SCOTT Marshall got off to the perfect start as Reading FC Under 23s boss with a 2-1 win against Fulham in his first match in charge.

Marshall, who replaced Martin Kuhl recently, saw his young side collect all three points at Adams Park in Premier League 2 on Monday night.

Sam Smith opened the scoring in the first half when he showed sharp reflexes to prod the ball home after a fumble by the Fulham keeper Magnus Norman.

Fulham equalised after the break through Alijah Adebayo, only for Smith to net what proved to be the winner just before the hour mark after Josh Barrett’s initial strike had been blocked.

Local Berkshire:

Sam Smith scored twice in the 2-1 win against Fulham U23s.

Marshall beamed: “It feels good to get a win. I really enjoyed it, the boys worked really hard and competed really well.

“Throughout the match they showed great desire and intensity. Don’t get me wrong, I think we can do better on the ball, but they’ve shown some great honesty and desire to learn.”

Royals also showed plenty of grit in the closing stages as they weathered a late Fulham storm.

“Getting a result will be good for their confidence,” added Marshall. “You need a little bit of belief to get on the ball and be brave.”

Marshall also praised two-goal Smith who has been on the fringes of the first team this season.

“Sam was bright and alert,” he said. “He’s put in a big shift.

“We can learn and improve, but the effort, willingness and intensity is there.”

Reading U23s: Legg, Holmes, Osho (c), Andresson, Medford-Smith, Rinomhota, Sheppard, East (Holsgrove 76'), Smith (House 90+1'), Loader, Barrett. Subs not used: Frost, Driscoll, Rollinson.