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Match Reports

U23s overturn deficit to beat Norwich in seven-goal thriller

Scott Marshall's side return to PL2 action with dramatic win

8 January 2019

It was a seven-goal thriller at Hogwood on Monday lunchtime, with Reading's Under-23s winning 4-3 against their Norwich City counterparts in the Premier League 2.

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Having gone behind to the Canaries midway through the first half, goals from Ryan East, Conor Lawless, Jack Nolan and Josh Barrett put the young Royals 4-1 up at Reading's training ground.

Norwich hit back with two late goals at Hogwood, but Scott Marshall's side held on to claim all three points in their first game since their winter break.

Recent senior debutant, Gabriel Osho, captained the side while Ryan East, among the first team squad this weekend at Old Trafford, took up his usual role at the base of the Reading midfield.

Four Under-18 players who will be aiming for a start in the FA Youth Cup next week also played, with Jökull Andrésson, Michael Olise, Conor Lawless and Jack Nolan getting game time in the age group above their own.

In an evenly-matched first half that saw Reading control the ball, it was the visitors who managed to get themselves in front through Anthony Spyrou, who poked in during a goalmouth scramble after a cross from the left hand side.

The Royals wouldn't be behind for long, though, with Ryan East notching his first of the season in spectacular fashion. The midfielder, who was on the bench for the first team at the weekend, got hold of a loose ball 25 yards from goal and powered past the goalkeeper into the top corner to level proceedings.

It was early in the second half when Marshall's men stamped their authority on the game. Conor Lawless put Reading ahead after a neat turn and composed finish in the area, before Teddy Howe showed plenty of industry to break forward and square back for Jack Nolan to finish.

The fourth came from Josh Barrett 20 minutes from time, getting down the byline and cleverly cutting inside to nutmeg goalkeeper McCracken from a tight angle and seemingly put Reading out of sight.

However, hopes of a late comeback were sparked when Spyrou fired past Andrésson three minutes from time, and Adam Idah struck soon afterwards to set up a grandstand finish at Hogwood.

But it was the Royals who held on for all three points in the Premier League 2, Division 2. Just two points separate the top four in the table, with 2nd-place Royals heading to face Wolves on Friday night - with the league leaders only above Reading on goal difference as it stands.

Reading U23: Andrésson, Howe (Balogun 75), Osho (c), Burley, Green, East, Nolan, Lawless, Olise (Rollinson 81), Barrett, Liddle.
Subs: Boyce-Clark, Odimayo, Shokunbi.
Goals: East 36, Lawless 52, Nolan 60, Barrett 69.

Norwich City U23: McCracken, Odusina, Jones, Vaughan, Kamal, Spyrou, Scully, Thorvaldsson, Coley (Dronfield 79), Payne, Idah.
Subs: Johnson, Barkarson, Keller, Omobamidele.
Goals: Spyrou 22, 87; Idah 89.


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