Three goals from Aston Villa in the first half, followed by a fourth in the second saw the young Royals bow out of the FA Youth Cup in the Fourth Round on Tuesday night at Villa Park.
Under the imposing lights of Villa Park, it was the hosts who looked to take advantage early on – launching a number of threatening attacks inside the first 10 minutes.
First it was Tyreik Wright who tried his luck. After an impressive through-ball, he lined up a shot on the edge of the box – but it was straight at Jokull Andresson.
Less than two minutes later and Andresson was called into action again. Only this time, he faced a much fiercer long-range effort from Jacob Ramsey, which he managed to turn around the post.
On 13 minutes, Villa’s early efforts paid off after a strong drive and pass from Ramsey allowed Odutayo to convert a superbly struck effort that found Andresson’s far left-corner.
The Royals sought a quick equaliser, though, through Marcel Elva-Fountaine.
He picked up the ball just past the halfway line and drove forward to allow himself the space for a shot – the post however denied him from taking full advantage.
Alarmed by the pressure, proactive play from the hosts saw them pick-up a loose ball in midfield through Odutayo.
And the wide-man took full advantage, beating two men before crossing the ball for Ramsey who slotted coolly just outside the six-yard box to double Villa’s lead.
With 27 minutes on the clock, Villa made the Royals pay for their mistakes again. A neat turn and strike from Ramsey saw him bag a brace and further extend the hosts’ lead.
Seeking an urgent response, the Royals did attempt to hit back through the likes of Elva-Fountaine and Shamar Moore - but resilient defending ensured that chances were limited and the hosts entered half-time with their clean sheet in-tact.
Half-time | Aston Villa U18 3-0 Reading U18
Following the interval, Reading started the second half with intensity and desire – but Villa’s defence was continuing to cause the young Royals problems in the final third.
As the half matured, Reading’s pressure was constant, with the Royals going close on a number of occasions.
Jack Nolan tried his luck twice, with his first effort on 55 minutes headed narrowly over. This was quickly followed by a fierce effort on the edge of the box, but the post, once again, denied the Royals.
Reading continued to keep the ball around Villa’s box and Moore fancied his chances as he executed an audacious turn and shot – which he saw float narrowly around the post.
The hosts were, by no means, happy with their three-goal lead,though ,and Ramsey reaffirmed this on 63 minutes when he saw his low-driven effort pushed around the post.
After dominating possession for the majority of the second-half, Reading did eventually find a way through.
A mazy drive into the box from Moore allowed him the space to impressively poke the ball past the ‘keeper and reduce Reading’s deficit to two.
And after getting one back, Reading almost added a second to their tally through Nevers. However, Vilijami Sinisalo produces a fine low save to prevent the Royals from gaining a late lifeline.
With Reading’s foot firmly on the gas, Villa sought to exploit them on the counter.
On 88 minutes. Wright managed to do this against the run of play as the Royals failed to clear their lines – all but sealing the hosts’ place in the next round of the FA Youth Cup.
Full-time | Aston Villa U18 4-1 Reading U18
Aston Villa U18: Sinisalo, Burton, McConnachie, Walker (c), Ige, Revan, Wright, Vassilev, Archer, Ramsey, Odutayo.
Subs: Pressley, Onodi, Patterson, Tait, Farr.
Reading U18s: Andresson, Pemberton, Elva-Fountaine, Pendlebury, Hewitt, Nditi (c), Nolan, Lawless, Moore, Olise, Nevers.
Subs: Tetek, Roberts, Simmo, Osorio, Nelvin-Lambert.