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Report | U23s fall at final hurdle in Berks & Bucks Senior Cup

Runners-up medals given after Slough emerge 3-1 victors

6 May 2019

Reading's Under-23s were defeated in the Final of the Berks & Bucks FA Senior Cup, with Slough Town taking the title after winning 3-1 at Larges Lane.

The Rebels scored twice in quick succession in the first half to take the lead, before Thierry Nevers pulled one back before the interval.

In a nip-and-tuck second half, Reading were denied a penalty five minutes from time after Nevers was bundled over in the box, before Josh Jackman struck from outside the box to earn the trophy for the National League South side.

Scott Marshall named a young side to contest for silverware at Larges Lane, with former Royal, Scott Davies the only substitute for Slough on the day.

The teams started evenly on the day, but Slough forged the first chance of the game when they got forward into the Reading box. Ben Harris was able to get a shot away, but Myles Roberts was able to put it behind at his near post.

Having been under the cosh for a few minutes, Reading broke at speed as Thierry Nevers brought the ball out from the back. Jamal Balogun went with him, with the full-back able to put a ball across goal. Centre-back Nisbet worked hard to get back, though, and diverted back to his goalkeeper.

At the other end, Roberts did well to rise highest at a free-kick that was swung into the area. He briefly lost control of the ball upon landing, but he was able to gather at the second attempt.

The Reading goalkeeper was called upon again when Slough skipper, Sam Togwell hammered a free-kick at goal from all of 30 yards. It went through the crowd and Roberts had to react quickly to parry over the bar.

Another Royals counter-attack saw Cameron Green go at full pelt on the left flank, getting to the byline and pulling back for Conor Lawless to shoot - his curling left-footed effort beating the goalkeeper but going narrowly wide.

From the resulting break for Slough, they took the lead. Having forced a corner, it was swung into the box and a goalmouth scramble saw Togwell bundle it in from a few yards as the Royals couldn't clear their lines.

Soon afterwards, though, the Rebels would double their lead. Ben Harris broke into the Reading box and bore down on goal, Tom Holmes went in for the tackle but the referee awarded a penalty. Manny Williams stepped up, Roberts guessed the right way but his spot-kick squeezed in at the goalkeeper's left-hand corner.

Rather than wilting under the pressure, the young Royals stepped up and, from a clinical counter-attack, they found a route back into the game. Lawless fed Balogun on the right, he played it low into the box for Nevers to touch, firing at goal before Turner could set himself in goal, giving Reading a foothold on the cup final.

And they could have equalised moments later. Akin Odimayo played an incisive ball forwards, which Lawless dummied to Nevers once more, who arrowed on target - but Turner was equal to it, pushing behind the post.

It was anyone's game heading into the second half, but the young Royals had work to do to overturn their deficit.

Half-time | Reading U23 1-2 Slough Town

Roberts had to be called into action once more early in the second period, flying across his goal to save a Dunn free-kick that was heading for the top corner, having struck from 25 yards.

With the second half finishing as openly as it did, the teams understandly tightened up in the early stages - neither of whom wanting to concede the game's all-important fourth goal. A Reading goal would level it, but a third Slough strike could have put the result beyond doubt.

Another good save from Roberts came from a Slough corner, as Dunn swung into the box for Jackman to head. It was looping in, but the Reading goalkeeper got a crucial hand to it.

Two subs were introduced for the Royals near the hour mark, as Marcel Elva-Fountaine and Oliver Pendlebury entered the fray to try and change the tide of the final.

But chances were at a premium in the second half, with neither side able to break through in the opposition half as time ticked on towards the final whistle.

Five minutes from time, the Royals had a strong appeal for a penalty turned away when Nevers was one-on-one with Turner. The goalkeeper slid in on the attacker, seemingly getting the man rather than the ball but the referee decided otherwise.

Moments later, Slough sealed victory with the pick of the goals on the day. The ball broke to Jackman on the edge of the box after a well-worked passing move, with the full-back picking out the top corner from 20 yards - leaving Roberts with no chance.

Full-time | Reading U23 1-3 Slough Town

Reading U23: Roberts, Balogun (Elva-Fountaine 64), Green, Holmes (c), Burley, Odimayo, Coleman (Pendlebury 60), Omolabi, Lawless, Bristow, Nevers.
Subs: Andrésson, Nditi, Simmo.
Goals: Nevers (36)

Slough Town: Turner, Smart, Jackman, S Togwell (c), Nisbet, L Togwell, Soares, Dunn, B Harris (Davies HT), Williams, W Harris.
Goals: S Togwell (26), Williams (30, P), Jackman (87)

Referee: Mr J Richardson


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