Our under-18s returned to winning ways on Saturday in a dramatic 4-3 victory over Reading.
Omari Hutchinson delivered an outstanding individual performance, scoring twice, while four schoolboys made their debuts.
Reuell Walters and Josh Robinson started in defence with Bradley Ibrahim in midfield. Amario Cozier-Duberry featured off the bench.
We made a sloppy start against the Royals, though, as Taylor Foran mistimed his clearance upfield and handed over possession straight from kick-off, before inadvertently deflecting the ball into his own net.
Harvey Maunder then went on to double the hosts’ advantage after just five minutes, finishing at the near post after another surging counter attack.
Shortly after, Hutchinson reduced the deficit with a moment of magic, breaking free down the right wing before cutting back inside and firing into the far corner.
By this stage, we were dominating play and, with our wingers seeing plenty of the ball, Joel Ideho stepped up to score his second of the season.
The 17-year-old was picked out in space over on the left flank and stormed into the penalty area, before cutting on to his favoured right foot and curling into the bottom corner.
There would be late drama at the end of the first half, though, as Reading restored their lead against the run of play with a header from Michael Stickland.
But despite heading into this fixture without a win in four, we came out confident in the second half and equalised on the hour mark in some style.
Walters switched the play from right to left and Henry Jeffcott fired a stunning half-volley into the top corner for his first goal at this level.
Hutchinson had been lively all afternoon and late on produced another of his trademark runs, skipping past his marker and racing into the box before inviting a foul from Jay Senga.
Hutchinson stepped up and made no mistake in converting from the penalty spot, sealing three valuable points for Ken Gillard’s side.
WHAT IT MEANS
Up next, we will face Southampton on Tuesday, April 6.
The game will take place at Staplewood with kick-off at 11.30am (UK time).
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