Reading City’s Under 18s booked their place in Round 2 of the FA Youth Cup for the first time in club history with a fully merited 1-0 victory against Gosport Borough in front of a large crowd at The Rivermoor on Wednesday night.
The young Cityzens were the better side on the night and thoroughly deserved a fifth straight win in the competition having displayed composure and no little quality against the brightest talent that step 3 Borough had to offer, without their two key goalscorers in Connor Richardson and Sam Tanner.
On a night of precious few clear chances, it was the hosts who settled the quicker as Ollie Garcia turned a cross from the impressive Tom Bailey wide of the near post. Jenyo Balogun – who would ultimately have the decisive say in this cup tie – was a threat throughout but could only find the side netting when released by an intelligent through pass and rounding the ‘keeper, albeit an offside flag had been raised in any case.
Balogun wasted a good opportunity from a legal position later in the half but underworked Cityzens ‘stopper Archie Walker had to pull off the most impressive save of the opening 45 minutes, plunging low to his right to deny the threatening Gosport forward from close range to ensure the sides went in goalless.
Balogun had the best chance in the opening stages of the second half for City when denied by the visiting ‘keeper and Borough were dangerous on the break, seeing a good opportunity pass the wrong side of the post. The deadlock was broken just after the hour – Balogun it inevitably was who was felled in the box, the City number 7 dusting himself down to score from the spot.
Thereafter Walker had to pull off two remarkable saves to maintain the clean sheet to ensure City’s progress – the first with his face from close range, the second with a more conventional but no less impressive stop at the very death. The 1-0 outcome was no more than Walker and his teammates deserved and the whistle which signalled the end of 5 minutes of injury time prompted a youthful and good-natured pitch invasion.
Reading City’s 2021/22 FA Youth Cup run so far
- First Round Proper: Reading City 1 – 0 Gosport Borough
- Three Qualifying Round: Gloucester City FC 1 – 5 Reading City FC
- Second Qualifying Round: Banbury United FC 0 – 5 Reading City FC
- First Qualifying Round: Reading City FC 2 – 0 Abingdon United FC
- Preliminary Round: Risborough Rangers FC 0 – 5 Reading City FC