Reading v West Ham United U23
West Ham United U23s ran out 2-1 winners against Reading U23s in a behind-closed doors friendly on Tuesday afternoon.
Nathan Holland and Anthony Scully were the scorers for the Hammers at a rain-soaked Reading Training Ground.
A good all-round performance from the U23s was only blighted by George Heaven limping off in the closing stages after a confident showing in defence.
The two sides will meet twice in the 19/20 Premier League 2 Division 2 which kicks off next week.
West Ham’s first attack of note came from Reece Hannam early in the first half, he spread the ball to Nathan Holland who beat his man and cut the ball back across the box, but he was unable to find a teammate.
The U23s controlled the ball-well in midfield, better than the opposition Reading, who struggled to clear their lines for spells during the first period.
West Ham continued to put pressure on the Reading backline and opened the scoring in the 23rd minute. Conor Coventry breezed past two defenders before firing a low cross into the back post to give Holland a simple finish from two yards.
Reading were back on terms just ten minutes later. The Royals full-back was allowed time to cross and picked out an advancing forward who nodded past Heygi in the West Ham goal from close-range.
West Ham were unlucky to not be in-front before half time. The ball dropped to Joe Powell in midfield, his low strike from distance was palmed onto the bar by the outstretched Reading keeper.
Powell couldn’t believe his luck when two minutes later he fired onto the bar again from just outside the area. The midfielder looked a constant threat during the first period, committing defenders and moving the ball well.
Into the second half and it was Reading who almost took the lead but for an outstanding piece of defending from Keenan Forson, his perfectly timed sliding-tackle prevented the home side from scoring during their best spell of the game.
The centre-back pairing of Heaven and Alese dealt well with the Reading pressure as West Ham didn’t keep possession as well as they had done before the break.
The introduction of Dju and Diallo for Kemp and Holland helped put Hammers back on the front-foot. Sloppy defending from Reading failing to clear nearly allowed Anthony Scully to score but he scuffed his effort back to the keeper.
Just a minute later however West Ham were back in front through Scully, the midfielder received the ball in the box, muscled past a defender and shot low to the keepers left to restore the lead.
Dmitri Halajko would have been pleased with how his side played in this pre-season friendly, however, one disappointing note for the U23s was defender George Heaven limping off in the closing stages.
West Ham U23s continue their pre-season with a trip to RSC Anderlecht on Friday before opening up their Premier League 2 campaign against Fulham on August 9.
West Ham United XI: Heygi (Jinadu 76), Forson (Rosa 65), Heaven (Adarkwa 81), Alese, Hannam, Kemp (Diallo 65), Lewis, Coventry, Powell (Dju 58), Holland (Scully 58), Longelo (Afolayan 45)
Goals: Holland 23’ Scully 76’