Manchester United traveled to Adams Park to face second in the table Reading. The U21s were two goals up at half-time with Will Keane scoring both on his 23rd birthday. Keane completed his hat-trick from the spot in the second half before Tariqe Fosu scored a consolation goal for the Royals.
Jack Stacey had a chance for Reading in the opening ten minutes and Ro-Shaun Williams flew across to cut off the chance, much to the delight of Joel Pereira. Guillermo Varela was lucky to to give away a penalty with a risky challenge in the box.
Reading were not so fortunate when James Weir found Will Keane in the penalty area, where he was pulled down. Keane stepped up to take the penalty and although goalkeeper Stuart Moore caught the shot with his legs, there was sufficient power on the penalty to send it home.
Keane doubled his tally in less than five minutes. Matty Willock picked up the ball in the middle of the pitch and went on a run. He took on a shot from distance. The wayward shot deflected into goal off Keane.
The birthday boy missed a chance to complete his hat-trick early in the second half when he sent a header wide of the target but his blushes were spared slightly as he was flagged offside.
However, just after the hour mark he claimed his hat-trick after Josh Harrop was brought down in the penalty area. Keane stepped up to the spot and once again slotted home.
Harrop went on a meandering run through the Royals’ defence and saw his shot well saved. Weir then had a chance but his effort looped over the crossbar. Reading’s Cardwell created a moment of danger only to see his attempt go wide. Harrop was sent through on goal after a neat one-two with Varela but his half-hearted effort was straight at Moore.
Reading saw two free-kicks miss the target, going wide and high respectively. However, they managed to finally beat Joel Pereira with five minutes of regular time remaining but it was only a consolation goal in a 3-1 win for United.
The win, coupled with Tottenham Hotspur’s loss to Chelsea, sees United leapfrog Spurs and Reading into second place in the U21s Barclays Premier League Division 1.
Manchester United: J. Pereira, Varela, Williams, Fosu-Mensah, Riley, Love, Willock, Redmond, Harrop, Weir (Warren 75′), Keane.
Unused Substitutes: O’Hara, Gribbin, Mitchell, Rathbone.
Goal(s): Keane (25′(p), 29′, 61′(p)).
Booking(s): Willock (87′).
Man of the Month: Will Keane.
Reading: Moore, Long, Griffin, Fernandez, Hyam, Osho, Stacey, Kuhl(c), Liburd (Cardwell 64′), Kelly (Novakovich 65′), Fosu.
Unused Substitutes: Owusu, Ward, Shaughnessy.
Goal(s): Fosu (85′).
Booking(s): Fosu (42′), Griffin (60′).