Reading love drama in the League Cup this season, don’t they? After edging past Wycombe Wanderers on penalties in the last round, the Royals came out on top in a six-goal thriller at Home Park on Tuesday evening. Josh Barrett and Yakou both scored twice, while Ryan Taylor and Jose Baxter netting one goal a piece for the home side.
How Reading set up
Jose Gomes made the full 11 changes to the side that won away at Huddersfield Town 2-0, giving the first team a well-earned break. They were replaced by a very young group, with an average age of just over 22 years and 4 months, but captained by none other than Jordan Obita.
The left back made his long-awaited return to first-team football, playing for Reading’s senior side after more than 700 days on the sidelines - although he’d appeared for the under-23s in recent weeks to build up his fitness. He was joined in defence by debutant Akin Odimayo; the 19 year-old centre back became the 53rd player to graduate from the Royals’ academy.
Elsewhere, Sam Walker started in goal, with a back four of Teddy Howe, Gabriel Osho, Odimayo and Obita. Charlie Adam and Andy Rinomhota were in midfield, with Josh Barrett, Michael Olise, Danny Loader and Yakou Meite further up.
Reading went 1-0 down after 22 minutes, but the goal shouldn’t have stood. Before Ryan Taylor finished, the ball clearly went out of play just by the post. Nonetheless, the goal counted.
Top notch officiating as always, never change EFL pic.twitter.com/7VrTHi67Cl— Dan (@DanRBlackham) August 27, 2019
We were back on terms not long later. With 35 minutes on the clock, Charlie Adam intercepted a pass on the left wing, before sliding it upfield for Josh Barrett. The Irishman drove forwards, cut inside into the penalty area, and fired a low, powerful shot past Michael Cooper in the Pilgrims’ goal.
Argyle were the next to score, getting back in front after the break through former Everton man Jose Baxter who scored from range past Walker. However, Barrett again squared things up, making it 2-2 on 72 minutes.
From there on in, it was The Yakou Meite Show. The Ivorian won - and converted - a penalty 87 minutes to put Reading in front for the first time in the match, before doubling our lead a few minutes later by putting the final touch on a counter attack.
Yakou Meite winning and scoring a penalty - weeks after being racially abused for missing one - is such a fine example of football’s love affair with narrative.— Greg Double (@Dubstep1988) August 27, 2019
...Two goals from an academy baller and another one for Yaks is just showing off. #readingfc https://t.co/kYOFZSGMRH
All in all, a cracking win and great confidence booster for Reading’s fringe players. The game was a big opportunity for players short on game time to stake their claim for bigger involvement in the league, and Josh Barrett and Yakou Meite certainly did that with their braces.