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Match Reports

📰 U23s earn shootout win in Berks & Bucks Senior Cup

Young Royals advance after goalless draw in 90 minutes

11 March 2020

The Royals' Under-23s booked their place in the Semi-Finals of the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup with a 5-4 penalty shootout win over Isthmian League South side, Marlow on Wednesday night.

A goalless 90 minutes saw chances at a premium for both teams, but a perfect record in the shootout saw Reading through on the night, with Harvey Collins making a crucial save on Marlow's fourth penalty.

It was a young line-up for Reading's Under-23s on Wednesday night, with several players who are still eligible for our Under-18s starting on the night against senior Marlow players, who had themselves got through three rounds of competition to take on the young Royals.

Reading started the match wearing Marlow's own away kit, with the Royals' black strip clashing with that of the referee - despite the Reading kit team bringing different coloured kits for the officials in case this occurred...

However, of greater importance was the match to decide who progressed to the last four of the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup - no matter what colours the Royals were wearing.

The hosts were not afraid to show their physicality in midfield against the young Royals early on, but Reading matched them blow for blow as they tussled for early supremacy.

The first opportunity came from a Reading corner, swung in by Ollie Pendlebury into a dangerous area in the box, with Roberto Nditi at full stretch to head narrowly over the bar.

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Marlow were forced into an early change when Kelvin Bossman was replaced by Janaid Bell, after going down with an injury with a quarter of an hour on the clock.

It was a midfield stalemate in the opening knockings of the game, with Nditi's header being the only effort registered in the first 25 minutes of the match.

Nahum Melvin-Lambert also had to be withdrawn for the young Royals through injury, with Augustus McGiff, who had scored Reading's goal against Everton in the Premier League Cup on Sunday, on in his place.

Reading almost took the lead five minutes from the end of the first period with the game's first shot on target. The ball was loose on the edge of the Marlow box and Ethan Coleman pounced on it.

He opened up his body to bend an effort towards the top corner, with Simon Grant at full stretch to parry from point-blank range - a fine save from the Blues' goalkeeper.

It was all square at the break, with the tie needing to be decided on the night.

Half-time | Marlow 0-0 Reading U23

It was the hosts who threatened first in the second period, with their first proper attack seeing Devontae Romeo get to the byline in the Reading box. He cut a ball back into a dangerous area, with Marcel Elva-Fountaine on hand at the far post to clear up for the Royals.

Nelson Abbey came on for the second change of the night for the Royals, with Jeriel Dorsett making way in a straight swap at centre-back.

On the pitch, the chances for either side remained at a premium. Neither team were able to establish dominance in the game for long periods, with shooting opportunities proving hard to come by.

Coleman tested Grant's gloves once more, shooting from outside the area around the hour mark, with the goalkeeper getting down well to his right to save.

Unfortunately for Abbey, he picked up a knock shortly after coming on, so he had to make way for Claudio Osorio for the Royals.

A goal was still eluding the teams, with Isaac Osei-Tutu likely to be rueing his effort when he forced the best chance of the match.

He was played into plenty of space down the left flank and was able to advance into the area. He swiped at his shot, though, and comfortably cleared Harvey Collins' bar.

Reading had to play the last eight minutes of normal time a man light, with Ramarni Medford-Smith shown a straight red card for a tackle on the edge of the Marlow penalty area.

No team could find a way through in the 90, so penalties would be the deciding factor on the night.

After 90 minutes | Marlow 0-0 Reading U23

Six perfect penalties started the shootout, until Collins reacted brilliantly to Marlow skipper Craig Ovenden's spot kick, diving to his left to make a crucial parry.

Marcel Elva-Fountaine and Augustus McGiff both scored for the Royals after that to make it a 100% record in the shootout for the young Reading side, booking their place in the last four of the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup.

Penalty shootout | Marlow 4-5 Reading U23

Marlow: Grant, Chapple, Olorunfemi, Bossman (Bell 17), Richards, Rogers, Ovenden (c), McDonnell, Romeo, Osei-Tutu (Welch 90), Edwards (Caesar 71).
Subs: Brown, Rodgers.

Reading U23: Collins, Elva-Fountaine, Nditi, Dorsett (Abbey 56 (Osorio 72)), Medford-Smith, East (c), Coleman, Caetano, Pendlebury, Ajose, Melvin-Lambert (McGiff 36).
Subs: Holden, Azeez.


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