Swansea City Under-18s Reading Premier League South
14th November 2015
Second place Reading came from behind to take victory away from Swansea City Under-18s in a close-fought match at their training ground on Saturday.
A fighting display from the scholars in the first-half saw striker Liam Cullen give the Swans a deserved lead on the half-hour mark - the 16-year-old cutting into the box from the right flank to fire into the bottom corner.
Cullen could have doubled the lead five minutes later when the pacey frontman beat the Royals' defence to race through on goal only to see his shot hit the crossbar.
Reading battled to keep the Swans under control during the first-half but had chances their end - Alex Lang's reflex save keeping out Tyler Frost's header from four yards before Josh Barrett fired into the side netting.
The Royals' equalised minutes before the break when forward Sam Smith headed home a free-kick.
The home side capitalised to take the lead ten minutes into the restart, Smith latching onto a through ball to fire home his second.
The U18s immediately looked to get back on level terms, Keiran Evans, Liam Cullen and Jack Watts all carving out chances.
But it was substitute frontman Brandon Griffiths who found the net with a header to the far post on 65 minutes, seconds after being introduced to the game.
Despite good chances for both sides it was Reading who would take all three points when Smith completed his hat-trick from close range tapping home a cross fifteen minutes from time.
The Swans desperately searched for a third goal but could not find the back of the net.
In what was one of the Under-18s best performances of the season coach Chris Llewellyn commended the team but was left feeling the side deserved more.
"It is disappointing to come away with nothing today," he said.
"It was another good performance away from home, we just missed a little bit of luck.
"The players are gutted because they know on another day they could have taken three points.
"We looked a threat in front of goal throughout the game, especially with Liam Cullen in attack.
"We controlled large spells of the game and deserved to take the lead in the first-half.
"From there we have continued to attack, Liam (Cullen) should have had a second and had his effort not hit the crossbar it would have been a different game.
"We can take heart from today in that the performance and result clearly shows we are progressing as a team.
"A few months ago we lost against this side 5-1, today Reading know they have been in a game which we could have taken something from.
"We continue to look competitive against established category one sides.
"We will focus on our performances and playing style, as we have said all season this is a learning curve, if we continue to work hard the results will come."
SWANS U18s: Alex Lang, Mael Davies, Aaron Lewis, Jack Evans, Brandon Cooper, Conor Quigley (Capt), Liam Edwards, Tom Dyson, Liam Cullen (Brandon Griffiths, 65), Jack Watts (Jordan Jones, 80), Keiran Evans (Causso Darame, 75)
SUBS NOT USED: Nathan Shephard (GK), Sean Hanbury