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📝 Match Report | U23s put on five-star display to see off Baggies

Young Royals score five to seal emphatic win West Brom

5 February 2021

Reading U23s recorded a third Premier League 2 win on the trot as they put five past West Bromwich Albion U23s in an enthralling 5-2 victory at Bearwood Park.

A quintet of goals from Jayden Onen, Ethan Bristow, Femi Azeez and two from Nahum Melvin-Lambert saw Mehmet Ali's side overpower the visitors, ensuring another three points as the Royals moved from sixth to second in the PL2 Division 2 table.

The young Royals started brightly and almost had the opener inside three minutes as Thierry Nevers muscled his way free of the last defender before firing into the side netting to the relief of the Baggies defence.

That opener did however come after 26 minutes, as Onen found himself in space on the edge of the area, and his deflected effort found its way into the net after wrong footing Baggies keeper Ted Cann.

Seven minutes before the break, the visitors levelled proceedings. The Royals were penalised following a back-pass to Royals stopper James Holden inside the area, and Baggies forward Jamie Soule placed home the consequential free-kick from just six yards. 

Half-time: Reading U23 1-1 West Bromwich Albion U23

Following a quiet first 19 minutes following the restart, on came Melvin-Lambert who restored the Royals' lead with his first touch, the 18-year-old capitalised on a defensive mix-up to fire home from ten yards for his fourth PL2 goal of the season.

The Royals then made it three after 69 minutes, as Bristow bound down on goal on the left-hand side before drilling a powerful strike across goal and into the bottom corner. 

It was soon four for Reading, as nine minutes later, half-time substitute Femi Azeez took full advantage of the Baggies failure to clear their lines, converting high beyond Cann from point-blank range. 

After 88 minutes, the visitors did manage to pull a second back, as Taylor Gardner-Hickman's darting run culminated in a stabbed finish finding it's way beyond Holden, who had produced a number of stunning stops throughout the afternoon.

With seconds left on the clock, second-half substitute Melvin-Lambert made it five for the campaign and five for the Royals, as he prodded home on the line after Femi Azeez's initial effort bounced off the post and into his path.

Melvin-Lambert's second of the afternoon capped a tireless showing from Ali's youngsters, who now have 10 days to prepare for a trip to pit themselves against the league leaders, Leeds United U23s.

Full-time: Reading U23 5-2 West Bromwich Albion U23

Reading U23: Holden, Ashcroft, Bristow, Tetek (Melvin-Lambert 63'), Watson, Dorsett, East (C), Lawless, Onen, Camara (Leavy 77'), Nevers (Azeez 45')
Unused subs: Luzon, Collins

Scorers: Onen 26', Melvin-Lambert 64' 90', Bristow 69', Azeez 78'
Yellow: Tetek 41'

West Bromwich Albion U23: Cann, White, Delaney, Brown, Williams (Harmon 60') Shotton, Gardner-Hickman, King, Soule, Richards (Dyce 76') Diaby (Thorndike 66')
Unused subs: Boruc, Solanke

Scorers: Soule 38', Gardner-Hickman 88'
Yellow: Gardner-Hickman 73'


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