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Development Squad

PL2: Reading 3 Rovers 5

Rovers fire five again to make it two wins in a week

18 August 2017

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Joe Nuttall
Joe Nuttall

The Under-23s found their goalscoring touch once more in a pulsating victory over Reading on Friday afternoon.

Fresh from the 5-1 triumph over Wolverhampton Wanderers at the beginning of the week, Damien Johnson's side made it back-to-back wins in a dramatic encounter at Hogwood Park.

Having bagged a hat-trick on Monday, a brace of penalties from Joe Nuttall saw Rovers race into an early two-goal lead, but the Royals soon pulled one back through Ramarni Medford-Smith.

Joe Rankin-Costello then made it 3-1 with a header, however a third penalty in the opening 25 minutes saw Reading's Danny Loader score from the spot.

By half-time it was 4-2 to Rovers as Stefan Mols grabbed his first of the season after Nuttall had been denied.

In contrast to the first, the second half would see less goalmouth action, but Matty Platt ensured Rovers would score five for the second time in a week with a loopping header.

An eighth and final goal went the way of the home side three minutes from time as Platt unfortunately diverted a cross into his own net, but with two emphatic wins from two it has been an impressive start to the season for the Development Squad.

Unchanged from the win over Wolves, Rovers set about Reading from the off, getting their reward in a matter of minutes.

Nuttall, fresh from his hat-trick at Ewood on Monday, wasted little time in impressing once more, scoring a third minute penalty after the striker had been brought down by the Reading keeper.

Incredibly, just two minutes later Rovers were awarded another spot-kick. This time it was Mols who was brought down in the area. Nuttall making no mistake once more from 12-yards.

After that quick-fire double it was the home side's turn to get amongst the goals. A corner saw Sam Smith beat Andy Fisher to the ball and Medford-Smith prodded home from close-range.

However Rovers restored their two-goal advantage at the midway point of the half when a superb cross from Lewis Travis was headed home by Rankin-Costello. His second goal of the season.

The third penalty of the afternoon went the Royals' way on 25 minutes. Loader scoring from the spot after he had been brought down.

Yet there was still time for a sixth goal before the break as Rovers ended the half as they started.

Reading keeper George Legg denied Nuttall a first-half hat-trick with a brilliant point blank save, but Mols was on hand to snap up the rebound.

In contrast to the first half, the second was a much quieter affair. But there was still time for two further goals to take the tally to eight.

For the second time in a week Rovers got on the scoresheet five times. Platt heading home a 72nd minute corner following good work from Nuttall.

Then after Rovers escaped yet more penalty claims six minutes from time, the Royals did pull a goal back just before the end.

Substitute Josh Barrett drove into the area and his ball across the box could only be diverted into his own net by Platt.

The Under-23s are back in action next Friday evening when they travel to take on Southampton.

READING: Legg, Howe, Osho (c), Andresson, Medford-Smith, Holmes (sub Barrett 53), Frost, East, Smith, Holsgrove, Loader.

Subs not used: Driscoll, House, Rollinson, Shokunbi.

Goals: Medford-Smith 10, Loader 26 (pen), Platt (OG) 87.

Booked: Loader, Smith.

ROVERS: Fisher, C Doyle, J Doyle, Tomlinson (sub Thomson 83), Platt, Grayson, Travis, Hardcastle, Nuttall (sub Mansell 90+3), Mols, Rankin-Costello (sub Butterworth 78).

Subs not used: Magloire, Albinson.

Goals: Nuttall 3 (pen), 6 (pen), Rankin-Costello 23, Mols 45, Platt 72.

Booked: Nuttall, Tomlinson, C. Doyle, Hardcastle, J. Doyle.

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