Updated: Oct 19, 2019
Our Under 23s are in fine form this season and have soared to the top of the league after five wins in only eight games, a huge contrast to last season. Our match reporter Nick Bird described their form as "inspiring".
You can read his match report below.
Inspiring. Last season Reading City U23s got fourteen points all season with just four wins, this Saturday they’ve gone top of the league with seventeen points and five wins in only eight games, Deano Jones and Darren Seal have transformed the side and got them playing incredible football which really showed in the victory at the weekend. Down to ten men after 28 minutes the players put everything into the game, showed desire, work rate, teamwork and if someone turned up after the red card they wouldn’t have known they were down to ten men as they controlled the game continuing to play great football and ended up winning 3-0 with two goals after the red card.
City U23s started well and had a couple of early chances. After just two minutes Kris Tuffour troubled the goalkeeper from range and caused him to spill the shot, but he managed to gather the ball before a Reading City player could get to it. Then in the ninth minute City U23s got the opening goal, Kris Tuffour played a sublime pass over the defence for Jude Van Spall to run onto, Van Spall finished it superbly as he chipped it in to score his first goal of the season, Reading City U23s 1-0 Woodcote.
The chances died down for a while until the twenty-second minute when Ollie Wilson slipped Marco De Sousa through near the penalty spot, but he couldn’t get the ball out from under his feet, partially due to the surface, and the shot was saved quite easily.
About five minutes later, Ollie Wilson was sent off for violent conduct as he lost his head.
After the red card Reading City U23s still dominated the game and kept the ball well and should have scored a few before half time. Luis Le Paih hit the side netting with just under ten to go in the half, Jude Van Spall forced the keeper to make a save from a free-kick which was spilt to Tyrese Weeks, but he couldn’t get a ball across to a teammate to tap in. Jude Van Spall got on the end of a great through ball out of defence, he had Tyrese Weeks in the centre of the box who he squared the ball to, but the keeper did enough to prevent a tap in, but he was lucky to have not conceded. Just before half-time, Kris Tuffour rattled the crossbar with a free-kick which the keeper just about got a hand to.
It was a great first-half performance from Reading City U23s, even with the red card they looked the better side against tough opposition in Woodcote.
It was a great start to the second half as well, Tyrese Weeks forced a save after shifting out to the left side following a good run through the middle and Jude Van Spall had a shot from the right side of the pitch which was saved but spilt almost to Jehmeil McNeil who came on at half-time but he slipped as he ran to get the rebound.
Woodcote were definitely in the game more in the second half, and their number 8 got past a few Reading City U23s players but was halted inside the box by Nathan Mindomba who made a great slide tackle.
Reading City U23s found their second just under fifteen minutes into the half as Tyron Bah showed excellent work rate in the build-up before Jehmeil McNeil had a shot which was spilt by the keeper and this time someone did get to the rebound, and it was captain and top goal scorer and assister Kris Tuffour who finished it, Reading City U23s 2-0 Woodcote.
Woodcote’s best chance of the game came shortly after the goal when the defence couldn’t clear the ball, and it ran through for the Woodcote striker, but he was very quickly closed down by Jordi Wilson who dispossessed him with his legs and pounced on top of the ball so nobody could get to the rebound.
Jehmeil McNeil had a great chance to grab his first of the game as Tyrese Weeks played him through, but he pulled his shot across goal and wide lacking that composure in front of goal that would make him incredibly lethal.
Then around the seventieth-minute mark, there was lots going on. In the sixty-ninth minute, Woodcote had a goal disallowed for offside that a few of their players kicked off about believing it wasn’t offside. Then a minute later Jehmeil McNeil did some superb work as on the edge of the Woodcote box he tackled two players to win the ball and then showed great footwork and composure to get around the keeper and put the ball into an empty net, Reading City U23s 3-0 Woodcote.
After the goal, while a Woodcote player received treatment Woodcote’s number 5 was questioning the referee, and Woodcote’s eight was having a go at the linesman for the disallowed goal, this resulted in Woodcote’s eight getting sin-binned, so it was 10v10 for ten minutes. At this time City also made a double substitution to give a rest to Tyrese Weeks and Kris Tuffour who have both come back from injuries recently.
With ten to go Jehmeil McNeil should have grabbed another goal as he was played through into a one on one, but he couldn’t put the shot on target.
The hosts were through again soon after with Jehmeil, Jas and M.D.Kabba against two Woodcote players, Jas Le Paih played it to Jehmeil McNeil who was to his right, McNeil’s shot went across goal and M.D.Kabba tried to slide it in, but with hard ground studs, he was never going to get to it.
Woodcote had two chances which threatened the City goal in quick succession. Firstly, Woodcote had a free-kick from the left side, which was saved and held by Jordi Wilson. The second chance was a brilliant save down to Jordi Wilson’s right from a shot outside the box, which he pushed out wide.
That’s how it ended, City with the 3-0 victory with a great team performance which was probably their best of the season so far. This clean sheet also means that Reading City U23s haven’t conceded in four consecutive games. Also, this victory puts Reading City U23s top of the Thames Valley Premier League.