Updated: Dec 24, 2019
Our U23s had a break from the Thames Valley Premier League last Saturday and were instead playing in the Reading Invitation Challenge Cup against Harchester Hawks, with the game level at full time the result was decided by a penalty shootout with our visitors winning 4-3.
MATCH REPORT BY NICK BIRD
Reading City dominated the first half, but they couldn’t put a shot on target despite the good passing play out of defence. Multiple shots from outside the box went over the bar with only one on target which was straight at the goalkeeper for an easy save.
However, there were some good chances. Ryan Corbett played a great direct pass out to Harry Peters who was then in a one on one but the keeper dealt with it well to prevent a goal for the home side. Later in the same minute, Corbett played a similar pass to Peters who then cut the ball back to Josh Blackwood whose first-time shot was pulled wide.
Despite some good play at times it was Harchester Hawks who had the best chance of the half. Just after the half-hour mark, they had a player put into a one on one with stand-in keeper Cuncliffe who did enough to slow down the ball, and a City defender got to the ball first as it rolled towards the goal to clear the danger.
City had complete control of the first half with what seemed to be around 80% of possession, but they couldn’t create any chances to trouble the goalkeeper.
City’s domination of possession continued into the second half. Kris Tuffour gave hope of a better second half in the first minute as he forced the goalkeeper into making a save.
Then ten minutes later, Ryan Corbett had a go first time from range, and it went narrowly past the top right corner. It was a promising start for City, but they needed to continue and get some shots on target.
Just before the hour mark City had potentially their best chance of the game as the ball was worked down the right side before being slid through for Blackwood who hit the post with just the keeper to beat.
Soon after Peters hit a shot which went on target and Marco De Sousa rushed to reach the rebound and got to it, but the Hawks defence had got into position to prevent an easy goal, and the attack fizzled out.
City were committing almost everyone forward which created some chances for the Hawks to score on the counter. A long ball was played out to the right side, and one of the Hawks forwards was through and hit a shot across goal, but saw his shot go wide of the far post.
Late on there were two big calls from Reading City for penalties as with six minutes to go of the ninety Blackwood played through McNeil who got brought down but the referee ignored the calls and play continued. Then into the 94th minute, Marco De Sousa was brought down just inside the box, and the referee gave a free kick on rather than a penalty. Nothing came of the free-kick, and the game went to penalties.
It was the visitors who were victorious in the shootout 4-3, and they progressed to the next round.
It’s a game which will hopefully be a learning experience for City who were the favourites to win and definitely had enough of the ball and the quality players to create chances but weren’t able to do so.
The final game before Christmas falls this Saturday away to Cookham Dean who failed to turn up to the home fixture. City will want to bounce back with a big win against the side who are bottom of the league to keep their good Thames Valley Premier League form going. You can follow along with the game and all games on twitter @RDGCityFCYouth.
Under 23s manager Deano Jones reflects on his sides loss:
Reflecting on our cup loss, but got to hand it to the Harchester lads who fought hard for everything under our constant pressure, but goals win games, & we were terrible in front of goal. We will address this and come back stronger. Good luck to Alex and team in the next round.