READING City manager Simon Johnson was full of praise for his team after their gallant defeat by Wantage in the semi-finals of the Reading Senior Cup, writes Dave Wright.

They took the newly-crowned Hellenic League champions to extra time before losing 2-0 at Rivermoor Stadium last Wednesday.

Cup holders Wantage will defend the trophy against Division One East side AFC Aldermaston at Madejski Stadium on Friday, May 17 (7pm).

"It's disappointing we have not made the final, but I could not have asked for anything more from my players," said Johnson, whose side had finished 17 places below Wantage in the table.

"There is no shame in keeping a clean sheet against the league winners for 90 minutes. My boys kept battling and even at 2-0 down they were throwing bodies on the line, so great credit to them."

He added: "During the game, if you asked a neutral spectator who had won the league, they would not have known as we were as good as them.

"But you could see they had a squad that's been together all season and fitness won it for them in the end."

It may have been a different story if City's finishing had matched their approach work, where Riccardo Andrady's pace caused the Wantage defence plenty of problems.

However, neither keeper had a decent shot to deal with until the 55th minute when Charlie York pulled off a fine save by tipping the ball over the crossbar, and from the corner, the hosts had to clear the ball off the line.

Scoring chances were few and far between and it was no great surprise the tie went to extra time.

And it took only six minutes for the Oxon side to take the lead through Jon Davoile, and within two minutes Steve Robertson put the issue beyond doubt with his 38th goal of the season.

Although finishing second bottom, City remain confident they will not be joining tailenders Abingdon United in Division One next season.

"Me and Sam (Woodruff) are already looking to build for next season," said Johnson.

"We will sit down and talk to the current players because they are magnificent for us. We hope they will all stay as they deserve to be in our squad, but there will be new faces coming in."