Royals enjoy shootout success in EFL Trophy – Reading Today Online

RFc v CA

READING FC kept their Wembley hopes alive with a penalty shootout success over Charlton Athletic in the EFL Trophy knockout stages.

After falling behind to Alfie May’s tap in late in the first-half, Charlie Savage hit a 25-yard stunner to take the game to penalties.

The Royals held their nerve to book their place in the next round as they scored all four of their penalties to win 4-2.

On the back of losing in the FA Cup second-round to non-league Eastleigh, who netted a stoppage time winner to produce a cup shock, the Royals looked to keep their hopes alive in the EFL Trophy.

Ruben Selles’ side racked up an astonishing 19 goals in three games in wins over Exeter City, Swindon Town and Arsenal U21s in a flawless group campaign to progress to play Charlton in the round of 32.

Sam Smith, Caylan Vickers and Lewis Wing all combined in the final third with some nice approach play before Wing’s low cross was hacked away with Smith waiting in the middle.

Reading were almost made to pay when Sam Hutchison gave away the ball sloppily and Alfie May sprinted down on goal, only to be caught by Nelson Abbey who made a recovery run before blocking behind for a corner.

After some neat touches just outside the box to try and work an opening from Vickers, Wing tried a much less patient approach with a fizzing drive from 30 yards that had to be dealt with by Ashley Maynard-Brewer to tip behind for a corner.

Reading then missed a glaring opportunity to go in front when the ball fell at the feet of Vickers with the goal gaping after Wing’s shot had been saved, but he struck wide.

Joel Pereira made a routine stop at his near post from Henry Rylah and the Royals then got back on the front foot with Vickers and Paul Mukairu before Smith’s shot from a narrow angle was stopped by the keeper.

A speculative effort on the half volley from Scott Fraser flew over the top, but the Addicks grabbed the lead before the break when Alfie May was on hand to tap in at the back post.

Selles made a change at the break which saw Matty Carson replace Amadou Mbengue. Carson was cautioned less than a minute after the restart.

Reading blushes were spared after a mix up at the back between Pereira, Abbey and Tyler Bindon as the ball eventually squirmed away from MAy’s reach.

With 66 minutes gone, Selles made a triple sub which saw Harvey Knibbs, Femi Azeez and Charlie Savage replace Wing, Mukairu and Hutchinson.

Knibbs went to ground in the box and appealed for a penalty, but saw his shouts fall on deaf ears as the ref waved play on.

Azeez used his pace to break into the box and looked to pull the ball back into the path of a teammate, but could only find a red shirt as Charlton cleared the danger.

A fifth and final change for Reading saw Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan replace Smith.

Carson was next to try and find a leveller with a low effort that drifted just wide of the far post.

Some inventive skill from May allowed him space in the box to strike on the volley which was palmed away by Periera.

Reading’s attacking efforts were rewarded in the 82nd minute when Savage took aim on his left and caught the keeper out from 25 yards as his effort flew into the net.

The hosts continued to create chances and came close when Azeez whipped in a cross for Ehibhatiomhan which flew just an inch over his head, with the forward ready to nod in.

Carsonn then sent in a delicious cross that flew across the face of goal and just evaded Ehibhatiomhan at the back stick.

After five minutes of added time, a winner couldn’t be found and the tie went straight to a penalty shootout.

The Royals had a perfect record from the spot with successful strikes from Knibbs, Carson, Azeez and Vickers.

Pereira saved from May before their final taker hit the top of the bar which saw Reading progress.

Reading: Pereira, Mola, Abbey, Bindon, Mbengue, Hutchinson, Wing, Elliott, Vickers, Mukairu, Smith

Subs: Button, Dean, Knibbs, Savage, Azeez, Ehibhatiomhan, Carson

 

Charlton: Maynard-Brewer, T Watson, Hector, Jones, Edun, Dobson, Fraser, L Watson, Rylah, May, T Campbell

Subs: Walker, Asiimwe, Thomas, Anderson, Kanu, Mbick, Casey

Goals: May 42’, Savage 82’

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