Four-midable Reading FC lift their first Berks & Bucks Senior Cup since 1995

Ascot United 0, Reading FC u23s 4

At a fan-filled Arbour Park, Reading FC u23s comprehensively overcame Ascot United by four goals to nil to lift the Berks & Bucks FA Senior Cup for the first time since 1995.

On a day the senior side wrapped up their Championship campaign in 21st place – following a narrow loss to Luton Town – the young Royals showed their quality at Slough Town’s home ground.

Jamie Tompkins’ men had started the game in an imposing fashion but fell victim to a quick counterattack as Reading took the lead inside 13 minutes through Ajani Giscombe.

Noel Hunt’s side were able to double their advantage just over 10 minutes later when, following a well-worked team move, Nahum Melvin-Lambert rose highest to nod in a cross past Sam Gray.

The Yellamen were presented a free kick in a promising position next but, much to the supporters’ frustration, Tom Scott’s set piece was competently caught by goalkeeper Jokull Andresson.

It seemed as if they paid the price when the Royals made it 3-0 in the 35th minute thanks to Imari Samuels thundering the ball off the far post and into the back of the net.

After the interval, Ascot’s Rory Merrick was first to register an effort from outside the area with the ball crucially deflected out of play.

From the subsequent corner, captain Louis Bouwers headed over the crossbar before seeing another attempt, a minute later, have the same frustrating outcome.

Looking to inject some pace into the game, Tompkins turned to his bench on the hour mark and brought on Keaton August for George Lock.

But Ascot’s agony increased when Sean McCormack was shown a second yellow card and then a red for bringing down a Reading player as they bore down on goal.

In the dying embers, Chris Ellis displayed his prowess with the long throw and Merrick was unable to convert from one with an audacious bicycle kick which clipped the frame of Andresson’s goal.

Ultimately, Reading had the final say when Melvin-Lambert smashed away a loose ball in the seventh minute of added time after the visitors had initially cried for a penalty kick.

At full-time, manager Hunt said: “We played really well in the first half and made use of the big playing surface. We were really disciplined in our shape, in our structure, and the goals we scored were really pleasing. To lift this trophy is a credit to the boys on the pitch.”

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