Updated: Oct 19, 2019
Match Reporter: Nick Bird
It was a nine goal thriller on a very wet Monday night at The Rivermoor which saw Reading City come out on top in the Bluefin Sports UHL Challenge Cup 2nd Round clash against Holyport. It was another excellent performance from the in-form McKoy Palmer who scored a hat-trick in the win and moves to five goals in the last three games.
Reading City had a great first half where they had a lot of possession and were clinical in front of goal. Kai Stubbs-Alleyne opened the chances in the 12th minute when he did a Cruyff turn on the edge of the box with his first touch to get past the defence and into a one on one, but he put his shot over the bar.
Holyport went up the other end soon after, and a through ball was played in behind the defence, the Andy Forisky raced for the ball and reached it just before Charlie York, but had to slide to reach it first so didn’t make significant contact and Charlie York was able to save the shot and collect it right after.
The Citizens found the opener in the 20th minute when Matt Stockill slipped the ball through to McKoy Palmer, the keeper got it first, but his first touch gave the ball to McKoy Palmer who put it into an empty net, Reading City 1-0 Holyport.
Soon after the lead got doubled, a corner from the right side went past everyone except Steve Lee, he headed the ball back across goal and went in, there may have been a touch from Dan Davies, but the ball was going in anyway, Reading City 2-0 Holyport.
Only two minutes later, however, Holyport pulled a goal back, Luis Le Paih got dispossessed on the halfway line by Josh Masters who played a through ball to Andy Forisky who got in behind Devonn Reid and finished confidently to cut City’s lead back to one goal, Reading City 2-1 Holyport.
City’s set-pieces proved to be lethal again ten minutes after Holyport’s goal when a corner from the left side was directed goalwards by Dan Davies, but it got cleared off of the goal line only as far as Stubbs-Alleyne who put it in from close between the two defenders defending the posts, Reading City 3-1 Holyport.
Reading City showed their strength going forward in the first half, but there were signs of complacency at the back at times which resulted in Andy Forisky getting in behind the defence twice and scoring from one of those occasions.
The signs of complacency were exploited early in the second half by Holyport who came out of the blocks faster and more determined. Holyport won a penalty in two minutes of the restart from a free-kick, the initial shot got blocked, but the rebound hit Josh Blackwood in the upper arm as he turned away to block the shot, it was a slightly controversial penalty, but there was nothing City could do about it. The penalty was put into the bottom left by Fabian Driffill, Reading City 3-2 Holyport.
Fabian Driffill grabbed a second goal a couple of minutes later when he retrieved a clearance from a corner he took, and he realised that he had time and room to shoot and did so, the ball sailed towards goal into the top left corner, the scores were level, Reading City 3-3 Holyport.
Soon after Driffill almost bagged his third goal after a misplaced pass by Devonn Reid was intercepted by Driffill, he shot from about twenty yards out, but his shot went wide of the right post. Reading City needed to wake up, or there was potential for them to be embarrassed.
However, the hosts were quick to get back to their first-half form. Palmer was on the left side, he shifted inside onto his right foot and tried to bend a shot into the far corner but saw the chance go just wide. Palmer did the same sort of thing not long after, but his attempt went past the far post again.
However, City went behind for the first time in the game with fifteen minutes to go. Steve Lee failed to clear the ball, and it got crossed in from the left and put in from close range with a sliding tap in, Reading City 3-4 Holyport.
McKoy Palmer found the opening with ten minutes to go for City in the 2nd half to draw the scores level, Kai Stubbs-Alleyne played a through ball behind the Holyport left-back, and Palmer showed good composure to put his shot past the goalkeeper. City grabbed the ball and ran back to the halfway line to get the game going again so they could find a winner, Reading City 4-4 Holyport.
However, it was Holyport who almost retook the lead when the two goalscorers combined, and Driffill forced a good save out of Charlie York to keep the scoreline level.
But it was Reading City’s McKoy Palmer who found the winner only two minutes after his second when he scored a fantastic goal similar to his shots earlier in the half. Dan Davies played a ball down the line for Palmer to run onto; he cut back inside before opening up his body and curling a shot into the top right corner from about twenty yards which was merely unstoppable and a beautiful way for Palmer to secure his hat-trick, Reading City 5-4 Holyport.
It was a much-improved performance from Holyport in the second half, but Reading City showed their resilience and McKoy Palmer continued his excellent goalscoring form to lead the Citizens into the third round of the Bluefin Sports UHL Challenge Cup.
Reading City play next on Saturday 5th October away against Longlevens at Sawmills End in the Hellenic Premier Division at 15:00 and are at home next on Monday 7th October in the BBFA Senior Cup against Aylesbury Dynamos at 19:45.
First team manager Simon Johnson had this to say following this thrilling game:
"We got there in the end. Fantastic first half, but credit to Holyport who came flying out the traps second half and gave us a real scare. Great character from the lads to turn it back around and get us in the next round. Another ruthless performance in front of goal".