11:00AM, Thursday 14 January 2021
Three former Maidenhead school boys took centre stage in Reading’s FA Cup showdown with Luton Town at the weekend.
On Saturday, Ethan Bristow, Jeriel Dorsett and Oliver Pendlebury, who all attended Altwood School, featured for the Royals in their 1-0 loss to the Hatters in the third round.
Royals boss Veljko Paunovic rotated his squad, making nine changes to the side that started at Huddersfield Town the previous week, with plenty of young prospects seizing their chance to impress at Kenilworth Road, despite the defeat.
Pendlebury was handed his debut in the middle of the park, while Dorsett and Bristow started in the Royals defence.
In all, 14 of Reading’s 18-man squad for the game had come through the academy and, for the most part, matched up well against their opponents.
The first half was a scrappy period but ultimately one the hosts had the better of as they restricted their visitors of possession and notable chances.
On the half hour mark, Hatters right back James Bree was found in acres of space out wide, and had the time to float in a cross for George Moncur to volley home. Reading came close to restoring parity at the end of the half with Sone Aluko and Pendlebury striking efforts wide minutes before the break.
Alfa Semedo, Tomas Esteves, Michael Olise, and Sam Baldock were among those who came close with long range efforts, while Aluko had Reading's best chance of the afternoon when, with just the keeper to beat, he crashed an effort back off the woodwork following some impressive build up play by Jayden Onen and Esteves.
Luton held on to book a trip to Chelsea in the fourth round, but Paunovic’s talented young side came away with their heads held high.
Reading’s next game will be at home to Coventry in the Championship on January 19 after the tie against Brentford this Saturday was suspended.
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