Premier League Cup Report | Reading 2-3 Albion

Reyes Cleary

Albion maintained their unbeaten start in the Premier League Cup with an impressive away win over Reading at the Electrical Services Stadium on Monday night.

Reyes Cleary continued his return from a long-term injury with a typical performance, scoring either side of Eseosa Sule’s finish to help Richard Beale’s men regain the lead three times on the night, sealing all three points in the process and taking the Baggies top of Group B.

Similarly to the two teams’ league clash seven days ago, the boys from the Black Country created the more threatening opportunities during the opening exchanges.

Forward Sule nearly rifled an effort in at the near post, Deago Nelson struck the crossbar after a burst into the box, and Cleary saw a strike palmed away by Royals goalkeeper Harvey Collins.

The clinical frontman attempted an audacious lob with the stopper off his line minutes later, and although his chip went wide, there was nothing Collins could do the next time Albion’s leading scorer last term took aim.

After receiving the ball in the middle of the park, Reyes instinctly looked up before lashing an unbelievable shot off the underside of the bar and in.

1-0 up and in some fashion, Beale’s men nearly threw away their advantage when Adrian Akande wormed his way through the visiting backline and unleashed an attempt at goal.

Luckily for keeper Brad Foster, the ball whistled low and wide of the bottom corner - preserving the academy boys’ lead at the break.

Fenton Heard almost extended the away team’s lead after the interval but instead, Albion’s youngsters were made to pay as Royals striker and substitute Shay Spencer capitalised on their attempts to play out from the back and make it 1-1.

Still, the academy hopefuls fought back - Sule tapping in after Heard had robbed the Reading keeper inside the box to put the Baggies back in the driving seat.

They were forced to come back again, though, when home skipper Michael Stickland guided a fine header into the far corner from a set play to level matters at 2-2.

Despite several setbacks, Albion’s powers of recovery couldn’t be stopped on the night and it was proved again when Glaswegian Sule created the chance for a winner with 12 minutes left on the clock.

The former Celtic man beat Stickland to the ball inside the box, resulting in a spot-kick which Cleary dully converted to restore the U21s’ lead at 3-2 and, thankfully, it would be the last goal of the game - securing Beale’s boys a memorable win on the road.

Albion: Foster (GK); Nelson, Hall, Phillips, Shaw (Harper-Bailey 67); Mandey (Mfuamba 76), Whitwell, Heard; Higgins (Richards 67), Sule, Cleary (Onyemachi 80).

Substitutes: Brady (GK).

  • PL Cup