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Match Reports

Pre-season | Premier League Palace too good

Roy Hodgson's side seal comfortable pre-season win thanks to Zaha brace

28 July 2018

Our final pre-season friendly ended in defeat to Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace as Premier League opposition proved too good for the Royals today.

  • Sorloth lashes a left-footed effort high into the net to hand Palace a first half lead
  • Zaha adds a second when he meets a near post cross from Van Aanholt
  • Zaha scores a well-struck third from the edge of the area to make it 3-0
  • Tomkins' back post header increases visitors' lead with 20 minutes left

Summer signings Andy Yiadom and David Meyler were named in the starting eleven to make their Madejski Stadium bow, while Sam Walker and Marc McNulty were named amongst the substitutes - as was Jon Dadi Bodvarsson for the first time in our pre-season preparations.

After a subdued start to the game, the first real opening came through the pace of Mo Barrow, bursting down the left, beating a couple of men and then getting a low cross in which almost found Yakou Meite at the near post, looking to toe the ball home.

Moments later, Palace had their first sight of goal. Andros Townsend received the ball in space on the right side of the box. He cut inside onto his left boot and drilled low at goal - but it was easy for Mannone to gobble it up on his goalline.

Reading threatened on the break with 18 minutes gone, Barrow darting through midfield after a corner had been comfortably cleared. He fed Meite who was forced wide, but he skidded a low cross into the middle which Wayne Hennessey had to come out to smother.

Some good defending at the other end saw McShane get to a low cross from the right ahead of Wilfried Zaha in the six yard box. Then Gunter did well to head the ball wide of the goal with Sorloth breathing down his neck, chasing after a ball over the top.

Barrow on the break was Reading's main outlet but given the chance to run at James Tomkins he stumbled, allowing the Palace defender to intecerpt the counter attack on the half hour mark.

With a little more than ten minutes of the first half remaining, the Eagles broke the deadlock. Zaha got a yard on Yiadom and wrapped his left boot around the ball on the byline to cut a cross back to Sorloth who hammered a left-footed strike high into the net from close range.

Roy Hodgson's men were looking for a second before half-time and a cross from the left dropped to James McArthur whose stabbed effort had no power in it and was easy for Mannone to gather in.

Liam Kelly embarked on a mazy run into the Palace half soon after, winning a free kick as he was cynically bundled over 25 yards out. Swift stood over the free-kick but his strike didn't have enough dip on it to trouble Hennessey.

Sorloth almost got a second when some intricate passing inside the Royals box released the forward, but his hurried shot was dragged across the face of goal and out for a throw in the end.

Half-time: Reading 0-1 Crystal Palace

Three minutes into the second half and Palace had a second. Patrick Van Aanholt collected a one two down the left flank and cut a low cross into the near post where Zaha was on had to direct it home with an angled finish.

Reading so nearly responded immediately, Barrow scurrying into the box, passing the ball central to Swift who took a touch to control it and then shot, left-footed, but it took a slight deflection which was enough to see it whistle wide.

Soon after, some sublime skill from Kelly on the right wing began a Reading attack which almost ended with Kelly sliding in to connect with a drilled cross-shot from Omar Richards - but Kelly couldn't get a toe to the ball and Palace's two-goal cushion remained in tact.

A glancing Van Aanholt header took a flaoted Richards cross away from Aluko to concede a corner. And from that set piece, Ilori connected but headed straight at Hennessey.

Zaha proved a constant threat, volleying just wide from a good Van-Wissaka cross from the right. And he soon had his second - a fabulous strike that fizzed past Mannone's full stretch dive to his left.

Substitite Böðvarsson strode into the Eagles area soon after coming off the bench but his left-footed shot was charged down by Sakho. And Palace soon had a fourth when Tomkins headed home at the back post to hand the Premier League side a handsome margin of victory.

Bodvarsson and McNulty combined well to nearly set the latter through on goal and then McNulty nearly got on the end of a cross from the right, but couldn't get the touch he needed to get off the mark at the Madejski.

In injury time, McNulty nearly nicked a consolation but a fine save from the onrushing Hennessey denied our new signing.

Today Premier League opponents were too good. But the Royals still have plenty of work to do ahead of Friday's season kick-off.

Full-time: Reading 0-4 Crystal Palace

Reading: Mannone, Gunter (Richards 34), Yiadom, McShane (c), Ilori, Meyler, Kelly, Swift (McNulty 63), Aluko (Blackett 70), Barrow (Clement 70), Meite (Böðvarsson 63).
Subs: Walker, Evans.

Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Van Aanholt, Tomkins, Sorloth (Wickham 72), Townsend (Puncheon 82), Zaha, Sakho, Schlupp, McArthur (Williams 82), Wan-Bissaka, Riedewald (Milivojevic, HT).
Subs: Guaita, Ward, Kaikai, Souare, Kelly.
Goals: Sorloth 34, Zaha 48, 64, Tomkins 69

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