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Match Reports

Under-23s edged in eight-goal thriller

Royals succumb to defeat at Hogwood

18 August 2017

Reading's Under-23s were edged 5-3 in a frantic encounter against Blackburn Rovers in the Premier League 2 at Hogwood on Friday afternoon.

Two penalties from Joseph Nuttall, coupled with efforts from Joseph Rankin-Costello, Matthew Platt and Stefan Mols gave Rovers all three points in the Premier League 2.

A Ramarni Medford-Smith tap-in along with an own goal from Platt and spot kick from Danny Loader gave the Royals a fighting chance in the game, but it wasn't to be on the day.

The match came to life immediately as Blackburn were awarded their first penalty inside three minutes, with George Legg adjudged to have fouled striker Joseph Nuttall.

Nuttall stepped up to take the spot kick, sending Legg the wrong way to give the visitors an early lead.

This lead would be doubled just two minutes later, another penalty awarded after Stefan Mols went down in the Royals’ area, and Nuttall duly slotted in to leave Royals’ U23s 2-0 down after just six minutes.

The Royals were immediately awakened by the second goal, Tyler Frost bursting through on a 30-yard run to the area, crossing to try and find Sam Smith but the ball was forced out for a corner. 

The resulting corner was swung in, Smith beat goalkeeper Andrew Fisher to the ball before Ramarni Medford-Smith made sure of the goal by prodding home from a yard to halve the deficit.

Hopes of a Royals first half comeback were short-lived as some neat passing play from Rovers found Lewis Travis out wide, who swung in an inch-perfect ball for Joseph Rankin-Costello to rise and power a header into the bottom corner.

However, 16-year-old striker Danny Loader made a darting run into the area, beating his man for pace and getting brought down by defender Charley Doyle for the referee to award the third penalty of the match inside 25 minutes.

Loader dusted himself down and calmly dispatched the penalty to bring Royals back to within a goal once more at Hogwood.

Despite some lasting pressure from the Royals, the visitors doubled their lead again on the stroke of half-time. Nuttall found space in the area, denied brilliantly at point-blanc range by Legg, but the ball was squared across goal for Mols to fire into the roof of the net to cap off a six-goal half.

The second period was greeted with a deluge of rain, thunder and hail as Royals tried to find the bright spark that would get them back into proceedings at Hogwood.

Faint hopes of a comeback were dashed after Matthew Platt rose highest from a cross, looping a well-placed header into the far corner to give Rovers a 5-2 advantage.

Despite pressing all the way through the second half, Royals got a late consolation after substitute Josh Barrett showed fleet footwork on the left hand side of the box, driving a ball across goal and turned in by Platt to cap off an eight-goal thriller at Hogwood.

Reading U23s: Legg, Howe, Osho (c), Andresson, Medford-Smith, Holmes (Barrett 53), Frost, East, Smith, Holsgrove, Loader.

Subs unused: Driscoll, House, Rollinson, Shokunbi.

Goals: Medford-Smith 10’; Loader 26’ PEN, Platt OG 87’

Bookings: Loader, Smith

Blackburn Rovers U23s: Fisher, C Doyle, J Doyle, Tomlinson (Thomson 82), Platt, Grayson, Travis, Hardcastle, Nuttall (Mansell 90+3), Mols, Rankin-Costello (Butterworth 78).

Subs unused: Magliore, Albinson.

Goals: Nuttall 3 PEN, 6 PEN; Rankin-Costello 23; Mols 45; Platt 72.

Bookings: Nuttall, Tomlinson, C Doyle, J Doyle


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