The Royals Under-18s were narrowly defeated in London by their West Ham counterparts on Saturday.
It was a game played in windy circumstances in the capital in which the Royals did a lot right – it was just an unfortunate error by the Royals stopper which proved the difference on the scoresheet at the end of the game.
Under-18s boss David Dodds said: “There was a 40mph wind blowing straight across the pitch so the conditions were a little bit difficult for both teams. But we controlled the game with the ball on the grass, which was good, and we played our way into their half most of the time with some quality.
“What was lacking was that final pass, or recognising the run or a little combination to open it up. We had a few shots that flashed just wide – Ethan Coleman narrowly missed the top corner, and Shamar Moore saw a shot saved with his legs. At the other end Adam Debois made a good save from a snapshot.
“Really it was a stalemate, and the game continued by that, but it was an unfortunate error that gave them their goal. In the second half we were into double-figures for the number of set-pieces and corners that we had – we just couldn’t quite get the deliveries or the runs right, it was a bit of everything.
“In the way that we played out from the back and through the thirds, up to the important part of the pitch, it was top drawer. After that we didn’t create nearly enough to marry up with the amounts of possession we had.
“We’ve been working ever so hard on decision making in the final third – trying to get players to see the right options in that area of the pitch. If we can do that, then we’re not far away. The progression of the players on the whole is very good, but we need to be a bit more ruthless in the final third to cap what have been decent performances.”
Full-time: West Ham United U18 1-0 Reading U18
West Ham United U18: Matrevics, Okotcha, Wells, Ngakia, Longelo-Mbule, Henry, El Mhassani, Mingi, Rusa, Adarkwa, Emmanuel (Constantinou HT).
Unused subs: Sanneh, Dalipi, Forson, Seurier.
Reading U18: Desbois, Wilson, Balogun, Burley, Odimayo, Coleman, Sparta, Buchanan, Pendlebury, Nolan, Moore.
Unused subs: Hansen, Elva-Fountaine, Roberts, Wallace, Philby.