U15 N.U.T Trophy: Reading 3-3 Worksop
Tuesday 13 March 2007By ESFA Office
If the semi-final between Nottingham and Poole and East Dorset was pulsating, then the second semi-final at Palmers Park between Reading and Worksop and Retford was even more so. Three times, the visitors, making their first ever appearance in the semi-final, took the lead and three times, Reading came back to level the scores so the teams must meet again at Worksop Town's ground next Saturday (17 March) at 1 pm.
There was a dramatic start when Worksop and Retford took the lead in the first minute as Conor Higginson played a one-two with Lewis Croucher before hitting a left foot shot into the roof of the net. Nine minutes later Rhys Tyler, one of Reading's outstanding players on the day, put the home side level with an equally spectacular goal shooting into the roof of Anthony Crump's net from 25 yards.
The visitors then had their most effective spell of the game but ironically could not add to their lead. Craig Gladwin's free-kick was well blocked by the Reading wall and then Croucher missed a good chance from Daniel Fox's cross before Higginson and Lewis Bingham both shot wide from reasonable opportunities.
After the half-time break, the two sides cancelled each other out for much of the time although Crump made an important save, making a good block as Reading broke out of defence quickly. Midway through the half, Worksop and Retford made two substitutions which altered the course of the game as Dominic Hammond and Tom Mullen freshened their attack with the latter creating a good chance for Higginson who put his header just wide of Chris Rackley but also wide of the post.
With 2 minutes remaining, Mullen seemed to have won the game for the visitors when from a long throw by Fox, Mullen got in front of a defender to direct a header into the roof of the net. Worksop and Retford celebrated wildly but they were not to know that the referee was to allow 7 minutes added time. In the sixth minute, a long pass was humped forward and with Crump some way out of goal, the ball brushed his hands allowing Jordace Holder to poke in the second equaliser which took the game to extra time.
After some even exchanges, Worksop and Retford took the lead for the third time when Rackley could not hold a Gladwin free-kick and Mullen, in retrospect an inspired substitution, hooked the ball into the net to make it 3-2.
It was still not enough, however, as showing indomitable spirit, Reading drew level yet again when a good pass found Tom Browne in the penalty area and as the ball dropped, he hit a fine first half volley past Crump. The excitement was not over as in the last minute of extra time the ball fell at the feet of Reading's Anton Rodgers, another of their best players on the afternoon but his first time shot from 10 yards went over the bar. A draw was a fair reflection of an excellent game between two talented sides.
- 13th :: U15 N.U.T Trophy: Reading 3-3 Worksop