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Match Reports

Report | Royals U23s win European tie!

Coleman and House fire young Royals to PL International Cup victory

17 August 2018

Goals from Ethan Coleman and Ben House gave the Royals U23s victory on a European stage, overcoming Leicester City's U23 side 2-0 on Friday night.

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Friday's match saw the Royals U23s take to international competition for the first time this season, in the group stages of the Premier League International Cup - which sees some of the best Academies in Europe face off for a coveted trophy.

While Reading will test themselves against Feyenoord and Sparta Prague later on, they begun with a more familiar challenge against a Leicester side who had beaten Swansea's U23s earlier in the week.

The hosts started the brighter, a rare miskick from Luke Southwood was capitalised upon by Leshabela, he drove towards the 18-yard line and rifled an effort wide.

But Reading looked potent going forward as well, Ben House showing fantastic footwork as he skipped past his man to play in Tyler Frost - who lofted to the back post for Josh Barrett to strike, just wide of the post.

Scott Marshall's young Royals held their own, looking to stamp their authority on the game against the Foxes - who finished 3rd in the top tier of the Premier League 2 last season.

Danny Loader broke quickly for Reading, looking to play House in on goal, but a perfectly-judged sliding challenge from Lamine Kaba Sherif stopped the England U18 international in his tracks.

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Both teams looked up for the battle on the pitch, with plenty of rugged challenges going in as they tried to find the opener.

It was a set piece that gave the Royals the lead after 25 minutes. Barrett swung in a corner and Ethan Coleman positioned himself perfectly for a free header - steering it into the bottom corner from 12 yards.

Reading had appeals for a penalty waved away soon after, with Frost spraying a 40-yard cross-field pass to Barrett, who split the defence for Loader to rush in - but Kaba Sherif looked to get enough of the ball and the referee said play on.

Coleman's goal gave the Royals creative licence to express themselves on the ball, dominating possession and dictating the play at Holmes Park.

Reading broke forward once more, with Frost sliding forward for Teddy Howe on the overlap, who looked to cross but goalkeeper Johansson was able to claim.

Leicester tried to force their way back into it as the interval approached, though. Layton Ndukwu cut in and out on the left wing, he let fly from insided the area and Southwood improvised off-balance to make a smart save in the end.

A Leicester throw-in came in from the right with Ndukwu lurking in the box again, but skipper Gabe Osho cut back across to block and the Royals cleared their lines.

Conor Tee then whipped in a dangerous free-kick in first half stoppage time, putting it into a tricky area and Tom McIntyre slung himself at the ball to head clear.

The Royals withstood the late pressure from the Foxes and held their lead going into the break.

Half-time: Leicester City U23 0-1 Reading U23

Leicester began the second half where they left off in the first. Tee delivered a superb cross into the area for striker Ryan Loft in the area - who turned his header over the bar from close range, but the flag was up for offside regardless.

Reading then broke forward up the other end, House getting away from his man on 18 yards and powering a low effort at goal, just wide of Johansson's near post.

It wasn't long before the Royals doubled their advantage. Loader was found in acres of space on the left hand side, he had time to pick his spot for his shot but Johansson managed to palm away - only into the path of House the follow-up, who fired across goal and into the corner.

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Reading could have made the lead almost unassailable on the hour mark, another teasing corner from Barrett was met by McIntyre, but Johansson got behind the ball to catch cleanly.

Scott Marshall's squad did a sterling job of stretching Leicester and putting pressure on the ball at every opportunity. Ryan East won the ball in midfield and squared to Frost on the break.

Frost has developed a bit of a reputation for his shots from distance, this particular strike forced Johansson into a good save at full stretch down to his right, but Loader's follow-up cleared the crossbar and went behind.

Barrett probably deserved a goal for his efforts on the night, seeing another strike well-saved by Johansson, with summer recruit Darren Sidoel on the follow-up from 25 yards, but his strike was always rising and narrowly went over the bar.

The final 10 minutes saw another flurry from the Foxes, who tried to make the Royals pay for their missed second half chances. The Reading defence held firm, though, keeping the home side at bay with some shrewd positional play.

Reading had another chance to put the game to bed as Loader was brought down in the area and the referee pointed to the spot for a penalty. The young striker stepped up to take the spot kick, but Johansson guessed the right way and saved the penalty.

The Royals saw the game out professionally, though, and earned themselves three deserved points in the group stages.

Full-time: Leicester City U23 0-2 Reading U23

Leicester City U23: Johansson, Ramsay (Shade 59), Knight, Kaba Sherif, Pascanu, Johnson (c), Tee (Edwards-John 66), Ughelumba, Leshabela (Uche Rubio 59), Ndukwu, Loft.
Subs: Stolarczyk, Heaven.

Reading U23: Southwood, Howe, Osho (c), McIntyre, Medford-Smith, East, Frost, Coleman (Sidoel 66), House, Barrett, Loader.
Subs: Burley, Roberts, Rollinson, Liddle.
Goals: Coleman 25, House 53

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