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Report | Young Royals grind out dramatic victory in FA Youth Cup

Both sides have a man sent off in 2-1 Reading victory

14 December 2017

The full report on a dramatic FA Youth Cup tie at Madejski Stadium...

  • Desbois makes superb save inside 70 seconds for Royals
  • Danny Loader gives Reading the lead after 20 minutes, before Faniyan doubles the advantage in the first half
  • Alexander pulls one back for Millwall on the stroke of half-time
  • Both sides sent down to 10 men early in the second half
  • Holsgrove has penalty saved by Millwall goalkeeper Jackson


Reading had to contend with a Millwall side that burst out of the blocks at Madejski Stadium, with Lucas Sinclair's 18-yard effort heading towards the top corner but for a flying save from Adam Desbois in the Royals' goal.

The Royals' attack begun their probing runs forward soon after, with Danny Loader, one of several players to be regulars in the U23s this season, drove low across goal but it was cleared away for a corner.

The first clear-cut Reading chance came when Jordan Holsgrove lifted a free-kick into the area, Ethan Coleman volleyed back across goal before centre-half Tom Holmes prodded wide.

The breakthrough came mid-way through the first half, with Loader played through after Jack Buchanan played to Scotland U19 international Holsgrove, who in turn threaded through for Loader to beat the offside trap and slot under the goalkeeper.

There was a nervous moment, though, as Buchanan was briefly down after a blow to the head in a tackle, but he was swiftly seen to by the Reading medical team and he was cleared to carry on.

David Dodds' side looked good value to double their lead in the first half, and that came as Andre Burley squared for Ayo Faniyan in the box, who controlled, turned and shot expertly into the top corner.

It was the Lions who were galvanised by the second Royals goal, though, and exerted pressure towards the end of the first period. Skipper Jesse Debrah forced Desbois into another fine save as he tipped his header over the bar.

Millwall found themselves back to within a solitary goal, though, when George Alexander bundled in from a cross on the left to give the visitors the momentum as the players headed back down the tunnel.

Half time | Reading U18 2-1 Millwall U18

A dramatic start to the second half followed as both sides were sent down to 10 men at the same time.

Lucas Sinclair put a tackle in on Ethan Coleman in midfield, and unsavoury scenes between the pair afterwards sparked a brawl between both sets of players. 

All three officials deliberated for over a minute before deciding to send both players down the tunnel to end their night.

The Lions began to exert pressure on the Royals in search of the equaliser, with Reading steadfast in defence to preserve their lead.

The Royals were given the perfect chance to re-take a two-goal lead after Jamal Balogun was fouled in the area by Debrah, but Holsgrove's spot kick was saved superbly at full-stretch by Jackson.

Both teams tried to keep up the pressure on the other's goal, with plenty at stake for both on the night.

Reading showed their passing prowess in midfield with some superb one-touch work, capped by Loader's backheeled through-ball to substitute Khalid Simmo in space. 

Soon after, a Royals corner was punched clear but only into the path of Nolan, who laid off for Buchanan to strike with venom, but it inched past the upright.

Holsgrove also found space in the Lions' area, unleashing a low strike across goal, but inching wide of the right-hand post.

Despite six added minutes at Madejski Stadium, the young Royals held on to put their names in the pot for Round Four, where they will face Charlton Athletic away from home, with the next tie being played by Saturday January 20th.

Full time | Reading U18 2-1 Millwall U18

Reading U18: Desbois, Burley (Elva-Fountaine 46), Odimayo (c), Holmes, Balogun, Buchanan, Faniyan (Simmo 77), Coleman, Loader, Holsgrove, Nolan (Wilson 90).

Subs: Wilson, Hillson, Elva-Fountaine, Simmo, Lawrence.
Yellow: Loader 69, Buchanan 73, Wilson 90+3
Red: Coleman 50
Goals: Loader 21, Faniyan 39

Millwall U18: Jackson, West (Taylor 83), Tiensia, Hanson, Debrah, Strachan, Olaofe, Wicks, Alexander, Saunders-Henry (Topalloj 83), Sinclair.
Subs: Duncan, Wright, Mitchell, Topalloj, Taylor.
Yellow: Wicks 87
Red: Sinclair 50
Goals: Alexander 45+1

Referee: Mr M Rushton

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