James Dornelly

Posh U21s record three points on the road after victory over The Royals.

Peterborough United U21s secured an important three points on the road after a 3-2 victory over Reading U21s on Monday afternoon in the Professional Development League, with goals from the trialist, Kai Corbett and James Dornelly.

Matt Laycock was called into action in the opening three minutes as Caylan Vickers’ powerful effort from just inside the box was pushed away by the Posh goalkeeper. Posh were then forced into an early change on five minutes as Lewis Darlington picked up an injury and was replaced by Reuben Marshall.

Posh found the opener on 16 minutes and it was a wonderful move down the right-hand side as Benjamin Mensah’s backheel found the trialist inside the box and he curled a left-footed effort into the far corner.

The hosts brought the scores level on 21 minutes as Matthew Carson’s free-kick was met by the head of Louie Holzman and he guided his header into the back of the net. Posh were unfortunate to not find themselves ahead just before the break as Marshall saw his effort take a big deflection before hitting the top of the crossbar.

Dornelly then had a brilliant opportunity seconds later as Corbett’s in-swinging free-kick found the defender at the back-post, but couldn’t make a clean connect before Marshall sent a header over the bar after Sam Dreyer’s flick back into the box.

Posh continued to search for the lead in the opening stages of the second half, this time Corbett sending his effort over the bar after being picked out by Benjamin Mensah’s low cross. The hosts had a golden opportunity on 65 minutes after Laycock produced a good save to push the ball away, but only to Michael Craig and he blasted his effort well over the bar.

Corbett struck the woodwork on 73 minutes as his free-kick from distance was tipped onto the bar by Harvey Collins. Posh were handed the opportunity to retake the lead on 75 minutes after the referee pointed to the spot as Marshall was bundled to the floor, Corbett stepped up to take the penalty and fired it straight down the middle. 

Posh extended their advantage on 84 minutes as an inch-perfect free-kick from Corbett found Dornelly completely free inside the box and the defender slotted his first-time effort into the back of the net. The Royals pulled a goal back in the closing stages of the game as a low cross found their Generio Maragh at the back-post and he converted from close-range.

Speaking on the game, Semple said: “I thought the performance was really good, especially in their effort, workrate, togetherness and, for good periods of the game, the quality as well. We created a lot of chances and played against a good Reading side, so we had to dig in at times but the players stuck together and compacted, and they were some really good individual performances and as a team.

“We took three of our chances today but we had more opportunities and could have scored more. We hit the crossbar with a free-kick, James had another one and so did Reuben, so on another day we could have added more. On the other hand, we rode our lock on occasions and a few times we didn’t pick the right decision, which gave them the opportunity to create chances. However, from many aspects, we were happy with the performance and the result.”

Posh XI: Laycock, Mensah (Fox, 79min), Dreyer, Thomas, Dornelly, Chiha, Titchmarsh (Challinor, 67min), Van Lier, Trialist, Darlington (Marshall, 5min), Corbett.

Subs Not Used: West, Mills.