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Match Reports

Kelly wonder strikes seal Second Round berth

Gillingham undone by youthful Royals outfit

8 August 2017

Apologies, this video is unvailable.

Two sizzling strikes from Liam Kelly settled this First Round Carabao Cup tie at Madejski Stadium - as the Royals knocked League One Gillingham out of the competition at the first hurdle with two second half goals.

  • Three debuts handed to Academy trio Rinomhota, Smith and Andresson. 
  • Kelly sweeps a superb first time right-footed effort flailing Holy for 1-0
  • Kelly adds a second with a sweetly struck thunderbolt late on. 
Jaap Stam made six changes to the eleven that started at QPR, handing debuts to Sam Smith and Andy Rinomhota as well as a full debut for Omar Richards. No fewer than 10 players on the teamsheet were products of our Category One Academy. The average age of the starting XI was 22 years, 10 months and 12 days.

A cautious start from both sides saw the Royals boss possession for the first ten minutes, without really threatening the Gillingham goalmouth. The League One side had the first shot at goal through Jake Hessenthaler, but he drove high over the crossbar from 25 yards out without troubling Anssi Jaakkola in the Reading goal.

Scott Wagstaff took a tumble inside the Royals box under pressure from Gunter as he scurried onto a threaded ball between defenders. But the referee rightly awarded nothing despite a half-hearted appeal for a penalty.

Midway through the half, Reading got a glimpse of goal and it almost broke the deadlock. Barrett received the ball in midfield and had the time and space to turn and feed Andy Rinomhota. The debutant drove forward and drilled low towards the bottom left corner, but just wide from distance.

Jaakkola calmly plucked a tame Tom Eaves header out of the night sky before Chris Gunter powered into a shooting position at the other end only to see his effort deflect wide for a corner.

With half an hour played, Kelly crossed from the right and Moore went down in the middle as the East Stand appealed for a penalty. Smith looped a header goalwards but it was too high to force Tomas Holy into a stop.

Darren Oldaker send a skidding 25 yards free kick harmlessly wide of the left upright. At the other end Smith produced a deft touch to control a fiercely delivered cross from Gunter, but he couldn't get the ball out from under his feet to get a shot in.

Eaves glanced a difficult headed chance wide, while a Liam Kelly counter attack was cynically ended with a foul from Darren Cundle who received the first booking of the cup tie.

Barrett arrowed speculatively wide from long range and, as a goalless first half drew to a close, Moore burst out from the back and rifled a low right-footed shot towards goal that was blocked en route.

Half time: Reading 0-0 Gillingham
Mo Barrow was brought off the bench at the break, replacing Joseph Mendes up front and he rolled his man early in the second half before firing a shot over from the edge of the Gillingham box.

Josh Parker caused Pelle Clement some concern as he squirmed into the Reading area from the left and stabbed a low cross into the middle which Jaakkola did well to smother.

Jaakkola produced a superb reaction save to deny Eaves who powerfully struck an effort at goal from 15 yards out - the Finn flying to his left to push the ball wide.

Then Kelly responded with a surging run down the middle which ended in a shot from 20 yards out that sailed over the crossbar.

And just short of the hour mark, Moore should have made it 1-0. Kelly's floated corner was met by the centre-back's header in the middle - but the defender's effort was well saved by Holy.

Kelly so nearly threaded a ball through to Barrow, but a last gasp interception halted the pacy Gambian in his tracks.

And the breakthrough came with 20 minutes of the match remaining - courtesy of a stunning strike from Kelly. The ball was worked out to the right and then fed into the midfielder's feet on the edge of the box. Kelly took it first time and swept a superb right-footed effort past Holy and into the back of the Gills net.

Clement forced Holy into a smart save low to his left soon after as Reading looked to put the tie to bed.

Clement sought a second with an arcing effort that dropped just wide, but Kelly sealed the victory with his second of the game and another scorching hit. 

Barrow passed the ball into the diminutive midfielder's feet and he quickly teed the ball up for a shot just inside the area and thundered a sweetly struck effort inside the left post for 2-0.
Kelly was looking for a hat-trick but turned provider in injury time when his dinked cross fell loose to Quinn who, off balance, directed an effort just wide. But the tie was well won and Reading's name will be in Thursday night's draw for the Second Round.

Full time: Reading 2-0 Gillingham

Reading: Jaakkola, Gunter (c), Richards (Andresson 63), Moore, Evans, Kelly, Rinomhota, Barrett (Quinn 58), Clement, Smith, Mendes (Barrow HT).


Unused subs: Legg, East, Frost, Loader.

Goals: Kelly 71, 86



Gillingham: Holy, O'Neill (c), Ehmer, Wagstaff, Hessenthaler (Chapman 78), Ogilvie, Parker, Oldaker, Cundle (Wilkinson 69), Wright, Eaves (Nash 74).
Unused subs: List, O'Mara, Hadler, Byrne.
Yellow: Cundle

Att: 5,936 (450 away)

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