Reading’s youngsters were put to the sword by a 4-0 scoreline by Arsenal on their trip to Shenley Training Centre on Saturday.
Defender Vontae Daley-Campbell notched midway through the first half on the counter, and while Reading saw a lot of the ball and looked for openings, a Folarin Balogun brace either side of Tyreece John-Jules’ sole strike saw the Gunners blitz the Royals to seal a home win.
Under-18 manager David Dodds said: “I had to watch the game a couple of times to make sure that we saw everything. It’s a young team, and there were some unnecessary mistakes for each goal – but a few mistakes leading to each, and we need to cut those out.
“We kept the ball 15% more than they did – we did dominate possession. But there were some similar events to previous games – a couple of naïve mistakes which caused the goals. For example the first goal was a case of being beaten at the byline and then not tracking the runner.
“The problem at the moment is that we’re not quite creating enough in the final third – we need someone to take the onus in one-on-ones, and cut their defence open a bit. We’ll keep working at it and keep working with the young lads.
“We were in it at 1-0 down at half-time and again after the break we had more of the possession, but it’s what you do with it. We weren’t really able to cut them open. We had a good chance with a header from a corner which went wide – that would have made it all square at the time. That could have changed the momentum of the game.
“We know that we need to cut out those silly errors, and that we need to be more creative and ruthless in the final third. The positive thing is that we’re getting into the final third around 75% of the time – now it’s a case of making sure that we can do something positive with it, and getting into teams a little bit quicker.”
Full-time: Arsenal U18 4-0 Reading U18
Arsenal U18: Joao Virginia, Daley-Campbell (Spencer-Adams 80), Thompson, Clarke, Omole, Benson, Smith, John-Jules, Sako (Swanson 80), Olayinka, Balogun.
Unused sub: Smith.
Reading U18: Rosario, Wilson, Dorsett (Nditi 57), Burley, Odimayo, Buchanan (Nolan 52), Coleman, Sparta, Holsgrove, Wallace (Lawrence 75), Moore.
Unused subs: Desbois, Elva-Fountaine.