HOW IT HAPPENED
Flo Balogun hit a hat-trick as our under-18s ran out 4-2 winners over Reading at London Colney.
Pressing from the front we forced Myles Roberts into an early misplaced pass, but Stan Flaherty and Matt Smith failed to convert from the edge of the box.
Mark McGuinness then made a stunning goalline clearance, before Harry Clarke set Balogun through on goal with a perfectly weighted first-time pass. The 17-year-old shifted the ball on to his right foot and made no mistake in finding the back of the net from inside the box.
Just moments before half-time, however, Michael Olise skipped through our defence and levelled with a stunning solo goal.
The visitors’ goal on the stroke of half-time had the potential to take the wind out of our sails, but less than three minutes after the break, Flaherty stepped up for a free-kick and found the top left corner with a curling effort from 20 yards.
Full of confidence on his first full start of the season, Flaherty then played Balogun in on goal with a gentle flick behind the Reading defence, before our forward sent the keeper the wrong way from six yards out.
But Balogun wasn’t done there - and in the 77th minute he latched on to Smith’s through ball for his eighth goal in his last six appearances at under-18 level.
The visitors scored late on through Thierry Nevers, but ultimately it was too little too late.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN
We’ve climbed up to second in the U-18 Premier League - and remain just a single point behind league leaders Tottenham Hotspur.
Next up is Swansea on Saturday, November 3. The game will take place at Landore Training Centre with kick-off at 11am (UK time).
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