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Match Reports

📝 Match Report | Onen and Azeez star in U23s win over Palace

Young Royals end the month with deserved victory over Eagles

12 March 2021

Femi Azeez netted a late winner to seal three points for Reading U23 during a 2-1 Premier League 2 victory over Crystal Palace U23 at Bearwood Park.

Jayden Onen had opened the scoring for the Royals, before an unfortunate Michael Stickland own-goal levelled proceedings, prior to Azeez's last-gasp finish.

Following a cagey start, Mehmet Ali's side hit their stride and broke the deadlock after 15 minutes; Mamadi Camara began the move, working his way into the area before finding Onen on the edge, the forward turned before curling a stunning left-footed effort into the top left corner beyond the reach of veteran keeper Wayne Hennessey.

Lively striker Thierry Nevers had a chance to make it two for the Royals on 39 minutes, but as he powered an effort goalbound on the edge of the box, he was denied by a last-ditch Palace block.

Amongst the eleven was Everton loanee Lewis Gibson, who continued his recovery from injury with 45 minutes of game time, before being replaced by Omri Luzon at the break. 

Half-time: Reading U23 1-0 Crystal Palace U23

Three minutes prior to the hour mark, Palace drew level courtesy of an unfortunate Royals own-goal. Palace winger Harlem Hale made headway down the right-hand side, delivering a low cross which Michael Stickland looked to clear, his touch rattled the delivery onto the crossbar, before bouncing back against the defender and in.

Azeez thought he had regained the lead for his side 15 minutes later, but when Hennessey fumbled his low shot on the line, the officials insisted the Palace stopper had kept it out and play went on.

Palace were then awarded a chance to turn the game on it's head from the spot after 78 minutes, as Coniah Boyce-Clarke gave away a penalty as he came to gather a cross inside the area.

Sion Spence stepped up, looking to convert for the visitors, but Boyce-Clarke got down well to his left to save, making ammends as he pushed the midfielder's strike clear of danger.

Just as the opportunity to take all three points looked to have gotten away from the Royals, Onen drove forward before playing a clever pass to unlock the Palace defence, Azeez ran on, remained onside, and took a touch before slotting a composed finish beneath former-Wales international Hennessey.

Full-time: Reading U23 2-1 Crystal Palace U23

Friday afternoon's victory over Palace concluded the month of March for Ali's youngsters - next up for our U23 side is the visit of Sunderland U23, who make the long journey to Bearwood Park on Friday 2nd April for a 1pm kick-off.   

Reading U23: Boyce-Clarke, Watson, Dorsett, East (c) (Osario 62'), Stickland, Gibson (Luzon 46'), Leavy, Camara (Ajose 62'), Azeez, Onen, Nevers
Unused subs: Holden, McGiff

Yellow: Nevers 83', Leavy 90'
Scorer: Onen 15', Azeez 87'

Crystal Palace U23: Hennessey, D.Boateng, Hannam, Rich-Baghuelou, O'Brien, M.Boateng, Dreher (Akinwale 65'), Hale, Rak-Sakyi (Taylor 46'), Spence, Gordon
Unused subs: Webber, Russell, Steele

Yellow: Rich-Baghuelou
Scorer: Stickland OG 57' 

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