- Late goal denies Albion a point at the Madejski Stadium
- Henrik Bjordal cancels out Akinwale Odimayo’s opener
- Danny Loader converts stoppage-time penalty for Reading
- The Seagulls play West Bromwich Albion at home next Monday
Brighton & Hove Albion’s under-23s were beaten in the dying stages at the Madejski Stadium, as Reading scored a second goal in the 95th minute to snatch all three points.
The Seagulls fell behind when Akinwale Odimayo found the back of the net in the second half. Henrik Bjordal equalised for Simon Rusk’s team, but after the Norwegian handled inside the box in stoppage time, Danny Loader fired home from the penalty spot.
Simon Rusk welcomed back Tom Dallison and Bailey Vose to the starting line-up at the Madejski, while Archie Davies started on the wing and Aaron Connolly led the line against the Royals.
After a quiet opening to the game, Connolly glanced a header wide of the target from George Cox’s accurate cross, before Loader blazed wide for the hosts.
Another fine delivery from Cox caused problems for Reading, but with George Legg stranded, Archie Davies was unable to meet the full-back’s dangerous ball, as Albion looked for an opener.
Sanders then arrived late in the penalty area to head over from a Davies delivery, before Legg made a comfortable stop to prevent Bjordal breaking the deadlock shortly before the break.
Rusk’s side made a positive start to the second half and could have taken the lead when the ball fell kindly for Bjordal, but the forward skewed his effort wide of the target from close range.
The hosts began to apply more pressure on Albion’s defence as the half went on, but Vose remained relatively untested as the Royals failed to muster clear-cut chances.
Davies broke away for the Seagulls and found the side-netting after cutting inside of his marker, before Gabriel Osho fluffed his shot after Albion failed to clear a Reading corner.
But the Royals took the lead with just 15 minutes remaining, and it was Odimayo that charged into the penalty area to meet Jordan Holsgrove’s set-piece delivery with a clinical volley.
Rusk needed to see a quick reaction from his team and that’s exactly what he got, as Bjordal finished well from Ales Mateju’s square ball, after the Czech defender stretched to meet a cross from Sanders.
Ben House almost put the Royals back in front when his powerful strike came back off the post, hit Vose in the head and fortunately dropped just wide of the goal for a corner kick.
But there was drama in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Adrian Popa’s ferocious free-kick struck the outstretched arm of Bjordal, which was followed by the referee pointing to the penalty spot.
Loader stepped up and sent Vose the wrong way, sealing all three points for the Royals and ending Albion’s seven-game unbeaten run in the Premier League 2 Division 2.
ALBION: Vose; Mateju, Hall, Dallison (Moore HT), Cox; Hutchinson; A.Davies (Gyorkeres 69), Sanders, Alzate, Bjordal; Connolly (Ahannach 80)
Subs not used: Collings, J.Davies.