Crystal Palace 2
Reading's under-21s fell to a 2-0 defeat away at Crystal Palace in their penultimate Elite League fixture.
Two first half goals from corners were enough for the hosts to secure all three points in a game largely dominated by the Royals.
It was a sloppy start for Chris Cummins' men, as they fell behind after just three minutes - Palace striker Kwesi Appiah headed home from a corner.
Reading struggled to get into their groove, and were thankful for goalkeeper Jon Henly's one-on-one save moments later - though skipper Jake Taylor almost equalised from a set-piece.
The Royals began to look more dangerous on the break as Samuel fired wide and Taylor had an effort parried away - before Palace struck against the run of play via Ryan Inniss. Aaron Tshibola was then inches away minutes before the after time whistle.
After the interval, Reading had their best chance of the game - Pierce Sweeney's headed effort clipped the underside of the crossbar, before Palace desperately cleared. It was Taylor next to go agonisingly close, as he got something on Jordan Obita's low cross but the ball bounced just wide.
Academy top scorer Uche Ikpeazu was introduced mid-way through the half - and made a solid impact but had his best effort charged down well by Eagles' goalkeeper Ross Fitzsimons.
Obita was then denied by the 'keeper after the winger fizzed a venomous free kick towards goal, before Gozie Ugwu shot over the bar from close range - though the striker was flagged for offside.
A frustrating afternoon for the Royals which dents their Elite League play-off hopes - but Cummins' men will look to finish Phase Two with a win over Bolton Wanderers at Hogwood Park next week.
Royals: Henly, Arnold, Partridge, Sweeney, Keown, Tshibola (Tanner 85), Edwards (Ikpeazu 70) Taylor, Obita, Ugwu, Samuel.