The Under-23 contingents of Reading and Wolverhampton Wanderers shared the points on their opening encounter of the Premier League 2 season at Madejski Stadium on Saturday.
A couple of corking goals by Danny Loader and Tyler Frost earned the Royals a point; Bernard Ashley-Seal netted twice for the visitors as they initially led and then came from behind after the two Reading strikes.
Andy Rinomhota, Josh Barrett, Tom Holmes and Loader offered some first-team experience to Scott Marshall’s charges – but they trailed in just the fourth minute as striker Ashley-Seal pounced. Royals goalkeeper Liam Driscoll made a good initial save as Wolves attacked a corner, but the forward was on hand to pick up the scraps and convert the loose ball in a crowded area.
Wolves’ lead lasted until the 19th minute – and then up stepped Loader with a fine finish from 20 yards. After the boys in blue and white had exerted some pressure down the left flank, the Royals forward bullishly road a heavy challenge before unleashing a swerving shot, which beat goalkeeper Andreas Sondergaard for pace.
And quarter of an hour later, the Royals had the lead for the first time – in spectacular fashion.
Barrett was the architect – he picked off a pass on the left, drove downfield, and flighted a cross-field pass straight into the run of Frost… the finish was a thing of beauty as the midfielder caught the volley sweetly to lash Reading ahead.
The Royals’ lead was short-lived; Ashley-Seal levelled three minutes later. It was a simple bit of movement in the box to make space for himself – dropping off the defence, he collected Oskar Buur’s low cross, took one touch to control, and picked up the corner with power to tie things up at two apiece.
The second half never quite sprang to life in the way that the first period had. The four goals that the teams had shared before the break were the sum total come the final whistle, despite opportunities for both teams to win it.
A positive start to the campaign for Marshall’s U23 side; now the attention switches to the Premier League International Cup, which begins with a visit to Leicester City on Friday.
Full-time: Reading U23 2-2 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Reading U23: Driscoll, Howe, Medford-Smith, Holmes, McIntyre, East, Rinomhota (Coleman 82), Frost, Barrett, Loader, House.
Unused subs: Roberts, Rollinson, Andresson, Liddle.
Wolverhampton Wanderers U23: Sondergaard, Buur, Kilman, John, Sanderson, Stevenson, Watt, Ennis, Goncalves, Giles, Ashley-Seal (Heredia 77).
Unused subs: Sealy, Samuels, Paulinho, Beasley.