Reading U23's graced the turf of Bearwood Park for the first time competitively, hosting West Ham U23's in a fiercely contested 3-3 draw this afternoon.
Bearwood Park opened its doors for the first Premier League 2 fixture, with the Royals hosting West Ham Under-23s. From the whistle, both teams locked horns and delivered some well-fought possession and control. The game itself started very open, both sides retaining the ball to effect in the middle of the park.
The first chance landed on Reading's back, with Jack Nolan breaking free form his defender and striking, but with the Hammers' goalkeeper collecting fairly comfortably.
But it was the Royals who drew first blood, a clinical low cross from Oliver Pendlebury headed straight into danger, and Thierry Nevers drilled into the bottom corner.
15 minutes on the clock and Reading go one-up. Not for some resilient defending by Gabriel Osho and Lexus Beeden, the scoreline stayed the same for another 15 minutes, until the Hammers' midfielder Sean Adarkwa is around the goal to stab home, levelling the scoreline.
Tennai Watson and Jack Nolan provided positive outlets throughout the first half, with various crosses and passes being shifted out to their side, and some attacking play being built up between them.
Reading were in control for the first 25 minutes before the Hammers asserted dominance for the final 20, and the equaliser looked likely. But Royals maintained resilient and blocked out passages of play on the wings, and forced middle of the park football.
Half-time: Reading U23 1-1 West Ham United U23
West Ham started the second half in control and looked to take the lead at Bearwood Park if not for a great reactive save from Jökull Andrésson five minutes into the second half.
Reading grew into the half nicely, a corner whipped in with some fizz caused a scramble in the Hammers box, with the play ending in an ambitious acrobatic attempt from Adam Liddle, resulting in the claret-coloured shirts blocking and clearing.
Attacking outlets of Adam Liddle and Thierry Nevers provided bursts of creativity and that resulted in some flurries of attractive football in the attacking third.
Reading made their first change of the afternoon, with Conor Lawless coming onto the field for Jack Nolan. What followed the substitution was an onslaught of attacking football from both sides, resulting in the scoreline going from 1-1 to 3-3 in a matter of minutes.
Almost immediately, the Royals needed to defend another set-piece. Another corner delivery comes in and Gonçalo Cardoso rose above everyone and headed cleanly into the net.
Conor Lawless, with his first contribution to the game, tapped home from close range after some lovely football by Nevers and Samuels. A low cross came in and unmarked Lawless was able to make his mark on the game and equal the scoreline.
Flipping the coin once more, West Ham broke forward to counter, and the resulting shot is deflected wide for another corner. Cardoso reacted quickest to the ball again and nodded the ball back across goal for Olatunji Akinola to head from close range. 3-2 West Ham with just over 10 minutes on the clock.
New substitution Tyler Frost made an immediate impact, he drove forward and was forced down before he could send the ball onwards. Frost took no time to square himself up to the free-kick, and he hit an immaculate ball over the Hammers wall, clipped the post and nestled very nicely in the back of the net.
With not enough time for either side to take control, the game finished a thrilling 3-3. Two impact substitutions from Reading recover the deficit on two occasions, and both sides leave Bearwood with a point apiece.