Howe’s strike and Rollinson double win it for RoyalsReading’s Under-18 squad restarted their league campaign after their festive break with a 3-0 away win at Fulham’s Motspur Park on Saturday.
Parity lasted just 25 minutes, when right-back Teddy Howe combined well with midfielder Joel Rollinson down the Cottagers’ left flank, before cutting inside onto his left foot and slot in an overdue opener.
Despite Reading’s dominance in the first period, the hosts had a route back into the game when they were awarded a penalty five minutes after the break. But Matthew O’Riley’s penalty was comfortably stopped by Liam Driscoll between the Royals’ sticks.
And the Royals continued to look sharp and were rewarded with a second goal before the game reached the hour-mark. It was roles reversed this time, with Howe getting to the right-hand byline and providing the assist for Rollinson with a pull-back, allowing the midfielder to slot in neatly.
Two minutes from time, sub Jack Nolan nicked the ball high upfield and unselfishly laid in Rollinson for his second and Reading’s third, rolling into the unguarded net.
Under-18 manager David Dodds said: “We brought the players in sporadically over Christmas, just to keep them ticking over – and I think it worked. I thought we played really well with high-performance levels in a game that has always been a stern test.
“We passed the ball well out from the back and the midfielders had a lot of overloads down the sides. It was a pleasing performance after the new year, and it was a thoroughly deserved result. We had several other chances and if we had been a little bit more ruthless, we could possibily have won the game more comfortably.
“At 1-0 at half-time, we had dominated the game – they came out firing and got a chance with an early penalty. It’s all about learning – and I think we did dominate the game enough in the second half that we deserved to be comfortable.
“With both the Under-18s and the Under-23s, we are really working hard to try and emulate the shape and pattern of the first team. We still have some fine tuning to do but we did well in using the style that the senior players use.”
Full-time: Fulham U18 0-3 Reading U18
Fulham U18: Ashby-Hammond, Mundle-Smith, Felix, Asare (Martin HT), Garrido, Thomas (Santos-Clace 65), Pearce (Spence HT), Harris, Sessegnon, O’Riley, Elstone.
Unused subs: Lukwata, Kelly.
Reading U18: Driscoll, Howe, Balogun, Philby, Odimayo (Nolan 67), Shokunbi (Wallace 83), Coleman, Rollinson, Green (Holmes 67), Holsgrove, House.
Unused subs: Denton, Wilson.