Whites suffer narrow defeat.
Premier League 2
Reading 3 (Smith 10, Onen 59, East 64)
Leeds United 2 (Dean 38, Galloway 72)
Leeds: Caprile, Drameh, Huggins, Mullen, Cresswell (Casey 45), Moore, Dean, Allen, McMillan (Galloway 63), Gelhardt, McKinstry. Subs not used: Van den Heuvel.
Booked: Gelhardt, Casey, Galloway.
Venue: Bearwood Park Training Ground
An entertaining clash was won by the hosts, following a contest that saw plenty of attacking football at both ends.
It was Reading who began on the front foot and found themselves ahead in just the 10th minute. A pinpoint through ball cut open the Leeds midfield and defence, allowing striker Sam Smith to run through on goal and slot his effort underneath Elia Caprile, to make it 1-0.
Leeds looked to hit back, with Charlie Cresswell and Kris Moore both having headers on target from Stuart McKinstry corners, but their efforts were saved comfortably.
The home side then came close to making it two, when Ethan Bristow broke forward and struck the bar with a left-footed strike. This was to be the last notable attack for a while by the Royals, as Leeds then looked to assert some dominance.
Niall Huggins was causing constant problems, getting forward from the back with pace and playing well. That pressure allowed Joe Gelhardt to try his luck from range which went just wide, before the defender should have equalised himself but volleyed over the bar.
The leveller did arrive shortly after, as Max Dean scored a delightful back-heel from McKinstry’s clever set-piece, making the score 1-1.
Further incidents towards the end of the half saw Caprile make an excellent stop in the Leeds net, prior to Gelhardt picking up a yellow card shortly before the whistle.
Half time: Reading 1-1 Leeds
The second half began how the first had finished, with Leeds putting pressure on. Olly Casey had been introduced at the break and was swiftly into action, hitting the post with a curling effort from the edge of the box. Just seconds later, Gelhardt would go similarly just as close, but his shot clipped the top of the bar.
The game the changed in favour of Reading with two goals in five minutes. Jayden Onen put the Royals ahead, with an instinctive finish inside a sea of bodies in the box, making the score 2-1. Just moments later, a swift counter attack meant that Ryan East had space to fire in left-footed making it 3-1, despite the best efforts of the Leeds defence to clear it off the line.
Josh Galloway was introduced in Leeds’ second, but final change of the match and got himself onto the scoresheet. He showed awareness to keep his eye on an effort at goal, controlled the ball well and then fired an unstoppable effort into the bottom corner himself, making it 3-2.
Leeds were then clearly in the ascendancy and felt aggrieved to have not been awarded a penalty, with the lively Gelhardt appearing to be brought down in the box. Nothing was given, and when McKinstry had the final effort of the game well saved by the Reading ‘keeper, the final whistle blew shortly after and the points went to Reading.
Full time: Reading 3-2 Leeds United