Smith-Brown 65, A.Garcia 68, Celina 82
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- 22 January 2016 14:56
- Posted by @MPHenson / Pics by @VHaydn_MCFC
A stunning second half goal from Aleix Garcia helped City see off Reading at the Academy Stadium.
The first half was a relatively quiet affair with limited chances for both sides. A great piece of defending early on from Adarabioyo was enough to take the power out of Liam Kelly’s shot after Reading countered from a City corner.
At the other end, Lewis Ward showed great reactions to prevent a stinging drive from George Glendon hitting the back of the net before Celina saw his goal-bound shot blocked by Dominic Hyam.
Birthday boy Angus Gunn was soon in the action to deny Kelly before the Reading number ten thought he had opened the scoring for the away side.
Harry Caldwell sent a teasing cross into the middle and an unmarked Kelly headed past Gunn, but his celebration was cut short as the linesman ruled him to be offside.
The best chance of the half came just before the break when Sinan Bytyqi was tripped in the area and referee Peter Gibbons awarded a penalty. Celina stepped up to take the penalty and saw his effort palmed away by Ward to ensure the two sides headed into the break at 0-0.
The second half started in a similar fashion to the first with both sides having their fair share of possession. Reading had a chance earlier on but Gunn was aware to tip over Conor Shaughnessy’s header.
The Royals scored the opening goal of the game in the 61st minute when Harry Cardwell won the ball just inside the City half before embarking on a run to the edge of the area and firing past the outstretched glove of Gunn.
However, it wasn’t long until Simon Davies’ side were back on level terms. Smith-Brown picked up the ball just outside the area and rifled in a low shot to make it 1-1.
It was soon 2-1 to City when Garcia scored a Goal of the Month candidate in the 68th minute. He received the ball around 25 yards from goal and it sat up nice for him to hammer into the top corner on the half volley to cap off a fantastic few minutes for the young Blues.
The three points were all but secured with eight minutes to play when Celina made up for his earlier penalty miss by making it 3-1 after some great work from Rodney Kongolo.
The Dutch midfielder showed an impressive work rate to win the ball on the halfway line before driving towards the Reading goal. He spotted Celina unmarked on the penalty spot and laid it off for him to slot home for a two-goal advantage.
19-year old Celina then had the final chance of the game when his audacious lobbed effort landed on the roof of the net with a minute to go.
The win makes it an unbeaten week for Simon Davies’ side after the drew 2-2 at Spurs on Monday and moves them above Reading in the Barclays U21 Premier League.
Speaking about his wonderstrike, Garcia told mcfc.co.uk: "I play as the number six so I struggle to get a lot of chances, but this is my second goal of the season! I’m really happy to help my team out with the goal."
He continued: "The overall performance was fine, sometimes we struggled when we didn’t have possession of the ball. We managed to score three goals to get the three points, which is great."
Birthday boy Gunn, who turns 20 today, was pleased to see Garcia grab a goal and believes the game needed a goal of that quality to win it: "It was a great strike, I’m happy for him to get on the score sheet. It was a tough game and it was going to take a goal of that quality to win the game."
Gunn followed that up by stating: "The win was a great way to start my birthday! It was a tough game today, but we battled well against them and matched their physicality. Our quality showed in the end and we got a good win.
"We started a bit slow and then we came out in the second half and really put it on Reading. We need to work on that in training and hopefully we can re-create that in the coming games."