The Royals’ Checkatrade Trophy adventure came to an end at Huish Park, as an action-packed affair resulted in a 4-2 win for hosts Yeovil Town.
The dismissal of Sandro Wieser just after the quarter-hour mark for a clumsy challenge gave the hosts a man advantage – which they soon converted into a two-goal advantage through Otis Khan and Francois Zoko.
Andrija Novakovich’s goal just before the interval gave the Royals hope, but Omar Sowunmi effectively sealed the match with quarter of the game to go. Jake Sheppard inadvertently turned into his own net to give Yeovil some gloss, although Josh Barrett fired in a consolation from the spot in added time.
Much like the style of the senior squad, the Royals’ youngsters began the game with the bulk of possession and began to probe well. Barrett was first to chance his arm with a snapshot after a Jake Sheppard throw, but his effort flew wide.
But Yeovil soon grew into the game and created a few chances of their own, requiring the centre-halves to intervene. First Khan’s effort needed hacking clear by Danzell Gravenberch, and a moment later captain Dominic Hyam hacked a low cross clear inside his six-yard box. Goalkeeper Stuart Moore had his woodwork to than when a dinked delivery was met by the head of Zoko – and cannoned away off the bar.
The pendulum began to swing back in Reading’s favour though, and Jonathan Maddison had been forced into the first save of note when Barrett lined up from outside the area, as Reading began to ramp up the pressure.
So Wieser’s red card on 17 minutes was an unwelcome addition to the fixture – the Liechtensteiner put in a firm tackle on Yeovil’s Alex Lawless on the Glovers’ left – and as he caught the man after the ball, the ref had little hesitation in reaching for his pocket.
Less than seven minutes later, Khan found room in the pocket of space that Wieser’s dismissal had vacated. Striding forward, he curled his strike beyond the reach of Moore for the game’s opening goal.
Barrett wasn’t far from levelling things up for the ten men of Reading; a dipping free-kick, after Harry Cardwell was fouled, was tipped onto the roof of the net by the Glovers’ glovesman. Yeovil countered from the resultant corner, but Kevin Dawson’s effort from the edge of the area was wasteful as he met a cut-back from the left.
Instead, Yeovil claimed the game’s second goal, doubling their lead. Ben Whitfield found Zoko in the middle – he had work to do with back to goal, but a quick swivel of the hips and a left-footed strike saw the ball creep inside Moore’s near post to double the advantage.
The game might have been out of sight by half-time if Moore hadn’t tipped another Dawson effort around the post at full stretch, before Alex Lacey rattled the Reading woodwork for a second time as they hosts tried to scramble in a corner.
However, in a first half that lacked nothing in drama, the Royals got back within a goal in the final minute. A teasing Barrett free-kick from wide on the left caused pandemonium, and the ball broke to Novakovich to stab past Maddison.
Within minutes of the restart, each goalkeeper had had a save to make. First, Moore was needed to deny Whitfield what would have been a remarkable solo goal, as the Glovers man scampered down the Royals’ left flank before striking straight at the stopper. Not even a minute later, Barrett had gone on a jaunt of his own before striking into the arms of Maddison.
A lung-busting run from the energetic Rinomhota almost resulted in an equaliser – the midfielder steamed down the left, and a low cross from the byline was just out of reach for Novakovich to grab a second.
The man deficit was becoming less and less apparent as Reading continued to put on pressure – Tyler Frost recycled a delivery after Barrett’s free-kick had been cleared; that allowed full-back Ramarni Medford-Smith to set up Barrett again, whose half-volley was gathered.
But then the task began to look too great again when Yeovil re-established their two-goal buffer midway through the second period. Towering striker Sowunmi, on as a sub 10 minutes earlier, rose high at the far stick to bundle in a header from a hanging Dickson cross.
16-year-old Danny Loader, just on as a sub, almost pulled one back… he rolled his marker Nathan Smith and tried to wrestle free to steal a march on goal. Last man Smith would certainly have been the second dismissal of the evening had Loader not stayed on his feet – instead the Royals man kept his balance, worked an angle to shoot, and drew a save from Maddison.
Matthew Dolan might have furthered the Glovers’ lead with a free-kick that had Moore scrambling across his line, but ultimately it cleared the frame of goal. But then Sheppard was the unfortunate party for the Royals when he turned a cross past Moore for Yeovil’s fourth.
There was a late consolation for Reading when Loader drew a foul in the box, allowing Barrett to grab a goal back – but the Glovers have their name in the hat for the last eight.
Full-time: Yeovil Town 4-2 Reading
Yeovil Town: Maddison, Shephard, Dickson (c), Smith, Lacey, Dolan, Dawson (Mugabi 89), Lawless (Butcher HT), Whitfield, Khan (Sowunmi 56), Zoko.
Unused subs: Krysiak, Storer, Lea, Bassett.
Goals: Khan (24), Zoko (32), Sowunmi (66), Sheppard og (88).
Reading: S.Moore, Sheppard, Medford-Smith, Hyam (c), Gravenberch (Griffin 62), Wieser, Rinomhota, Frost, Barrett, Novakovich (Smith 75), Cardwell (Loader 72).
Unused subs: Southwood, Howe, Bennett, East.
Goal: Novakovich (45), Barrett pen (90).
Sent off: Wieser (17).
Attendance: 1,081 (88 away).