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Report | Imps strike late to beat young Royals

League One side edge late win in morning friendly

20 July 2019

Lincoln City struck with a minute remaining to earn themselves a victory against Reading on Saturday morning in Marbella.

In a match that the Royals had bested for possession, the Imps forged chances of their own - having two goals ruled out for offside before Harry Anderson struck late from close range.

With this being the start of the Royals’ second double-header of the Spanish tour, the squad was once again split into two as a squad full of Academy talent took on Lincoln City on Saturday morning.

And Reading started brightly against the Imps, who themselves were preparing for life in League One this season after winning the League Two title last time around.

Tyler Frost found space on the edge of the area early on, but his strike wasn’t troubling Grant Smith in the Lincoln goal – with the ball sailing over the bar.

Reading worked the ball forward quickly, and Tennai Watson, playing a more advanced role, struck powerfully but Smith pulled off a flying save to his left to stop the effort.

Sam Baldock also found joy by breaking into the Lincoln area, buying himself half-a-yard to shoot – but Smith was there again to block with his foot and the scores remained goalless.

Andrija Novakovich, back in the side after a minor injury in training earlier in the week, was next to try his luck at the Lincoln goal. His bent effort looked as though it was heading for the top corner, but it was narrowly past the upright on that occasion.

Up the other end, despite not threatening too much in the early stages, Lincoln thought they had the lead when a Harry Toffolo cross was turned in from six yards by John Akinde – but the flag had gone up for offside.

A free-kick from the edge of the Reading box saw the ball swung towards the far post, taking a big deflection on the way that saw it loop in the air, dropping and hitting the Royals’ woodwork, before the follow-up was put wide.

Reading went on the offensive once again, and a thunderbolt from 25 yards from Ryan East saw Smith acrobatically palm onto his post to keep parity in the game, with the sides going in goalless at the break.

Half time | Reading 0-0 Lincoln City

The second half saw plenty of changes from the Imps, as they freshened up their side on a hot morning at Marbella Football Center.

Chances were at a premium early on, though, as possession swapped between midfields as the teams tested the waters in the opposition half.

Frost looked a goal threat for the Royals, though, and found space on the edge of the box to shoot across goal once more, bending narrowly above the crossbar on the hour mark.

Some lax passing around midfield from Danny Cowley’s side saw Teddy Howe steal a march in midfield, bursting through into the box. He was quickly pounced upon by goalkeeper Smith, however, who rushed off his line to smartly save the young full-back’s strike.

From a free kick, Jokull Andrésson, introduced for Sam Walker midway through the second half, pulled off a superb reaction save from close range. Although the rebound was bundled in, the Lincoln player was adjudged offside from the follow-up.

But just one minute from time, the Imps found a winner. A corner from the left was swung into the area, the initial shot was saved but only into the path of substitute, Harry Anderson, who got enough of his body on it to take it over the line.

Reading had one final chance to respond seconds from the finish, with Omar Richards getting forward on the left wing and having a go. His shot was deflected high into the sky, but Smith got under it to catch on the line and give Lincoln the win.

The other Royals in the squad will round off the Spanish training camp on Saturday evening, with a test against La Liga outfit, Granada at 6.30pm BST.

Full time | Reading 0-1 Lincoln City

Reading: Walker (Andrésson 63), Howe, Odimayo, Osho, Richards, Watson, East, Frost, Trialist (Holsgrove 73), Novakovich, Baldock.

Lincoln City: Smith, Eardley, Toffolo, Bolger, Shackell, Morrell, Chapman, Payne, Andrade, Akinde, Grant.
Goal: Anderson 89

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