Reading’s Under-23 side got their first three points and six goals in their first fixture of the 2019-20 Premier League 2 campaign, running our 6-0 winners against Newcastle United in the miserable rain at Hogwood Park.
Andrija Novakovich struck a hat-trick, Thierry Nevers grabbed two and Tyler Frost struck one as the Royals ran riot. The Royals’ task was made easier in the second period by Newcastle skipper Owen Bailey getting sent off.
The game also marked a return to action for Jordan Obita, almost two years since suffering a knee injury – he successfully completed 45 minutes as he continues working towards a return to first-team involvement. He was heavily involved in the first half; a couple of positive attacking runs and a dangerous free-kick which struck the Newcastle United’s goalkeeper gloves.
The game started very open, however the opportunities wouldn’t amount to anything solid and would deteriorate into half-chances.
That changed in the 20th minute with a great team goal – incisive counter-attack gave Tyler Frost the opportunity to convert his chance from close range. The Royals’ account open for the new year.
Andrija Novakovich constantly posed a threat throughout, giving the back line no time to build and would often be seen competing well in the air. This was rewarded in the before the break when a Toon defensive mix-up gifted Thierry Nevers the opportunity to snatch the ball and tee up Novakovich to convert.
The third came shortly after, the two previous goal scorers combining well; ;inking up and providing an inch-perfect pass to Nevers, who finished with precision. With the margin at three, the half-time whistle blew.
Newcastle started the second period with some smart build-up play, but nothing to show for it. That wastefulness was highlighted when the Royals countered and struck the post, allowing Novakovich to react quickest to tuck in his second of the afternoon and extending the margin to four.
Ethan Colem and Jordan Holsgrove both went close, before Magpies captain Bailey was given his marching orders for a badly-timed tackle.
Then Nevers capitalised as he turned in his second and Reading’s fifth at the far post – converting Chris Gunter’s low cross – and Novakovich wrapped up his hat-trick in the final minute when he tucked in smartly after latching on to a through-ball.
A great start to the Premier League 2 campaign for our young Royals.
Full-time: Reading U23 6-0 Newcastle United U23
Reading U23: Andrésson, Gunter, Obita (Medford-Smith HT), Burley, Odimayo, Frost (Coleman HT), East, Holsgrove, McCleary (Liddle 87), Nevers, Novakovich.
Unused subs: Boyce-Clarke, Nditi.
Newcastle United U23: Turner, Cass, Walters, McEntee, Watts, Bailey, Sangare (Young 62), Allan, Fernandez (Longelo-Mbule HT), Scott, Sorensen (Charman 80).
Unused subs: Langley, Barrett.