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Reading U21s 1-3 Chelsea U21s: Match Report

Reading's youngsters fell to a 3-1 home defeat to Chelsea tonight - here's Bucks' report from the game.

Simeon Pickup

First half

It was Chelsea who made the early breakthough with less than two minutes on the clock. After an Aaron Kuhl mistake in the midfield, a long ball through the middle was misjudged by the onrushing Lewis Ward. Chelsea forward Tammy Abraham pounced on the opportunity to slot home into an open net.

However, Reading struck back after only a few minutes. Aaron Kuhl was hauled down midway into the Chelsea half, winning a free kick. The young midfielder - today linked with a move to Arsenal - floated a ball into the area, which worked its way towards Tariqe Fosu, who showed clever footwork to work space before lashing home off the woodwork from a tight angle.

From then on, the home side looked like they were on top of proceedings, bossing possession and getting forward in numbers. Efforts from Fosu and Kelly went well wide, with Cardwell and Abraham hitting the post at either end in quick succession. With just under a quarter of an hour gone, Reading were given a warning when Abraham, through on goal, forced a smart save out of Lewis Ward.

It was a lesson they should have paid more attention to. A little over five minutes later, the two Reading centre backs were sucked into the ball on the edge of the box, with Maddox then found in space inside the box. The Chelsea youngster made no mistake, slotting home from close range. Until the end of the opening 45, Chelsea grew into the contest more and more, looking more assured in possession. Each of the visitors' full backs had decent efforts on goal, but couldn't add to the lead.

Second half

The game restarted in much the same way as it had gone in the preceding half - Reading failing to cause Chelsea many problems. Fridjonsson went closest after 51 minutes, seeing his glanced header from a Liam Kelly corner kept out at the near post. That said, the home side couldn't build up enough momentum to look like drawing level.

On 62 minutes, the game was effectively wrapped up. After Lewis Ward had kept out a shot, the ball came to Mitchell in the penalty area, who tucked his shot away into an almost open goal. In truth, at that stage Chelsea had the hosts where they wanted them, and were content to get men behind the ball.

However, the Royals did give it a really good go in the closing quarter of an hour. After the ball was fed into Liam Kelly by Fridjonsson, the Irishman pulled his shot wide. And, with eight minutes to go, what looked like a solid handball shout against Chelsea was waved away by the ref - the home fans audibly incensed by the decision. Brought on towards the end of the game, Noor Husin was creative in the centre of midfield, setting up Fridjonsson for a shot that was parried over the bar, also seeing his own shot blocked on the edge of the area.

Closing thoughts

3-1 to Chelsea it remained, and that's how the scoreboard read at full time. Reading were industrious throughout the match, but were undone by an effective Chelsea side. In truth, neither side created too many opportunities, but the more clinical team won. For the visitors, Tammy Abraham was a menace throughout, showing strength and pace in a lone striking role. As for the home side, Tariqe Fosu stuck out for me as the most creative outlet - scoring the goal of the night by spinning on the ball and lashing home a ferocious strike with his weaker foot. At the back, Zak Jules showed strength and composure, and was perhaps unlucky to concede three goals.

Reading: Ward; Watson, Shaughnessy, Jules, Owusu; Novakovich, Kuhl, Fridjonsson, Fosu; Kelly; Cardwell.