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Reading U23s Continue Their March To Wembley

Get the face paint out and book your train tickets now because Reading's unstoppable** march through the EFL Trophy continued last night as they beat Pompey.

Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Reading's U23's were back in action last night as they headed down to the South Coast to take on League Two Portsmouth at Fratton Park. It was our second game in the Johnstone's Paint, Auto-Windscreens, Autoglass, EFL Trophy and Martin Kuhl's side followed up their opening round win over Bristol Rovers by picking up a penalty shoot-out 'win' in front of 1,355 fans, the lowest post-war crowd to watch a professional game at Fratton Park.

The game featured a handful of senior players, with  Anssi Jaakkola, Tyler Blackett, Tennai Watson, Liam Kelly, Joseph Mendes and Dom Samuel among the more recognisable faces in the side.

Andrija Novakovich has found first team opportunities hard to come by after a couple of cameos under Steve Clarke, but he found the net early on after some good work from Mendes down the left-hand side.  Mendes then slammed home a second after half-time from the penalty spot after a hand-ball.

But Pompey battled back, scoring twice through Curtis Main to see the game end 2-2 and give both sides a point...

BUT WAIT!

The game wasn't over there folks. No, in this competition you get the chance to earn a bonus point after a draw if you can win a penalty shoot-out. Step forward the best Finnish player to ever play for Reading, Anssi Jaakkola, who saved four of seven penalties he faced to help give us an extra point.

The result means we top the group on five points, one clear of Yeovil and three clear of Bristol Rovers in third place. That means that anything but defeat at home to Yeovil will send us into the knockout stages, while we'd also qualify if Bristol Rovers fail to beat Portsmouth.

Reading: Jaakkola, Watson, Blackett, Gravenberch, McIntyre (Griffin 18), Kelly, Rinomhota, Frost, Novakovich (Richards 78), Samuel, Mendes.  Unused subs: Moore, Vancooten, East, Bennett, Cardwell.