Match Report by Nick Bird
In a weekend of cup success for our youth section, unfortunately, It wasn’t a game to remember for our U23s on Saturday in the Berkshire Trophy Centre Senior Cup against Hurst as they played poorly and suffered another defeat and exited the competition. That defeat now means they only have one win in five. The lack of consistent games is clearly not helping during this unfortunate run of form with only five games played since the start of 2020 for Reading City U23s and only seven games played since the end of October.
The game was played at quite a low tempo which reflected the lack of attempts in the game. It took twenty-one minutes for the first half-chance of the game. Hurst moved off the ball well to create space and thanks to this an opportunity opened as a through ball was played into the box and the Hurst player hit the shot first time, and Jordi Wilson made a good save as he palmed the shot over the bar.
The chances picked up from there, and Hurst had a flurry of chances. The number 8 rattled the bar from a free-kick, then a few minutes later a long ball was played forward for the Hurst striker who placed his shot low, but Jordi Wilson made a save with his leg.
Hurst finally converted one of their chances as number 8 rattled the bar yet again but this time City couldn’t clear it, and the Hurst striker headed the rebound in, Reading City U23s 0-1 Hurst.
It was back to back poor first halves from City U23s, they lacked tempo and weren’t passing well, they also lost Ben Lambourne in midfield during the half as his injury reoccurred which didn’t help this as he had a good game up until then.
Reading City started much better in the second half, Kris Tuffour, who came off the bench for Lambourne, played a part in multiple chances early in the half. Tuffour put in a cross from a free-kick which was headed narrowly wide by Ollie Wilson, shortly after he put another cross in which was headed wide of the right post by Shane Gibson. Tuffour then attempted a shot through traffic which was well saved by the Hurst goalkeeper who made the save and no City player was there for the rebound.
Tuffour good start to the half was rewarded with a tremendous goal, the ball fell to him on the edge of the box and hit the shot with power into the top right corner, the goalkeeper got a hand to it, but it wasn’t enough to prevent the ball from going in, Reading City U23s 1-1 Hurst.
After the goal, Hurst started to get back into the game. Number 8 continued his excellent game as he forced a save out of Wilson in goal from a free-kick which was heading for the bottom left corner. Soon after Hurst had a great chance as a cross was pulled back to substitute number 23 who was in lots of space and fired across goal but saw his shot go wide of the post.
With fifteen minutes to go, Bub, Touray was sent off for Reading City U23s, it’s unclear what for, it appeared as though he had slipped into the man he was pressing and taken him out, but it wasn’t obvious what happened.
Reading City U23s played well in response to the red card and had some great opportunities but weren’t able to put them away. Hurst still had the better of the chances, as you would expect. A long ball forward to 23 resulted in a shot across goal again, and Wilson made the save and held it with an onrushing Hurst player looking to finish any rebound.
Very late on Jordi Wilson made an incredible save, the Hurst forward received a long ball and took it into the box, he slowed down as if he was going to take a shot which made Denis Haxhiu dive in to make a tackle or block, but the forward didn’t shoot and took it past the defender before releasing a shot which Wilson turned away from goal with a save with his right leg.
The game looked like it was going to extra time and City had one final corner to clear, and that would have been so; however, City’s poor set-piece defence resurfaced. Jordi Wilson made the initial save, but nobody cleared the ball before the second shot was struck which won Hurst the Quarter Final of the cup with the final touch of the game, Reading City U23s 1-2 Hurst.
As mentioned earlier City U23s aren’t on the best form and the lack of game time can be attributed to that. The team need the rain to go away, and I’m sure as a result of that we’ll see a resurgence in form as the team can gain some match sharpness and be back in the form we saw earlier on in the season.
You can follow all Reading City U23s games live on twitter @RDGCityFCYouth.