Royals make it four in a row in the U18 Premier League with dominant display at Staplewood...The Reading U18s picked up an impressive result on the road on Saturday, wrapping up 4-0 win away at Southampton in the Under 18 Premier League, and keeping the Royals second in the table -two points behind league leaders Chelsea.
A Ben House hat-trick and a strike from Jordan Holsgrove were enough to sink the Saints as the Royals dominated their opponents to continue their winning momentum, making it four wins in a row in the league.
A young Royals side that was without the likes of Danny Loader and Tyler Frost took to the field on the South Coast on Saturday for the late Morning kick-off.
Reading got off to the best possible start at Staplewood when House smashed his finish home from close-range to hand his team the lead. Southampton keeper Alex Cull saved an initial effort from the Royals, but could only parry into House’s path, who made no mistake with his finish putting the U18’s 1-0 up after just three minutes.
David Dodds' side were off to a flying start and nearly doubled their advantage seven minutes later when Ade Shokunbi rattled his effort home off the crossbar. The midfielder latched onto a deep free-kick from the left with a fine volley that had the Saints keeper beaten, but was denied what would’ve been a cracking finish by the offside flag.
Reading continued to dominate their opponents and had strong claims for a penalty waved away by the referee midway through the first period. Javen Siu looked to have felled House in the Southampton penalty area but the man in the middle signaled play-on despite the Reading appeals.
As the clock ticked towards the break, the Royals had the second goal their strong first-half display had merited, and it was House again that provided.
Fine work from Joel Rollinson saw the attacker control a long ball into the opposition area before picking out his teammate with a neat cutback. House maintained his composure and came up with an assured finish, slotting his shot home under Cull to double the lead.
Half-time: Southampton U18 0-2 Reading U18
If Southampton had thought the halftime break may have provided some rest-bite at the beginning of the second period then their hopes were misplaced, as the Royals continued their high tempo football.
House was looking razor sharp up top, and nearly wrapped up the points not long into the second half. The striker was a constant thorn in the side for the Southampton defence, forcing a fine save from Cull at his near post after a clever run in behind Saints’ back-line.
The Royals had their third at around the hour mark thanks to a fine strike from Holsgrove. The midfielder's effort all but sealed the points, picking up the ball on the edge of the Southampton area, before creating some space and rifling a powerful effort into the top corner beyond the despairing Cull.
With 20 minutes left on the clock House provided a fourth and completed his much deserved hat-trick, heading home from close range. The striker was quickest to react to a loose ball in the Southampton area and made no mistake in securing his third of the game.
The fourth goal put the icing on what had been a strong performance from David Dodds' Reading side, who saw-out the clean sheet to put three more points on the board in the U18 Premier League.
Full-time: Southampton U18 0-4 Reading U18
Reading: Driscoll, Howe (Wilson 60), Medford-Smith (Balogen 45), Odimayo, Philby (Holmes 70), Coleman, Rollinson, Shokunbi, House, Holsgrove, Green
Unused Subs: Denton, Wallace
Goals: House x3 Holsgrove
Southampton: Cull, Langan, Siu, Hamblin(C), Bradley-Green, Gardner, Davis, Thomas, Obafemi (Afolabi 55), Smallbone (Rowthorn 45), Hale (Mdlalose 45)
Unused Subs: Osborn, O’Driscoll