With many people understandably concentrating on the record signing of Sone Aluko last night, the Reading Under 21s’ opening game in this season’s Checkatrade Trophy went a little under the radar.
Martin Kuhl’s side travelled to the Weston Homes Community Stadium where they drew 2-2 to League Two side Colchester United before losing a penalty shoot-out meaning The U’s picked up an extra point in Group B in the competition’s Southern Section.
Whilst the tournament’s guidelines state that academy sides can include a maximum of five overage players in their Starting XI, the Royals put out a very young team with goalkeeper George Legg actually the only player not in his teens. Amongst those involved were Axel Andresson, Josh Barrett and Sam Smith, all of whom have made first team appearances so far this season.
The hosts opened the scoring after just five minutes through Sammie Szmodics, but goals from Barrett and then Ben House had Reading up 2-1 at half-time. It looked as though the youngsters would be able to hold on to the three points, but Eoin McKeown netted for Colchester in the 85th minute meaning a penalty shoot-out would be required according to competition rules.
Trialling the new ABBA system, Andresson, Smith, Jordan Holsgrove, Tom Holmes and Barrett all scored from 12 yards but Joel Rollinson saw his kick saved, meaning Colchester picked up two points and Reading just the one. In the other game in the group, Gillingham beat Southend United 2-1. The Royals travel to the Shrimps next on October 3rd. Here’s how the team lined up: