Our U23s first game of 2020 was a tough game as we welcomed fourth-placed Maidenhead Town too Rivers as we compete in the Thames Valley Premier League title race. Deano Jones named two new signings in the squad as he looks to increase his sides chance conversion with the arrival of Shane Gibson from Mortimer and Ed Gadd from Woodcote, despite a first-half goal from the visitors, Deano Jones' youngsters continued to fight until the very end and thanks to a wonder-goal from Marco De Sousa the citizens earned a point which may come in very handy in a very contested title race.
MATCH REPORT BY NICK BIRD
Reading City U23s started strong and had a huge opportunity to take the lead in under ten minutes. Tyron Bah used his strength and speed to get down the right side to the byline and cut the ball back to Jude Van Spall who put his shot wide.
City continued to have success down the right side, this time it was Marco De Sousa; he dribbled down the right side before coming inside and dribbling through a couple of Maidenhead players, he then passed the ball to Van Spall who hit it from the edge of the box, but the shot was right at the goalkeeper and was an easy save.
City continued to be the better side, and Kris Tuffour received the ball from the left side on the edge of the box, he retained the ball through a tackle and then had a shot which forced the keeper to make a save, which he did so unconventionally with his legs. If the shot was anywhere else on target, it probably would have gone in.
Despite City controlling the game to this point, Maidenhead took the lead. Lewis Critcher was allowed to dribble past multiple Reading City players to come inside from the right-wing into the box, and he put his shot away with a good finish at the near post, Reading City U23s 0-1 Maidenhead Town.
Maidenhead went in with a one-goal lead which came a little bit against the run of play; however, Maidenhead had played well despite Reading City having more of the ball.
Reading City almost tied the game from the restart. Harry Peters almost caught the keeper out as he attempted a shot from range which dipped forcing the keeper to push the ball over the bar.
Maidenhead struggled to get much of the ball in the second half as Reading City U23s were continually attacking, but the passing got sloppier late in the second half.
Reading City finally found a breakthrough with fifteen minutes to go. Marco De Sousa played a one-two with debutant Shane Gibson, De Sousa then shaped up to pass the ball out to the left-wing before coming back inside and unleashing a shot from the outside the box into the top right corner! The keeper had no chance of stopping the shot, Reading City U23s 1-1 Maidenhead Town.
Reading City kept pushing forward but due to the passing become sloppier they allowed Maidenhead back into the game and they had a final chance late on to take away all three points.
The opportunity came from a free-kick, there were flashbacks to the Windlesham United game when the U23s lost to a late free-kick, the ball was put over the wall then headed out left by a Maidenhead player, he then switched it to the right, and the ball was headed across goal, and Jordi Wilson pulled off a vital stop as a Maidenhead player slid towards the ball, Denis Haxhiu then cleared the danger.
The game ended 1-1, and it was a deserved point for both sides, neither side did enough to win the game. Tyron Bah has to be highlighted as he had a superb match down the right flank, causing issues for Maidenhead consistently.
Reading City U23s play at home again next week against Finchampstead who held City to a 0-0 draw in the reverse fixture, as always you can follow along with all U23s games as well as other youth team updates on twitter @RDGCityFCYouth.