Yesterday evening saw our Under 23s kick off their 2019/20 Thames Valley Premier League Campaign away to Westwood Wanderers. Unfortunately it wasn't the result we'd hoped for and the young citizens were defeated 2-1.
MATCH REPORT (By Nick Bird)
Reading City U23s kicked off their Thames Valley Premier League season on Wednesday night away to Westwood Wanderers, formerly Westwood United, who finished 6th last season.
It wasn’t the best start for the City U23s, as Westwood Wanderers found the opening goal after just six minutes.
The right-winger got in behind the City left-back Shomari Bridgewater and was able to put across into the back post where Westwood Wanderers players were lining up to get on the end of it. Number 2 for Westwood received the ball and had time to get the ball under control before putting the ball past Jordi Wilson to give his side the lead, 1-0.
Only four minutes later Westwood had a chance to double their lead after a free-kick from around the halfway line was put into the Reading City U23s box, it was then headed across the box to Westwood’s number 3 who, fortunately for City, put his shot over.
Reading City U23s were struggling to get a foothold in the game and the defence was having to deal with the direct balls from Westwood being carried by the wind.
The best chance of the half for City came from a good run cutting inside from winger Harry Peters which created space on the right for Marco De Sousa. Peters passed it out to De Sousa who fired his shot across goal forcing a good save out of the Westwood Wanderers’ goalkeeper.
City had a decent spell on the ball in the middle of the half but De Sousa’s chance was the only one that troubled Westwood Wanderers.
The scoreline remained the same going into halftime with Westwood definitely the better side but both sides were struggling to create any good chances. There was a lot that could be improved in the 2nd half for both sides.
It was a very lively start from City after a halftime team talk from Sam Woodruff and Darren Seal which would foreshadow a great half from the visitors. De Sousa troubled Westwood again as he had a shot go barely over. City had started with a higher tempo than the first half which was helping to unlock the pace of City U23s.
Ten minutes into the half City had a breakthrough when captain Kris Tuffour played a beautiful long ball from midfield to pacy left-winger Tyrese Weeks who got in a 1 on 1 with the Westwood goalkeeper and finished with finesse to give City a deserved goal after a strong start to the 2nd half.
Weeks had another chance only a couple of minutes later when he received the ball outside the box after a poor clearance from a City corner. The ball settled nicely for Weeks to hit it on the half volley but saw his shot miss the target.
The roles had been reversed in the 2nd half as it was City in complete control this half and Westwood trying to create chances from the little amount of the ball they could get.
In the 63rd minute Westwood doubled their lead, a cross from the right-hand side went towards goal and the ball went through Jordi Wilson’s hands for an unfortunate fluke goal which came completely against the run of play, 2-1.
Reading City U23s had a clear cut chance almost straight from the restart when Harry Peters got in a 1 on 1 with the goalkeeper, but took too long to get his shot away which allowed the defence to recover and block the shot which went under the goalkeeper.
The citizens were pushing for that tying goal and even went to three at the back late on to get as many men forward as possible. They deserved a goal for the great 2nd half performance they had put in.
After pushing all half City had a chance in what was pretty much the last play of the game. A corner from City was poorly cleared and striker Jehmeil McNeill went and retrieved the ball, he saw a gap open up and drove a shot low at the bottom right corner only for the Westwood goalkeeper to make the save and make sure his side got an opening day win.
It was a frustrating defeat for the City U23s who definitely deserved something from the game. Although they lost the 2nd half performance showed promise and reasons to be optimistic for the long season ahead.