MCKOY Palmer struck a brilliant hat-trick as Reading City edged a nine-goal thriller 5-4 at home to Holyport to move into the third round of the Bluefin Sports Challenge Cup on Monday night, writes Richard Ashton.

The hosts took a 20th-minute lead courtesy of Palmer to kickstart an incredible night at the Rivermoor Stadium, Steve Lee adding a second just four minutes later.

However, the Citizens then switched off at the back to allow Andy Forisky to fire home, only for Kai Stubbs-Alleyne to make it 3-1 before the break.

Holyport rallied brilliantly in the second period, however, with Forisky's second and a Fabian Driffill brace putting them 4-3 up with a quarter-of-an-hour remaining.

Yet there was still time for Parker to draw level with 10 minutes remaining, and soon after he completed his treble with a breath-taking effort from outside the area which nestled in the top right-hand corner.

City manager Simon Johnson said: "We got there in the end. It was a fantastic first half, but credit to Holyport who came flying out the traps in the second half and gave us a real scare.

"There was great character from the lads to turn it back around, though, and get us in the next round. It was another ruthless performance in front of goal."

Reading City travel to Longlevens in the Hellenic League Premier Division on Saturday (3pm), before hosting Aylesbury Dynamos in the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup on Monday (7.45pm).

Jahson Downes and Salim Dady were on target for AFC Aldermaston as they drew 2-2 at Langley in Division One East.

The Atom Men – who sit eighth in the table – are at home to Milton United tomorrow (Friday) (7.45pm).

Woodley United, who did not have a game last weekend, face a tough test on their return to league action as they host leaders Risborough Rangers on Saturday (3pm).