U23s: Reds wrap up the year with Royals rout
Manchester United Under-23s brought down the curtain on a terrific first half of our Premier League 2 Division Two season by beating Reading 4-1 at Madejski Stadium on Monday evening.
The Reds went into this fixture on the back of a six-game winning streak and were hoping to catapult into another victory in a bid to keep pace with West Ham United, the league leaders. In fact, the Hammers are United’s next opponents at this level - with just a single point separating them, the teams will meet on Monday 6 January 2020 at the home ground of Dagenham & Redbridge.
United weathered that early storm and it wasn’t long before the action at the other end was thick and fast. Both Chong and Traore started to slip into gear and with an extra modicum of accuracy with their shooting, they could have both got onto the scoresheet.
Any concerns that the United bench may have harboured regarding Traore’s fitness were soon dispelled when, having beaten two Reading players, he set off on a sprint down the left wing which must have stretched to more than fifty yards.
It would be fair to say that it was just about a deserved lead for the Reds but the home side weren’t about to dwell on their misfortune and three minutes into added time, their striker Liddle nodded home the leveller from close range.
The excitement of the closing first-half minutes was sustained after the restart with both teams, Chong for United and Reading’s Ryan East, striking the woodwork.
The hosts could barely believe what had happened because they had looked odds-on to be the next team to score again. And Reading’s troubles were not over for barely three minutes later, the Reds increased the advantage when Chong snapped up a short clearance from Andresson before curling his shot past the hapless custodian.
The icing on the Christmas cake was provided when Dillon Hoogwerf, the two-goal hero of Friday's FA Youth Cup win over Lincoln City, swept in the fourth goal after a stirring run through the centre of the pitch by his Under-18 team-mate and fellow substitute Hannibal Mejbri.
United: Kovar; Laird, Taylor (Fish 81), Bernard, Mengi; Galbraith, Helm (Mejbri 75), Puigmal; Chong, Ramazani (Hoogewerf 46), Traore.
Substitutes not used: Carney, McCann.
Goals: United - Puigmal 40, Traore 64, Chong 67, Hoogewerf 90 | Reading - Liddle 45+3.
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