FA Youth Cup Fourth Round
Reading U18s 0
Bolton U18s 2 (Youngs 22, Lester 78)
Reading's under-18s bowed out of the FA Youth Cup after a 2-0 defeat to Bolton, despite a spirited and courage ten-man performance.
Wanderers took the lead against the run of play, before Tariqe Fosu saw a penalty saved after the winger was bundled down in the box.
The visitors clinched a vital second late, despite a huge suggestion of offside, in a second half dominated by the Royals despite going down to ten men.
Our youngsters had chances throughout the game but despite their valiant efforts, it just wasn't meant to be for the Academy - who return to Elite League action on Saturday.
Royals: Lincoln, Long, Griffin (Kelly 89), Keown, Cooper, Kuhl (C), Tshibola, Stacey, Fosu, Tanner, Ikpeazu (Shama 89).
Subs not used: Moore, Murombedzi, Hyam.
Sent off: Kuhl.
Bolton: Sievers, Gibson, Matthews, Bailey, Holding, Maher, Lester, Woodland (C) (Wolstenholme 40), Clough, Youngs, Walker.
Subs not used: Hendrie, Campbell, Newby, Hamer.
The young Royals made just one change from their round three 5-1 triumph over Brentford, with Sean Long replacing Bismark Amofah.
Reading were on top in an edgy opening to the tie, and had an early penalty appeal turned down when Uche Ikpeazu was brought down on the edge of the box.
Despite some relentless Royals pressure, it was the visitors who went ahead against the run of play. Striker Tom Youngs burst forward and had his strike take a wicked deflection and fly into the top corner past Dan Lincoln.
But our youngsters responded well - and had a chance to equalise from the spot when Fosu's energetic run was unfairly halted by a Bolton defender, with referee C Hicks rightly pointing to the spot.
After an anxious wait, Fosu stepped up but saw his well-placed penalty superbly saved by Wanderers goalkeeper Jan Ole Sievers.
The Royals, very much hard done by, were screaming for another penalty soon after. Aaron Tshibola's excellent cross looked to have possibly made contact with the arm of a Bolton defender as he bundled the ball to his goalkeeper - nothing given.
Tshibola and Kuhl both had chances to level the scoreline, but despite dominating the half, the Royals went into the break a goal down.
Craig Tanner spearheaded the Royals' liveliness after the break, and delivered a corner to the head of Uche Ikpeazu - but the striker could only glance his header wide.
On the hour mark, Reading's mission became even tougher. On a booking, Aaron Kuhl tirelessly tracked back and made a miss-timed challenge - which saw the referee produce a second yellow and the Royals were down to ten men. Somewhat harsh on the skipper, who had put in a solid shift on the night.
Some excellent work from Tshibola down the left eventually led to a chance for Sean Long, but the full back skewed his effort wide.
The young Royals did soon have the ball in the net - only for it to be flagged offside. From a searching ball, Jake Cooper managed to play in Fosu, who struck home magnificently - only to see the assistant referee raise his flag.
Reading were still on top despite the numerical disadvantage - but Bolton struck a vital second. Chris Lester looked to be a yard offside when he was played in - but nonetheless finished superbly past Lincoln to win the game.
The valiant Royals still searched for a route back into the game, but luck just would not go our way. Fosu saw a powerful header saved off the line, before the final whistle blew on the Academy's FA Youth Cup run.
It was still a performance to be proud of - albeit lacking an element of luck - but the Academy must now pick themselves up ahead of their next Elite League fixture at home to Fulham on Saturday.