MATCH REPORT BY NICK BIRD
It was back to winning ways for Reading City U23s on Saturday, but any hope for that to be the start of a run to get some momentum going in what has already been a very stop-start season has been crushed, as Covid-19 had brought a halt to all football for the time being.
It wasn’t as comfortable of a win as Deano, and his U23s would have expected against bottom of the league Cookham Dean, but it was an important three points.
There was an early scare for Reading City U23s, in just three minutes Cookham Dean’s direct approach resulted in 11 shooting narrowly wide after getting in behind the defence.
Reading City U23s weren’t phased by the early scare, as ten minutes later they found the opening goal. Jude Van Spall whipped the corner in and the initial header on goal was blocked, but it fell for centre-back Denis Haxhiu who hit the ball on the volley into the top right of the goal, Cookham Dean 0-1 Reading City U23s.
Unfortunately for City, the goal didn’t give them the momentum boost in the match to start a goal-fest. Cookham’s set-piece move of playing a deep free-kick out wide, and then heading back across, caused issues every time they did it. On this occasion, the ball was headed into the six-yard box and a Cookham player headed centimetres past the post.
Reading City U23s looked to make inroads down the flanks, and a superb long ball from Ryan Corbett to Van Spall on the left almost did that, Van Spall played a low cross looking for striker Shane Gibson but it was blocked and came back out to Van Spall who shot into the near side netting.
With ten minutes left of the half, Van Spall was doing work at the other end of the pitch, Cookham’s set-pieces caused problems yet again and a header to the near post was blocked and cleared off of the line by Van Spall.
It was by no means a confident or comfortable lead at half-time for Reading City U23s with Cookham Dean having the better of the chances but no goal to show for them.
It was a promising start to the half for City, Marco De Sousa instantly got down the right-wing and was able to cross the ball low but no Reading City U23 player could reach the ball.
Cookham also came out strong though, a direct ball got 7 in behind and with only Jordi Wilson to beat who had rushed out to close him down, 7 tried to chip Wilson but saw it go wide.
The game was end to end in the second half. Nathan Jones received a cut-back pass from Van Spall and had a go from outside the box towards the bottom left but the goalkeeper made the save to deny City the 2nd goal.
Cookham’s set-piece routine mentioned earlier was what brought them their goal to tie the game. The free-kick was played out wide and headed across to two unmarked men and it was headed into the bottom corner, Cookham Dean 1-1 Reading City U23s.
Substitute Kris Tuffour looked to make an instant impact as he whipped a cross from the left side to the back post but Marco De Sousa couldn’t quite leap high enough to head it in.
De Sousa almost found the winner with only a few minutes to go from a free-kick out on the left, he put a cross in which instead went goalwards and the keeper just managed to push it onto the post.
Another substitute looked to make an instant impact, this time it was Tyrese Weekes who received a header across goal and had a shot first time hitting the post with what was his first touch.
Reading City U23s late flurry of chances paid off when a through ball to Shane Gibson put him in a one on one, he went around the goalkeeper and put his shot past the defender who had rushed back to get onto the line, Cookham Dean 1-2 Reading City U23s.
Tyrese Weekes looked to add a third in one of the final plays of the game as he cut in from the left and beat the goalkeeper with his shot, but some great defensive work from Cookham denied him a goal as the shot was blocked on the line.
Reading City U23s were on the right side of a late goal this week to bring a much needed three points. However, that could be the final game of the season, make sure to follow @ReadingCityFC and @RDGCityFCYouth on twitter to be updated when/if this changes.