|Moussa Dembélé's hat-trick saw Fulham book their place in the FA Youth Cup Final.|
Ryheem Sheckleford Card was given for a foul
Dominic Hyam Card was given for a foul
Player was substituted for tactical reasons
A Moussa Dembélé hat-trick saw Fulham scrape past 10-man Reading to book their place in the FA Youth Cup Final with a 3-2 Semi-Final Second Leg win (5-4 on aggregate).
Dembélé put Fulham in front from the spot after Patrick Roberts had been fouled in the box with Reading’s Dominic Hyam being shown a straight red card.
Despite being a man down, Reading fought back to lead 2-1 on the night and on aggregate through Tariqe Fosu’s penalty and Jack Stacey’s thunderbolt.
But Dembélé levelled from close range after Josh Smile had hit the bar and the Frenchman then grabbed the winner in the dying seconds to send Fulham through.
Under-18s boss Steve Wigley made one change from last week’s First Leg, with Smile coming in for Dean O’Halloran.
At a rain-drenched Craven Cottage, Reading created the first chance of the game in the fourth minute with Harry Cardwell rising to meet Sammi Fridjonsson’s cross from the left but sending his header a few yards wide of the far post.
At the other end, Roberts skipped through the Reading defence but saw his shot from a tight angle hit the foot of the near post with Lewis Ward pouncing on the loose ball before Dembélé could apply the finish.
In the eighth minute, Reading should have gone in front or at least hit the target. Stacey caused problems down the right and crossed for Cardwell who missed his kick and saw the ball hit his trailing leg and go behind.
As the rain grew heavier, Jordan Evans whipped in a cross in the 13th minute that Dembélé leapt to connect with but the Frenchman could only head well wide from six yards.
Chances continued to fall at both ends. When a Reading corner was only half-cleared, Hyam flicked a volley five yards wide in the 16th minute.
Another marauding run by Roberts in the 23rd minute saw him cut in from the right and beat three players but his shot was deflected behind for a corner.
A long punt forward by Marek Rodàk in the 31st minute then almost released Roberts but Tennai Watson got back to make a crucial last-ditch tackle, before Fridjonsson nodded wide for Reading after meeting a corner.
Out of nothing, the game suddenly exploded into life in the 36th minute. Roberts picked up the ball on the edge of the box and with nothing on, showed amazing quick feet to jink past a host of Reading players. Through on goal, he was fouled by Hyam with James Linington pointing to the spot and showing a straight red card to the Reading player. Dembélé took the spot-kick, planting it confidently to Ward’s right to put the hosts in front.
The Royals responded with Fosu seeing a curling effort tipped behind by Rodàk before the first half came to an end.
Reading were handed a penalty of their own in the 51st minute. After seeing initial claims turned down when Fosu’s shot struck the hand of Ryheem Sheckleford, Liam Kelly pounced on the loose ball and fell under a challenge from Emerson Hyndman. Linington pointed to the spot, with Fosu sending Rodàk the wrong way to make it 1-1.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Reading went in front in the 58th minute. Stacey got the ball on the right-hand touchline and burst forward. With no tackle forthcoming from a Fulham player, Stacey let fly from 25 yards and saw his effort fly into the far corner of Rodàk’s net.
Two minutes later, George Williams forced Ward to parry behind at his near post, before Dembélé nodded a Hyndman corner straight at the Reading keeper who then saved from close-range as Roberts looked to help a Cameron Burgess header on its way.
But Fulham were level in the 62nd minute. Smile’s shot from distance was deflected onto the bar with Dembélé first to the rebound to nod home.
A Reading breakaway in the 66th minute saw Rodàk save from Watson, while Dembélé’s acrobatic bicycle kick flashed wide for Fulham.
The Whites continued to press but further chances weren’t forthcoming against a stubborn and resolute Reading until the 83rd minute when Hyndman slipped in Dembélé who saw his shot tipped around the post by Ward.
With the game heading for extra-time, Fulham snatched the win. Kelly slipped and let in Hyndman who played the ball to Dembélé. The Frenchman took a couple of touches before seeing the ball go into the net via the legs of Reading’s Robert Dickie. It could have been classed as an own goal but Dembélé was certainly claiming it.
Fulham made a change as the game entered injury time, with Hyndman replaced by O’Halloran, and Williams shot wide late on as the Whites booked their spot in the Final.
Competition: The FA Youth Cup
Date: Monday 7 April 2014
Venue: Craven Cottage, London
Referee: J Linington
Line-up: Rodak; Sheckleford, Burgess, Donnelly, Evans; Smile, Sambou, Hyndman, George Williams; Roberts; Dembele
Unused substitutes: Norman, Baba, O'Halloran, Leacock-McLeod, Redford
Manager: Steve Wigley
Line-up: Ward; Watson, Dickie, Hyam, Owusu (McLennon 73'); Stacey, Kuhl, Fridjonsson, Fosu-Henry; Kelly; Cardwell
Unused substitutes: Gogic, Husin, Shaughnessy, Taylor-Crossdale