Match Reports

Albion under-23s see off Reading in pre-season win

Jeremy Sarmiento, Andrew Moran and Cameron Peupion were on the scoresheet for Albion.

By Matt Bishop • 30 July 2021

By Paul Hazlewood
Andrew Moran celebrates his well taken goal against the Royals.

Albion under-23s continued their pre-season preparations with a 3-1 victory over Reading at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre on Friday afternoon.

In blustery and damp conditions, first half goals from Jeremy Sarmiento and Andrew Moran, followed by a late second half finish from Cameron Peupion secured Albion the win.

A Reading penalty with the final kick before half-time had halved the deficit, but Andrew Crofts' team were deserved winners as the 2021/22 Premier League 2 campaign edges ever closer.

Sarmiento got his side off to a fast start when he received the ball on the turn just inside the Reading half, drove towards the opposition defence and side-footed the opener into the bottom corner after just six minutes.

By Paul Hazlewood
Jeremy Sarmiento scored his first goal in Albion colours in some style.

The visitors responded well despite playing into strong winds, and were denied an equaliser when the dangerous Jahmari Clarke saw his snapshot from eight yards well saved by Adam Desbois.

After Moran saw an effort tamely deflected into the grateful hands of Reading keeper Coniah Boyce-Clarke, the Royals were back on the attack - only to be frustrated by Desbois again, who reacted quickly to parry and collect another Clarke strike.

While Reading created a handful of openings, the Albion attack posed serious problems of their own and Moran, who alongside Sarmiento continued to find space in midfield, soon doubled his team's lead in the 43rd minute.

The Irishman picked the ball up centrally and with space ahead of him, raced forwards, drifted past two lunging Reading defenders and rolled an accurate shot across goal and into the bottom corner from 12 yards.

By Paul Hazlewood
Andrew Moran doubled Albion's advantage shortly before the break.

That looked to be the final action of a well-contested first half, but when Odeluga Offiah tangled with Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan inside the penalty box, Clarke drove his spot-kick straight down the middle with the final kick.

Heavy rain fell during the interval and after the break, making conditions even more challenging for both teams, but Albion still managed to carve out the first big opening of the second half when Marcus Ifill was sent through on goal five minutes after the restart.

It was Moran who put the young striker through on goal, pouncing on a loose ball from a Reading corner to launch then counter-attack, but Ifill eventually saw his right-footed shot well saved.

Some more quick thinking from Albion six minutes later saw Cameron Peupion, who replaced Sarmiento, and Sam Packham combine from a free-kick to release the latter down the right and into the penalty area.

A low cross from the full-back fizzed across the face of goal, but evaded everyone before reaching Zak Sturge at the back post, who could only steer his effort over the bar from a tight angle.

In reply, Reading struggled to create quality openings like they had in the first half, but a breakaway of their own did see Clarke sent through on goal with only Fynn Talley, who came on at half-time for Desbois, to beat, but the Albion goalkeeper spread himself superbly to thwart the Reading forward.

With 65 minutes on the clock, that was the last real opening Reading created, and Albion soon secured victory with a third goal ten minutes from time.

Offiah, who advanced into space down the right flank, was the creator, squaring a low cross to Peupion, who slid the ball home to put the game out of Reading's reach.

Albion line-up: Desbois, Packham, Offiah, Turns, Miller, Molumby, Spong, Sturge, Sarimento, Moran, Ifill. 

Subs used: Talley, Nilsson, Collyer, Peupion, Chouchane.