Reading City U23s moved to 7 points from 4 games in the Thames Valley Premier League after a tightly fought win vs Mortimer FC in a game which was potentially overshadowed by some of the referee’s decisions.
MATCH REPORT BY NICK BIRD
Mortimer got off to a strong start with a shot going wide for them in under a minute and another shot went over the bar into the hedge and became the first lost ball of the season! A lot of Mortimer's chances were coming from the right side where their pacy right-winger was causing issues for Reading City's defence.
Reading City had an incredible chance to take the lead though in the 8th minute when left-back Marco De Sousa put a great cross towards the back post, Harry Peters headed the ball back across goal for Jehmeil McNeil whose header went just over the crossbar. If the header was on target Reading City would probably have taken a 1-0 lead.
But Mortimer were the team that opened the scoring in the 11th minute. The left-back got the ball outside the box after City cleared the ball from a corner. He fired a shot low towards goal but the ball took a deflection and looped over the goalkeeper to give the visitors the lead, Reading City U23s 0-1 Mortimer FC
The lead didn’t last long though as Reading City scored three minutes later. Tyrese Weeks dribbled down the left side getting past his man, as he does so often, and crossed the ball in for striker Jehmeil McNeil to tap the ball into the goal and tie the game, Reading City U23s 1-1 Mortimer FC
Reading City continued to go close as Harry Peters had a shot from range barely miss the target. Only minutes after that another clear cut chance came for City when Tyrese Weeks got in the box from the left-wing and had a shot saved well by the Mortimer goalkeeper, the ball rebounded to Kris Tuffour, who had an incredible opportunity to give his side the lead but his shot cannoned off the bar and the score remained level.
Mortimer punished City for their missed chances as they retook the lead. The Mortimer left-back got the ball from a clearance again and wasn’t closed down quick enough which allowed him to cross the ball into the Mortimer number 10 who headed the ball into the top left corner, Reading City U23s 1-2 Mortimer FC.
The chances died down for a while after Mortimer retook the lead and it looked like the visiting side were going to go into the break with the lead. That was until centre back Denis Haxhiu played a sensational ball from the Reading City defence over the top of the Mortimer defence, Tyrese Weeks reached the pass before the chasing defenders and was in a 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper and he finished his chance to make the scoreline tied again, Reading City U23s 2-2 Mortimer FC.
Kris Tuffour had another chance to score just before the end of the half when Harry Peters swung a cross from the right side to the City U23s captain who timed his run very well to arrive at the back post untracked, he headed the ball towards goal but hit the left post this time, he couldn't believe he'd missed such a good chance again.
The sides went in level at the break but they both squandered chances that would have given them the lead at the break, especially City.
Reading City U23s had a chance to take the lead for the first time in the game in the early minutes of the second half when Harry Peters intercepted a pass along the backline and played a through ball for Jehmeil McNeil whose shot was going towards the bottom left corner but was redirected wide by the keeper’s save. McNeil had another chance a few minutes later when he timed his run to perfection to keep the linesman’s flag down, he tried to put his shot round the right of the keeper but was denied by the right post to the disbelief of all City supporters as we’d now hit every post.
In the 54th minute, Mortimer right-winger was going down the right side but was fouled by Tyron Bah, the winger retaliated by pushing Tyron and after some shoving and arguing from the Mortimer winger the referee gave him a red card. A yellow card was given to Reading City captain Kris Tuffour who made sure his side didn’t retaliate and that any arguing was directed at him instead of his teammates and this resulted in him getting a card.
Following the red card, Reading City were in control of possession but couldn’t find a final ball that would give them the lead against 10 man Mortimer. It looked like Reading City U23s weren’t going to find a way through and the game was going to end 2-2. However, with ten minutes left of the game City found the breakthrough they’d been looking for the whole of the 2nd half and the substitutes were the difference-maker. Ezio Touray let the ball run past him and the Mortimer backline for Mohammed Drammeh Kabba to get away from the Mortimer players, he put his shot around the right side of the goalkeeper and this time we weren’t denied by the post and instead we saw the ball hit the back of the net and City were in the lead for the first time in the game, Reading City U23s 3-2 Mortimer FC.
It was a nervy last ten minutes plus the six minutes of added time due to an injury and the red card. Mortimer had a big appeal for a penalty with minutes to go when Bubacarr Touray made a tackle in the box but the referee dismissed the appeals. City had a chance to make it 4-2 with what would have been an incredible goal as Kris Tuffour and Mohammed Drammeh Kabba worked the ball down the right with some great passing play, Kris received it on the edge of the box, where we’ve seen him be dangerous already this season, but his shot went just over the top left corner this time.
Mortimer FC started to get impatient and their challenges became quite rash resulting in yellow cards for their number 4 and 9 in added time.
It was a relieving three points for City as they managed to get the win while missing some key players and after missing some great chances on a handful of occasions.
Reading City U23s now have 2 wins from the last 2 games and 7 points from 4 which puts them up to 3rd in the league now.
Next game is on Saturday 14th September vs Didcot Town Development in round 1 of the BBFA Senior Trophy.
You can follow along with all U23s games on twitter @RDGCityFCYouth