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Reading 3-1 Colchester United

U's knocked out in first round of the Carabao Cup

5 September 2020

Championship side Reading advanced to the next round of the Carabao Cup at the expense of Colchester United in the opening game of the 2020/21 season.

The U's will not be in the hat for the second round draw tomorrow afternoon after a 3-1 defeat at the Madejski Staidum. 

Steve Ball handed a debut to Miquel Scarlett in his first game as permanent head coach of United. Ball also selected to start new signing Tommy Smith who is at the club for his second spell. 

Colchester United took the lead in the first half thanks to a fine goal from Jevani Brown, before the Royals showed their Championship pedigree through a Lucas Joao hattrick. 

Colchester United starting XI: Gerken, Bramall, Smith, Pell, Brown, Harriott, Chilvers (Senior 71'), Scarlett, Eastman, Poku, Stevenson. 

Unused subs: George, Welch-Hayes, Sowunmi, McLeod, Hutchinson, Marshall-Miranda. 

The U's were quick out of the blocks for their first game of the season, looking to get ahead early against Championship side Reading. 

Debutant Miquel Scarlett was released down the right flank with seven minutes played and looked to square the ball to Callum Harriott who was arriving at the back post. Royals defender Liam Moore was quick to realise the early danger and clear his lines. 

Harry Pell was unlucky to see his powerful drive blocked two minutes later. He found himself in space on the apex of the area and let fly a fierce shot that was blocked away by Bristow. 

And the U's kept attacking down the flanks, this time down the left side with Cohen Bramall. His cross was deflected by Morrison towards goal only to be punced on by Southwood to prevent United from taking the lead. 

Dean Gerken was called into action with a routine save after fifteen minutes. Reading attacker Sam Baldock worked the space for his shot on the edge of the area but could only find the hands of Gerken. 

The U's were working well at both ends of the pitch, illustrated when new U's captain Harry Pell tracked back to put in a brilliant tackle on Baldock who was advancing towards the away goal at pace. 

Eight minutes before the break and Colchester United were ahead. It was a great move started by Tommy Smith whose inch perfect pass was played into the path of Cohen Bramall down the left wing. He burst into the box and picked out Jevani Brown, who finished off the move with a cheeky backheel to score his first Colchester United goal. 

United would have loved to hold onto this lead going into the break but conceded with seconds left to play. Araruna's ball in was neatly headed into the corner by Joao before the referee blew for half time. 

The home side looked to get ahead early after big chances went begging from Josh Laurent, before the Royals eventaully took the lead. 

Olise slid the ball through to Joao who slotted the ball into the corner as the U's players protested offside. Their calls fell on deaf ears as the Championship side lead 2-1. 

Lucas Joao completed his hattrick as the home side extended their advantage with fifteen minutes to play. After receiving the ball and a neat turn inside the area, he lofted the ball over Gerken.

United were unlucky not to get a goal back two minutes later. Callum Harriott was being chased down as he ran through on goal, but slipped at the vital moment with the ball rolling wide and out for a goal kick.

With three minutes left to play another of the U's youth products made their debut for the senior team with Marley Marshall-Miranda replacing Ben Stevenson. 

The full time whistle blew with Reading progressing into the next round of the Carabao Cup. 

Next up for the U's, it is more cup action with the first group game of the EFL Trophy. Colchester United will travel to Fratton Park to play League One Portsmouth, looking for their first win under Steve Ball. 

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