respectively, but it is the Royals who have the points on the board at the moment!
And it was goals before the break by Cameron Green and Ben House which set things up in Reading’s favour, before Ethan Coleman was denied a third after the offside flag was raised.
With Reds legend Steven Gerrard in attendance on the visitors' coaching staff, Liverpool looked a different proposition after the break. Defender George Johnston pegged one back for the Merseysiders just two minutes after the restart, but the Royals showed grit and held on to claim all three points.
Under-18 manager David Dodds said: “We played very well in the first half – one of the more fluent performances we have had recently. We scored a good goal which was created by Ade Shokunbi and scored by Cameron Green, and we added to that after about half an hour by Ben House.
“Then we had a really good goal chalked off – it was a set piece and we thought Ethan Coleman was level with the full-back… the linesman thought otherwise. That’s a shame because a 3-0 lead might have killed the game off.
“We knew that Liverpool would come out with a reaction after half-time, especially with Steven Gerrard in their dressing room. We didn’t really deal with that and we got caught in midfield, which led to a Liverpool free-kick. The marking from that set-piece was disappointing straight after half-time, and it allowed them back in.
“That meant it was a bit of an uphill battle – perhaps if the game had been settled for 10 or 15 minutes, we would have got back in control of the game. But that oxygen we gave them really put them on the front foot and made it harder to play out from the back.
“But then we showed a different side to our game – a real resilience. We defended well – it was a real gutsy defensive performance. And then we had about three really good chances – a couple of one-on-ones with their goalkeeper which again might have allowed us to kill the game off.
“All in all, we held on and showed a different side to our game. That’s pleasing; sometimes you’ve got to put your body on the line. It’s probably the most fluent 45-minute performance we’ve had since a lot of the boys have gone up to the Under-23s, which is good, and then a bit of mental toughness to see us over the line in the second half.”
Full-time: Reading U18 2-1 Liverpool U18
Reading U18: Driscoll, Balogun (Wilson 24), Medford-Smith, Odimayo, Philby (Burley 78), Coleman, Shokunbi (Wallace 71), Green, Nolan, Loader, House.
Unused subs: Roberts, Sparta.
Liverpool U18: Atherton, N.Williams (Adekanye 86), Driscoll-Glennon, R.Williams, Johnston, Coyle, Longstaff, Sharif, McAuley (Simmonds 61), Jones (Camacho 78), Millar.
Unused subs: B.Williams, Clayton.