Middlesbrough U23s’ perfect start to the Premier League 2 season came to an end at the hands of the Royals, who were 4-3 winners at the Riverside on Sunday afternoon.
The result moved the Royals up to third in the table, only behind Blackburn on goal-difference and five points shy of Boro, who had won each of their six opening fixtures.
And Reading had the lead almost from the outset until the final whistle. Just two and a half minutes were on the clock when the game’s first goal went in – Ramarni Medford-Smith sent in a low cross and Ben House tapped in from six yards.
House grabbed his and Reading’s second before the half-hour mark – it was a bit of indecision by defender Nathan McGinley that allowed the forward to nick the ball and loft an effort over goalkeeper Aynsley Pears.
While Boro were looking to mount a comeback, Josh Barrett struck the Royals’ third to open the margin ever wider early after the break. It was a quick break that saw the attacker steam down the left and crack an effort inside the near post.
Massive 4-3 win vs Middlesbrough buzzing to get a goal and 2 assist🙏🏼 onto the next⚽️❤️ @ReadingFC— josh barrett (@10Joshbarrett) October 15, 2017
That three-goal lead was cut back down to one – George Miller the first to strike, getting up to win a back-post header, before Marcus Tavernier smashed in from 20 yards.
There was a particularly positive moment for the Royals when Tom McIntyre was reintroduced to the fold for the final stages, marking his first action for Reading in almost a year after a long injury lay-off.
Big 4-3 win today against Middlesbrough, unreal to get on for the last 15 mins after a long 10 months of injury 🙌🏽 #ReadingFC— tom mcintyre (@Tom5Mc) October 15, 2017
And Scott Marshall’s charges knuckled down to stop the rot; Ryan East struck across the face of goal and in with ten minutes remaining, killing the Teessiders’ momentum with a fourth for the Royals.
Lewis Wing reduced the arrears with five minutes remaining, curling past George Legg from the edge of the area, but it wasn’t enough.
Indeed the Royals were able to hold onto the 4-3 scoreline – and England U19 international Tavernier saw a straight red deep into added time for a malicious tackle on Royals scorer House.
Full-time: Middlesbrough U23 3-4 Reading U23
Middlesbrough U23: Pears, Coulson, Reading, Liddle, Cook, McGinley, Tavernier, Wing, Miller, Armstrong (Curry 64), Malley (O’Neill 78).
Unused subs: Hemming, Dale, Caliman.
Reading U23: Legg, Holmes, Osho, Burley (McIntyre 78), Medford-Smith, East, Sheppard, Frost, House, Holsgrove, Barrett.
Unused subs: Rosario, Rollinson, Howe, Shokunbi.