Royals too strong for Boro in a dominant display at Adams ParkReading wrapped up a convincing Premier League Cup win over visitors Middlesbrough on Monday afternoon thanks to a brace from Joseph Mendes and strikes from Yakou Meite and Gabriel Osho.
After going a goal down in the first half Mendes found the leveller with a cool finish on the 36th minute. The second half saw Reading blow their opponents away, with Osho heading home to give the hosts a deserved lead. Mendes added to his tally after a decisive run and finish, and Meite volleyed home late-on to make sure of the victory.
The Royals named write a strong side for the afternoon’s clash with Middlesbrough at in the knockout stages of the Premier League Cup. A team that included the likes of Joseph Mendes, Yakou Meite and Tennai Watson took the pitch as Reading looked to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the tournament.
The game began at a slow pace with both sides having to get used to the heavy rain and blustery conditions in High Wycombe. The opening few minutes saw both sides compete for possession in the middle of the park before Boro took the lead with the first meaningful attack of the day.
A bold run from winger Marcus Tavernier down the left flank saw the wide man fizz a dangerous ball low into the Reading box. Bradley Fewster latched onto cross to give the visitors the lead, poking his finish into the roof of the net.
Reading responded well and proceeded to dominate first half proceedings from then on in. Two good blocks from Boro kept the Royals out in the following moments. Mendes, Meite and Andrija Novakovich were all looking dangerous for the Royals in attack. Meite was the first to strike, with the Boro defender managing to deflect his curling goal-bound effort just over the crossbar.
Next to go close for Reading was Mendes, who was quick to get onto an in-swinging Ryan East corner. The striker hit a low drive goal-wards from close-range, but his shot was well blocked by Matthew Elsdon and scrambled clear by Boro.
As the half progressed the Reading intensity continued to increase, until finally the Royals had the breakthrough. A perfectly weighted ball over the top from East picked out Mendes who controlled brilliantly before slotting his finish through the legs of Middlesbrough keeper Aynsley Pears.
Reading continued to press for the final ten minutes of the half but to no avail with the scores level at 1-1 as the referee blew his whistle for half time.
Half Time: Reading U23 1-1 Middlesbrough U23
Reading began the second half where they left off in the first, looking very dangerous as they pressed forward. It only took Martin Kuhl’s men a minute to take the lead as East delivered another dangerous delivery from a Reading corner. The ball, whipped into the centre, found the head of Rob Dickie whose effort was tipped onto the crossbar. Gabriel Osho followed up to nod the ball into the net a give Reading a deserved lead.
The Reading forward line continued to look dangerous and Meite went close for a second time when he was picked out by teammate Mendes on the edge of the box. He manoeuvred the ball well onto his left foot but a low shot was well saved by Pears.
Not long later Mendes found the net again for the Royals, to score his second and Reading’s third. The Frenchman picked the ball up midway inside the opposition half before dropping a shoulder to beat his marker. As he approached the edge of the area, Mendes unleashed a powerful drive which flew past the Boro keeper and into the back of the net.
The visitors were trying to come up with answers to the Reading attack but struggled to make many opportunities of their own. Tavernier went closest for them in the following minutes when his shot flew just wide of the Reading left-hand upright.
As Boro pushed forward the Royals were looking a real threat on the counter attack, and with three minutes to play Meite wrapped up the tie. The forward latched onto a high ball into the Boro box to volley home from six-yards making the score 4-1.
Reading saw out the remaining few minutes comfortably to book their place in the next round of the tournament after a very strong second half display at Adams Park.
Full-time: Reading U23 4-1 Middlesbrough
Reading: Legg, Watson, Dickie, Osho, Richards, East, Meite, Rinomhota, Mendes, Frost, Novakovich.
Unused Subs: Medford-Smith, Driscoll, Holsgrove, Barrett, Smith
Goals: Mendes 36', 64' Osho 46'
Middlesbrough: Pears, McGhee, McGoldrick, Elsdon, Torrajon, Liddle (Maloney 70'), Mondal, Pattison, Fewster, Tavernier (Wheatley 81'), Coulson (Hegarty 70').
Unused Subs: O'Neill, James
Goals: Fewster 9'
Referee: Mr C Hicks