Reading's U23s came away with a 1-1 draw at Old Trafford on Friday night, taking on their Manchester United counterparts.
- House heads the Royals in front after 11 minutes
- Southwood makes two superb first-half saves
- Bohui equalises midway through second half
- House hits crossbar six minutes from time
After a cagey opening 10 minutes or so, the Royals took the lead through the first real chance of note in the game.
Callum Harriott, in the U23s to gain match fitness, crossed into the area and was headed clear into the path of Ryan East 25 yards out.
He tried a volley which bounced into the ground, with Ben House improvising and heading the rising ball over goalkeeper Kovar and into the top corner.
The Royals had a chance to double their advantage from a free-kick soon after, after Darren Sidoel was cynically fouled just a yard outside the area.
Harriott stood over it and managed to bend his effort round the wall, but Kovar dived well to his right and held on well.
Luke Southwood was called into action at the other end, with Zachary Dearnley working his way into a yard of space from the area. He was facing away from goal but did well to shoot on the turn towards the far corner.
Southwood was at full stretch to get a strong hand on the ball and deny the goal-bound strike.
The England U20 World Cup winner from last season was on fine form to stop another point-blank shot.
The Red Devils broke at pace on the counter-attack, managing to cross early to Tahith Chong – who shot first time and drew a save straight from the top drawer from the Royals stopper.
Half-time | Manchester United U23 0-1 Reading U23
The hosts started the second period as they finished the first – trying to search for the leveller. Chong was the recipient of a deft touch on the edge of the area and curled a shot towards the far corner – but his effort landed on the roof of the Reading net.
Reading squandered a superb chance to double their advantage moments later. Loader capitalised on a defensive mix-up and broke through with only goalkeeper Kovar to beat.
He shot straight at the keeper, while Harriott blazed the rebound over the bar.
Despite pressure at both ends of the pitch, the Red Devils got their equaliser midway through the second half.
First team player Diogo Dalot got forward on the right and supplied a teasing cross in the area, with Joshua Bohui shooting into the roof of the net from close range.
The game opened up with both sides fighting for dominance on the pitch. Loader managed to dance past two markers on his way into the United box, forcing a block from centre-back Poole before Frost followed up with a lob that floated over the bar.
It was only the crossbar that denied House late on in the second half, with an Ethan Coleman ball finding the striker 10 yards out. He powered a shot as hard as he could and it rebounded off the woodwork to deny the Royals once more.
Loader was again denied by Kovar, after a free-kick found the striker at the back post. Loader nodded towards goal but the stopper dived and got fingertips to the header and the hosts cleared their lines.
Overall, Scott Marshall's side will feel they deserved victory on Friday night at Old Trafford.
Full-time | Manchester United U23 1-1 Reading U23
Manchester United U23: Kovar, Dalot, R. Williams, Rojo (Poole 55), O’Connor, Gomes (c), Garner (Barlow 78), Hamilton, Chong, Dearnley (McIntosh-Buffonge 79), Bohui.
Subs: Fojticek, Tanner.
Goals: Bohui 66
Yellow: Bohui, Williams
Reading U23: Southwood, Howe, Osho (c), McIntyre, Medford-Smith, East, Frost, Sidoel (Coleman 79), House (Liddle 88), Loader, Harriott (Nolan 60).
Subs: Holmes, Driscoll.
Goals: House 11