Scoring problems continued to plague Reading United AC Saturday night as it fell to Real Central New Jersey 2-1 in a USL League Two Mid Atlantic Division matchup at Alvernia University.
Reading is 1-3-2 in its last six games and has scored more than one goal just once during that span.
“We want to be better in the attacking phase,” Reading coach Casey Moore said. “(We had) a lot of pressure, a lot of chances but it always comes down to putting them in the back of the net.”
Real Central New Jersey’s Conlan Paventi got behind the Reading backline and finished low to the far post for what would be the game-winning goal in the 69th minute. Hale Lombard assisted with a solid through ball on the play.
Alex Hajj scored the only goal for Reading in the 35th minute from the penalty spot after Cole Sotack tackled Reading’s Talla Faye from behind on a clear goal-scoring opportunity inside the box. The goal was Hajj’s second of the season and Sotack received a yellow card for the play.
Reading (4-4-5) outshot Real Central New Jersey 15-10 and had numerous chances to find a goal from the run of play. After nine second-half shots, the last chance of the night came off a United corner in the 94th minute but Reading failed to get a final shot on goal.
“We would have five-on-fours in the attacking phase, or we’d find the open guy and have space to whip services in with numbers in the box,” Moore said. “It’s just when we would whip balls in with great runs, we wouldn’t pick out the guys in the box. Or when we would serve the ball into the box, sometimes we wouldn’t have great runs. It felt like the timing was never right.
“And then sometimes when it (the timing) was right, we would shoot off target or our connection wouldn’t be there.”
Stephen Duncan gave Real Central New Jersey (5-6-2) a 1-0 lead when he headed a corner past Reading goalie Russel Shealy in the ninth minute. Shealy made two saves in the match.
Despite being down early, Reading showed plenty of hustle and won the possession battle in both halves. The press was on throughout the game, but Reading was called offside eight times in the first half and once in the second.
“We work the ball really well to get to put ourselves in situations to play those entry passes,” Moore said. “I felt like our speed of play was too slow on the offsides. It’s hard to say; a lot of them looked really close. But I still think we could have played the ball sooner on a lot of those offside plays, and then we’re in behind with a chance to score.”
Alvernia and Gov. Mifflin grad Ammit Bhogal received a yellow card in the 76th minute along with Lombard as both teams got into a shoving match after a foul. Reading had nine fouls and Real Central New Jersey had six.
Reading is 1-1-3 against Real Central New Jersey in 2022 and will finish its season at home against Lehigh Valley United on July 16 at Alvernia at 7 p.m.
Source: Berkshire mont