The full report from a game filled with late drama at Hogwood...
- Barrett hits the post in the first half for Royals before Slattery hits the woodwork for the visitors
- Southampton have goal ruled out for offside, before McQueen scores a penalty to open the scoring.
- Saints have Little sent off 10 minutes from time for a second yellow card
- Ben House equalises in the 90th minute for Royals
Both teams started at a high tempo at Hogwood, the Royals getting the first look at goal with Tom McIntyre playing wide to Josh Barrett. He then found Ben House in the box but his first touch was in the path of goalkeeper Jack Rose, who dived on the ball to smother.
Both sides were also set up well in defence, making life difficult for the attackers to make their mark on proceedings early on.
Saints threatened with a free-kick on the edge of the Royals' box, taken by first team left-back Matt Targett, but his dipping effort cleared the bar.
Clear-cut chances were at a premium in a first half dominated by the midfield and firm challenges going in from the teams.
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Troubling signs for the Royals were the loss of Jordan Holsgrove and Tom McIntyre through injury in the first half, with two substitutions Scott Marshall won't have planned so early in the game.
The closest the Royals came in the first period was a Barrett free-kick from wide, which he struck low and hard and it rattled off the base of the post.
While the Saints were winless in five before the match started, they threatened on the stroke of half-time with a deep corner met by Armani Little unmarked at the back post. He slid and got contact on the ball but it was well wide in the last action of the half.
Half time | Reading U23 0-0 Southampton U23
The visitors were quicker out of the blocks in the second half, forcing the initiative early on through Yan Valery's break on the right. He cross low into the six-yard area but it evaded a touch to go behind for a goal-kick.
The Saints kept up the pressure on the Royals' back line, Callum Slattery's low corner curling in and hitting the front post before being cleared.
Reading had Tom Holmes to thank for keeping the scores level after 65 minutes. The Saints broke with Michael Obafemi squaring to sub Jonathan Afolabi in space in the area, before Holmes sprinted back to slide and divert his effort out for a corner.
The visitors continued to have the best of the attacking threats in the second half, and had the ball in the net with Obafemi's close-range finish, but the assistant's flag was raised for offside.
Southampton had the breakthrough, though, after being awarded a penalty 15 minutes from time through a foul on Afolabi. Sam McQueen duly stepped up, sending Legg the wrong way to give the visitors the lead.
However, the game was blown wide open heading into the final 10 minutes, after Armani Little fouled Josh Barrett on the edge of the Saints' area, he was sent off for a second bookable offence to spark hopes of a late equaliser.
The ball broke out from a Reading corner into the path of Sheppard, who leathered a left-footed effort first time but a matter of inches past the post.
The final minute of the 90 ticked over, and the Royals equalised. Reading were camped in the Saints' half and the pressure told with House getting the ball 10 yards out, he drove low and hard into the bottom corner to equalise for Scott Marshall's side.
Reading could have had a winner in the dying moments, House again involved in the action after the ball dropped to him from a corner. He tried to replicate his finish with a similar strike, but that effort edged wide of the post.
Full time | Reading U23 1-1 Southampton U23
Reading U23: Legg, Holmes, Osho, McIntyre (Odimayo 33), Medford-Smith, East, Sheppard, Holsgrove (Shokunbi 8), House, Rollinson, Barrett.
Subs: Rosario, Odimayo, Buchanan, Howe, Shokunbi.
Yellow: Sheppard 45, House 45, Odimayo 60
Goals: House 90
Southampton U23: Rose, Valery, Targett, Little, Bednarek, Jones (Afolabi 55), Sims (Johnson 46), Slattery, Obafemi, Hesketh, McQueen.
Subs: Cook, Latham, O'Connor, Johnson, Afolabi.
Yellow: Little 50, Hesketh 88
Red: Little 79
Goals: McQueen 76 (P)
Referee: Mr C Brook