Reading City U23s took a break from chasing the Thames Valley Premier League title on Saturday as they took on Woodley United Royals in the Berkshire Trophy Centre Senior Cup and returned to winning ways. After a disappointing 0-2 league defeat to Richings Park the previous week it was a welcome and much-needed win and one that showed good spirit and fight after an uninspiring first forty-five minutes. Reading City U23s 5-0 Woodley United Royals.
MATCH REPORT BY NICK BIRD
The Citizens struggled in the first half and were really helped out by an excellent defensive performance from Liam Parry in Denis Haxhiu’s absence. Parry won three crucial defensive battles in the first half against Woodley’s striker long balls over the defence which were decisive in keeping a clean sheet.
Woodley’s best chance was their first of the game when a cross from deep on the left side went in behind the defence to the back post where a Woodley forward met it and hit it first time from the 6-yard box, but Jordi Wilson was at his best to get across and make a save pushing the ball over the bar.
Woodley had a very similar chance later in the half, and this time the player took his time taking a touch before releasing a shot, but when he did so, the ball sailed over the bar, and over the hedge, which was a recurring issue throughout the game.
City didn’t have any clear chances from open play in the first half but forced a save out of the goalkeeper on two occasions from free-kicks. The first was a Van Spall shot to the bottom left corner which was well saved, and the second came from a good cross to the back post which was headed goalwards by Bub Touray, but it was easily saved.
At half-time Deano Jones and Dave Wyeth let the City U23s know that the first-half performance wasn’t anywhere near good enough and there was an almost instant response in the second half. Bub Touray won City a corner after some good footwork in the box to create a chance which was saved at the near post. The initial ball in from the corner was poor, but Shomari Bridgewater collected the loose ball and put a cross in which Shane Gibson rose highest to meet and head the ball home giving City the lead, Reading City U23s 1-0 Woodley United Royals.
City controlled the game from then on, and the goals were flowing. The second also came from a set-piece, the cross was much better this time from Peters, and Gibson was able to side-foot volley the ball into the goal under little pressure to grab his second of the game, Reading City U23s 2-0 Woodley United Royals.
A minute later, City had a third. Van Spall brought down a direct pass from Bub Touray. He beat his man on the edge of the box to put himself into a one on one, and when he gets into these situations he very rarely misses and he continued that trend here with a calmly placed shot into the bottom right corner, Reading City U23s 3-0 Woodley United Royals.
Nathan Jones who made his first appearance in four months having recovered from a broken leg back in October, came close three minutes later when he headed a cross from Harry Peters whiskers past the post.
Jones got his goal on his return from a broken leg one minute later. Jones pressed well with Harry Peters high up the pitch, and they won the ball, Peters then played a ball through for Jones to run onto and slot into the bottom right corner, Reading City U23s 4-0 Woodley United Royals.
The fifth was also from a corner, the initial header from the corner was blocked on the line and went back out left, it was whipped to the back post where right back Jas Le Paih met it and fired home for his first of the season, Reading City U23s 5-0 Woodley United Royals.
Le Paih’s goal wrapped up the fourth goal in twelve minutes as Woodley’s heads dropped following a stellar first half where they had controlled the game.
The hosts should have added a sixth late on. Tyrese Weekes glided past defenders on the left wing before delivering a great cross to the back post where both Jehmeil McNeil and George Dance looked to score; Dance was the one to connect with the shot which was goalbound but was unfortunately blocked by McNeil.
It ended 5-0 to Reading City U23s, it was a flattering result considering the poor first half but showed City had the capability to score which they’ve struggled with at times during this season. This win over Woodley United Royals made it a combined 11-0 for Reading City U23s over the three games this season. The win also put City into the next round of the Berkshire Trophy Centre Senior Cup where we will play Hurst at home on 7/3/20.
Reading City U23s are at home all February and next weekend it’s a City doubleheader again! U23s kick-off at 2pm at Rivers against Wraysbury Village and the first team kick off at 3pm against Longlevens.