Reading 4-3 Under-18s
Everton Under-18s found themselves on the wrong end of a seven-goal thriller as they suffered a 4-3 defeat at Reading.
Despite taking the lead twice in Berkshire, Kevin Sheedy’s side were punished for a series of individual errors by a physical Royals side.
A scrappy first half yielded little real football as both sides battled for any kind of advantage, with the Blues careless in allowing a notoriously well-organised Reading team a number of set-pieces in and around the area.
Having stood up to that aerial bombardment, Everton – ironically perhaps – went ahead five minutes before half-time from a free-kick of their own, with Harry Charsley poking home the opening goal
Having stressed the importance of keeping discipline and stopping the flow of needless free-kicks and corners, Sheedy will have been frustrated with his side’s early capitulation in the second period.
Not 30 seconds had elapsed before a rash challenge in the box handed a penalty to Reading, which they duly converted to level up the scores.
The hosts then went ahead when a ball into the box fell kindly to a Royals player and he toe-poked beyond keeper Russell Griffiths.
The Blues rallied and on came George Green to help kick-start a revival. And his impact was immediate as he crossed for George Waring to guide home the equaliser.
The game became an even contest, with both sides desperate to force the next goal. It was the young Toffees who got it – a neat passage of play saw the ball fall kindly for Green and his half-volley fizzed into the bottom corner.
However, the visitors could not hold on to their advantage. First, pandemonium in the Blues’ box resulted in Reading making 3-3 then, with a draw looking likely, another needless challenge in the box handed the Royals a second penalty, which again was tucked away to make it 4-3.
The result left a frustrated Sheedy knowing exactly where his side need work.
“We stressed to the players at half time when we went in at 1-0 that we had to stop giving away free-kicks and corners,” he said. “We knew they were a physical side who would look to take advantage of those so it was very disappointing to let our lead go in the circumstances that we did.
“We showed out inexperience at times and it was a disappointing result.
“Going forward we look good but that’s now nine goals conceded in our last three league games. We need to improve defensively and especially the individual mistakes we are making.”