Report | Swansea City U23s 1 Reading U23s 1
Swansea City Under-23s’ Premier League Cup hopes hang by a thread following a 1-1 draw with Reading in their penultimate group game at Landore.
The young Swans appeared on course for a much-needed victory in the Group A encounter after Cameron Evans headed them into a 16th-minute lead.
But Reading levelled nine minutes from time when Oli Pendlebury fired home an equaliser.
That leaves the Swans rooted to the foot of the Group A table with four points from five matches; two points behind second-placed Charlton Athletic, who face Colchester United on Monday.
A win for either side in that game will see Jon Grey’s side eliminated from the competition.
Grey made two changes to the side that was beaten by Newcastle United in Premier League 2 Division Two last Monday.
Tivonge Rushesha returned to the starting line-up, while there was a first start at this level for Ben Erickson at centre-half.
Meanwhile, Jordon Garrick continued to step up his recovery from a hamstring injury; getting another 68 minutes under his belt before being replaced by 15-year-old debutant Josh Cotterill.
Needing to win to boost their hopes of progressing to the knockout stages, the Swans took the lead in the 16th minute.
A neatly-worked corner was flicked on at the near post and Evans arrived late to head home his second goal for the under-23s.
The Swans introduced 16-year-old Josh Edwards at half-time for a second appearance at this level, while Cotterill also entered the action later on.
However, despite a positive performance, the hosts were unable to hold onto their advantage and were pegged back nine minutes from time.
Lewis Webb managed to get a strong punch on a dangerous cross but inadvertently sent his clearance straight to Pendlebury, who drilled home the equaliser to move Reading three points clear at the top of Group A.
The Swans can still progress as group runners-up, but must beat Colchester on February 24 while hoping that other results go their way.
Swans U23s: Lewis Webb; Trialist (Josh Edwards, ht), Cameron Evans, Ben Erickson, Matthew Blake; Oli Cooper, Daniel Williams, Tivonge Rushesha; Jordon Garrick (Joel Cotterill, 68), Arnor Gudjohnsen, Mason Jones-Thomas.
Subs not used: Jake Thomas, Will Rickard.
Reading U23s: Jokull Andresson, Andy Yiadom, Jeriel Dorsett, Ryan East, Roberto Nditi, Akinwale Odimayo, Conor Lawless, Oli Pendlebury, Danny Loader, Claudio Osario, Joseph Ajose.
Subs: James Holden, Marcel Elva-Fountaine, Werick Caetano, Angus McGiff.