The Royals’ Under-18s were defeated on their penultimate match of the season, as hosts Aston Villa were 4-1 winners at Bodymoor Heath.
Reading initially led, opening the scoring before the half-hour mark through Conor Lawless. But Indiana Vassilev struck back before the interval to level things up for the Villans.
Dimitri Sea struck moments after the restart to put Villa ahead, before Andre Burley’s two yellows meant an early end to the game for the Reading defender. A late Ben Guy penalty and Sea’s second put gloss on the scoreline for the hosts.
Under-18 manager David Dodds said: “It was a bit of a false scoreline in the end – we were a goal up through Conor Lawless, who did well at left-back and overlapped nicely for his goal, but they got back level before the break.
“Then after half-time we were a bit sloppy, which meant that they were able to take the lead within two minutes of kicking off, and that meant we were chasing the game.
“It was a pretty even game after that and could have gone either way, but it made it more difficult when Andre Burley was sent off – he was a bit unlucky to get a red card for two yellows in quick succession. The first was deemed a high foot when their lad ducked low to try and head the ball, and the second was just a mistimed tackle.
“That meant we had to play the end of the game a man light… with 11 men, it might have been possible to get back into it. But Villa managed to take advantage and picked us off, which can happen when you’re trying to chase a deficit.
“But credit to everyone that played; we had a few players who have been involved with our Under-23s who came back down and took a good attitude into the game, as well as some players from younger age-groups who performed well.”
Full-time: Aston Villa U18 4-1 Reading U18
Aston Villa U18: Burton, Ige, Bridge, Revan, Bazeley, Odutayo (Guy 70), Vassilev, Walker, Brunt, Sea, Tait.
Unused subs: Boucher, Sohna, Farr, McConnachie.
Reading U18: J.Andresson, Balogun, Lawless (Pemberton 79), Burley, Philby, Buchanan (Olise 68), Faniyan, Omolabi, Lawrence, Simmo, Moore (Liddle 88).
Unused subs: Roberts, Brooking.