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Match Reports

Report: Town's first meeting with Reading ends in a dramatic win

24 October 2023

Match Reports

Report: Town's first meeting with Reading ends in a dramatic win

24 October 2023

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Fleetwood Town’s first-ever meeting with Reading ended in a 2-1 win at the Select Car Leasing Stadium on Tuesday evening.

A strike you can only dream off kicked off the clash by defender Bosun Lawal opened the scoring, with Dom Ballard netting from two yards to cancel that in the second half, but the action wasn’t done there as an added time winner was found by Town skipper Josh Vela.

It was the start of dreams for Lee Johnson’s side as they found themselves a goal up less than two minutes into the game when Lawal decided to try his luck from range and the strike rifled into the bottom corner, marking his first professional goal in style.

It was almost two with the next chance of the game, which came in the 20th minute when Josh Earl cut back onto his weaker foot but didn’t show that in the quality of the cross to Promise Omochere, whose diving header unluckily struck the outside of the post.

Not long after, the tension could have been cut with a knife as David Button was forced into a brilliant save to stop a deflected corner beating him at his far post. The clearance, however, only made its way to Earl on the edge whose shot was hit straight at the Royals’ stopper.

Further efforts from Jack Marriott – which stung the palms of the goalkeeper – and Danny Mayor were taken before the break with the Cods looking to extend their lead away from home, but they had had to stick with the one-goal lead come the referee’s whistle.

Jay Lynch’s only bits of action during the first half included an easy save after a shot from range, before having to stop a powerful effort from substitute Femi Azeez from inside the area in added time.

Town continued to look good after the break with Earl, Lawal, and Quitirna having chancers, but the hosts were left wondering how they weren’t level in the 50th minute as a cross was put on a plate for Ballard five yards out, but he stepped on the ball instead of striking it.

The equaliser did come before the hour mark though and it was Ballard who made up for his earlier error as Smith dodged a challenge on the right, his cross was deflected into the path of Reading’s number nine two yards out, who poked the ball past Lynch to make it 1-1.

Some heroics were needed at the back ten minutes later, and Lawal felt the full force of a close-range strike as he blocked the effort with his face, the rebound was another issue as well as it fell to Charlie Savage, who struck the inside of the post from range.

After a barrage of changes from Johnson, the Cods went on the attack once again with Shaun Rooney’s looped effort going just over, Jayden Stockley’s shot flying wide of the mark, and Scott Robertson’s strike having to be blocked from the edge – all three players from the bench.

It looked destined to be a draw, with chances falling for both sides before the final whistle, but Vela came up trumps in added time as he smashed home an effort from inside the area – assisted by Kabongo Tshimanga and Stockley – to earn Town all three points!

Royals XI: Button (GK), Dean, Knibbs, Savage (Craig 86’), Ballard (Ehibatiomhan 71’), Smith, Guinness-Walker (Carson 86’), Bindon, Camara (Azeez 29’), Wing, Abbey (C).

Unused subs: Pereira (GK), Elliott, Rushesha.

Town XI: Lynch (GK), Wiredu, Lawal (Tshimanga 75’), Vela (C), Mayor (Rooney 60’), Marriott (Robertson 75’), Quitirna (Broom 60’), Heneghan, Omochere (Stockley 68’), Teale, Earl.

Unused subs: McMullan (GK), Patterson.

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