U23 Report: Reading 4-2 Saints

By SFC Media time Fri 06 Jan Reading U23 vs Saints U23
Photo by Naomi Baker | Callum Slattery
Fri 06 Jan 1PM
Premier League 2 - Division 2
Reading
4
Southampton
2
Novakovich [6' 68'] Mendes [14'] Dickie [54']
goal
Seager [65'] Cook [72']
Barrett [62']
yellow card
Referee: Rob Whitton | Venue: Adams Park | Attendance: 0

Southampton Under-23s suffered a 4-2 defeat away to Reading in their first Premier League 2 fixture of 2017.

The Royals flew to a three-goal lead thanks to goals from Andrija Novakovich, Joseph Mendes and Rob Dickie.

But Southampton fought back in the second-half, as substitute Ryan Seager scored from the spot-kick upon his return before Ollie Cook headed in a late effort.

But the hosts added to their tally with a penalty of their own, which Novakovich converted, to secure a 4-2 victory.

The hosts took an early grip on the game at Hogwood Park and soon had a two-goal advantage.

Novakovich met a dangerous in-swinging corner at the Saints near post, and fired in from close range to open the scoring for the afternoon.

Eight minutes later the Royals had the ball in the net once more. Mendes found space on the right of Parkes’ area after a swift counter attack and provided a neat finish past the Saints stopper to make it 2-0.

Despite their two-goal advantage, Reading showed no signs of letting up. A superb delivery from the right was picked up and converted again by Novakovich, only for the American striker to be denied his second by the offside flag.

Saints eventually started to find their feet after a shaky start. Jake Vokins shimmied past his man on the half-hour mark to cross for Jonathan Afolabi at the far post, but the striker was unable to steer his header goalwards.

Despite Armani Little and Harley Willard also trying their luck from distance, Saints were unable to pull one back before the break.

armani little during Southampton FC U23 v Reading U23 Premier League 2 match, at Hogwood Park, Reading, 6th January 2017, pic by Naomi Baker/Southampton FC
Armani Little in action

The Royals made two changes at the interval, as Tyler Frost and Danny Loader replaced Danzell Gravenberch and goalscorer Mendes.

Martin Hunter’s men made a brighter start to the second half though, and almost found an immediate way back into the encounter.

Afolabi latched onto a loose ball across the Reading defence and saw his strike at goal saved by Jonathan Bond before dragging the rebound wide of the far post.

Despite the positive start, the hosts soon furthered their lead. A dangerous free-kick from deep was met by captain Dickie at the far post, who then headed into an empty net to make it 3-0.

At this point Saints made their first change of the afternoon, as Ryan Seager replaced Little for his first appearance in 11 months.

The striker took less than ten minutes to have the ball in the net, as he stepped up confidently to dispatch a spot kick and give Saints a way back into the encounter.

No sooner had Seager finished his penalty, Reading had one of their own at the other end. Novakovich was pulled down in the area by Alfie Jones and then brushed himself down to finish from the spot and make it 4-1.

Saints were not prepared to lie down, though. Four minutes later Cook met Thomas O'Connor's cross from the right and headed past Bond to pull a second back.

But it was not to be enough, as the hosts held on to their lead to secure all three points.

Reading

1
Jonathan Bond (GK)
2
Jake Sheppard
3
Ramarni Medford-Smith
replace Dominic Hyam (81′)
4
Danzil Gravenberch
replace Tyler Frost (45′)
5
Rob Dickie (C) goal
6
Zak Jules
7
Andy Rinomhota
8
Andrija Novakovich goal goal
9
Joseph Mendes goal
replace Danny Loader (45′)
10
Josh Barrett yellow card
11
Sandro Weiser
13
Luke Southwood
12
Niall Keown
14
Dominic Hyam
15
Tyler Frost
16
Danny Loader

Southampton

1
Adam Parkes (GK)
2
Yan Valery
3
Jake Vokins
4
Armani Little
5
Ollie Cook goal
6
Alfie Jones (C)
7
Harley Willard
8
Thomas O'Connor
9
Jonathan Afolabi
replace Ryan Seager (56′) goal
10
Callum Slattery
11
Tyreke Johnson
13
Alex Cull
12
Will Wood
14
Ben Rowthorn
15
Siph Mdlalose
16
Ryan Seager
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