Reading City U23s took centre stage on Saturday at the Rivermoor as they faced near-neighbours Burghfield in a tightly contested game as our youngsters looked to keep the pressure on the leaders of the Thames Valley Premier League.
Match Report by Nick Bird
The first chance of the game fell for Reading City when Harry Peters was away down the left side, and he put a good cross in which the Burghfield goalkeeper tried to push away, but it fell for Ryan Corbett who wanted to hit it on the half volley but didn’t get the desired connection, and the danger was cleared.
Only two minutes later Burghfield went close from a corner on the left side. The ball was whipped in towards the back post where two Burghfield players were unmarked, and it was the number 4 who rose to win the header, and he headed it slightly over the crossbar.
The game got feisty in the first half, and Burghfield saw two of their players receive yellow cards for late challenges on Ryan Corbett, and Shomari Bridgewater and these caused a war of words for the rest of the game between the sides.
With just under five minutes to go in the half, Burghfield had a free-kick on the right side which number 7 took, and he hit it well, but Aaron Cuncliffe got across to it to make a good save.
In the 44th minute Reading City broke forward but the Burghfield keeper got to the ball first and attempted to shut down the danger by clearing the ball, but only as far as Marco De Sousa whose touch lead the ball into the stride of Tyron Bah who was then in a one on one with the goalkeeper, who was still quite far out of his goal following his clearance, but he managed to make the save, and the ball went out for a corner. It was probably the best chance of the game at that point.
Then in stoppage time, Burghfield had a free-kick which was cleared only as far as the Burghfield number 7 who hit the ball first time on the volley from 20 yards out looking for a screamer of a goal, and it almost came as the shot rattled the bar and was eventually cleared by the hosts.
It was goalless at half time, and there were very few chances for either side, but those few chances came very close.
Reading City U23s started the second half with a chance as Harry Peters received the ball just in the Burghfield half, he got it under control before dribbling forward as the Burghfield defence stepped off which allowed Peters to get into the box and release a shot across goal, but it went wide.
Just over the twenty-minute mark Reading City displayed some great football as they passed the ball from side to side stretching Burghfield. The stretch worked as Jas Le Paih was able to play a pass down the right side for Jude Van Spall. Van Spall then delivered a low cross which went past Shane Gibson to the back post where a Burghfield and Reading City U23s player slid to reach the ball first which resulted in the ball being turned towards goal, it looked certain to be a goal but was denied as the Burghfield 3 made a crucial header to divert the ball over the bar.
Burghfield had their first good chance of the second half in the 77th minute as their 5 intercepted a pass on the halfway line and then dribbled down the left-wing. He put in a good cross which Aaron Cuncliffe aimed to claim at the front post, but the ball went over him to the back post where a Burghfield player met it and looked sure to score, but Cuncliffe got across his goal to make an important save to deny the visitors.
There was the sense that there was still a goal in the game with five to go and there was, unfortunately for City it came for Burghfield. Aaron Cuncliffe attempted to punch away the ball from a corner on the right side but didn’t get enough on it, and the ball fell at the back post for a Burghfield player to put into what was practically an empty net, Reading City U23s 0-1 Burghfield.
Following the goal, Reading City looked the best they’d looked all game. Almost straight after the goal Ryan Corbett received a pass and put a cross in which was nearly redirected into the goal by a Burghfield player, but the defender will have been relieved to see the ball go wide of the post.
In the same minute, Harry Peters has the ball on the right-wing and beat his man before getting brought down by the Burghfield 15 who received a yellow card for the challenge. Marco De Sousa took the free-kick which went towards the back post where Ryan Corbett got up to win the header, but he put it wide in a situation which looked from the crowds view to be harder to miss than score.
However, this missed chance didn’t put Corbett down as he put a cross in from a similar position to the one after the Burghfield goal, it went through the traffic and was picked up by Marco De Sousa who showed good composure to pick out the right pass which was a low cross to Shane Gibson who was on the penalty spot, and he was able to turn the ball in awkwardly to tie the game for Reading City U23s in the 95th minute and also get his first goal as a Reading City player! Gibson ran straight to Deano as the squad celebrated together after showing great fight to come from behind to tie the game, but at the time it felt like a winner to all Reading City players, staff and fans, Reading City U23s 1-1 Burghfield.
The late goal gave Reading City U23s a deserved point as neither side dominated and it was quite an end to end game. It was a fair result and an important point in the title push for the Citizens.
You can follow along with all U23s games on twitter @RDGCityFCYouth.