Cambridge United’s U18s fell to a 1-3 defeat as category one Academy Reading ended their FA Youth Cup campaign for 2018/19 in the third round at the Abbey Stadium.
Tom Dickens had levelled the scores late in the first half for United who looked highly competitive throughout the first 45 minutes, but two unanswered goals after the break resulted in the U’s exit from the competition.
United were close to the perfect start inside three minutes when Charlie Johnson’s powerful header forced the Royals keeper into a sharp save before Joe Neal fired over the rebound.
Moments later the U’s were on the attack again but it was Worman who was denied by Jokull Andresson on this occasion, throwing his body in front of what looked to be certain opening goal for United.
Louis Chadwick, in goal for the U’s, was called into action on 13 minutes for the first time and got down quickly to stop the squirmed shot through by Thierry Nevers. The U’s keeper could do nothing about the winger’s sweetly struck attempt minutes later though, as Nevers curled right footed from 18 yards out into the top corner.
Johnson continued to cause the Royals problems from offensive United set pieces and again tested keeper Andresson with a header on target midway through the half.
It took until the fifth minute of first half stoppage time for the U’s to eventually find the breakthrough and indeed it came from a set piece. Centre back Tom Dickens timed his run at the back post to perfection, and bulleted a header back across goal from Lewis Simper’s free kick to bury an equaliser into the far bottom corner and send the sides down the tunnel level.
The U’s soaked up a sustained spell of pressure from the visitors after half time, and defended their 18 yard box well when a series of crosses made their way into the box.
However, the Royals regained their advantage on 63 minutes as Jack Nolan pressed forward in possession before hammering a shot past Chadwick from 18 yards. The U’s keeper kept United in the game with a fine stop at close range against Olise, before Royals replacement Dejan Tetek struck the foot of the post with United riding their luck.
The closest Jimmy Unwin’s side came to a second revival saw Johnson test Andresson for a third time in the game on the end of a free kick, but once more the Reading keeper produced as he tipped over the defender’s header.
And the game was wrapped up five minutes from time as Olise rattled in a free kick in a central position 20 yards from goal, which gave Chadwick no chance.
Cambridge United:Chadwick, Battersby, Jeche, Dickens, Simper, Johnson, Bennett, Miller (Steel, 75 mins), Neal, Worman, D’Arcy (Dearman, 87 mins)
Reading: Andresson, Elva-Fountaine, Lawless (Tetek, 30 min), Pendlebury, Hewitt, Simmo (Nditi, 53 mins), Nolan, Moore, Olise, Nevers
Bookings: Pendlebury, Elva-Fountaine, Olise