Match Reports

Albion beat Royals to reach quarter-finals of EFL Trophy

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It took penalties to separate the teams as Albion Under-21s reached the last eight for the first time.

By Charlie Hanson • 09 January 2024

By Paul Hazlewood
The Albion players celebrate after beating the Royals.

Albion reached the quarter-finals of the EFL Trophy on Tuesday night as they beat Reading 3-2 on penalties after a goalless 90 minutes.

Mark O'Mahony, Jack Hinchy and 15-year-old Harry Howell showed cool heads to score from 12-yards to continue our under-21s' furthest ever run in competition.

Albion had to ride out some fairly intense pressure from the visitors in the first half as Femi Azeez brought the best out of Tom McGill.

By Paul Hazlewood
Tom McGill saved Reading's first penalty.

The Reading forward’s effort from the edge of the box was well kept out by the Canadian, before Azeez saw another curling effort tipped behind by Albion's goalkeeper.

It appeared as if a Reading goal was an inevitability, but Albion grew into it and Luca Barrington’s free-kick from 20-yards deflected narrowly over the crossbar.

Shannon Ruth's team looked certain to take the lead seven minutes after the restart when Hinchy intercepted Joel Pereira's ball out from the back. The Albion skipper played it into Jamie Mullins who had a drive blocked, before O'Mahony followed it up only for a last ditch challenge by Abbey to stop it flying in.

By Paul Hazlewood
Harry Howell showed his composure from the spot to slot home the winning penalty.

Tyler Bindon pulled off an excellent last-man challenge when he slid to tackle Bailey Smith in the box to win the ball, before a carbon-copy attack by the visitors was halted by Noel Atom.

McGill thwarted Azeez after getting in down the right, before Charlie Savage's stinging effort was made to look relatively comfortable by the Albion keeper, but without a goal in normal time, we went straight to penalties.

McGill denied Reading's first taker Caylan Vickers from 12-yards, before Azeez and Tivonge Rushesha also missed for the visitors. Joe Knight had the chance to win it from the spot but had his penalty well saved by Pereira, but Howell made amends as he sent the keeper the wrong way to secure our place in the last eight.

The Bristol Street Motors Trophy quarter-final draw will take place live on Sky Sports News at 6.30pm on Friday 12 January.

The Albion line-up: McGill, McConville, Jackson, Atom, Slater, Hinchy, Chouchane (Howell 90+2), Barrington (Knight 83), Flower (Smith 65), Mullins (Ifill 83), O’Mahony.

On the bench: Reid, Knight, Ifill, Smith, Tasker, Howell, Simmonds.