The Royals' U18s were on the wrong end of a 3-0 scoreline as a youthful squad took on Southampton at Hogwood on Saturday.
Danny Loader returned to action for the first time following his U17 World Cup exploits, and got an hour of football under his belt as he regains match fitness.
No fewer than five of the young Royals on show had recently gone away with England in different youth age groups, with some of our U16s making the step up against an experienced Southampton side on Saturday.
Adam Desbois, Jeriel Thomas, Danny Loader, Oli Pendlebury and Jack Nolan all gained valuable experience in being away with their country during the international break, with Nolan scoring his first goal for England U17s in the process.
Following a goal-less first half where the Royals applied the majority of the pressure in the game, their confidence was knocked after Michael Obafemi's second half brace, before the result was secured with a finish four minutes later from Saints' substitute Will Ferry.
Speaking after the game, U18s' manager David Dodds said: "Their wingers were racing quick, on one or two occasions they ran past our players and just scored, so it was that sort of game.
"The goals going in during the second half affected our confidence, the performance wasn't as fluent as it was in the first.
"In the first half, we were pretty dominant. We played good football, maybe didn't create as much as we should have, then we conceded four or five minutes into the second half and that knocked the players' confidence.
"It was isolated incidents where they beat us with pace in wide areas and we paid the price. The positive things were that five of the boys on the pitch had gone away with England.
"Danny Loader was getting an hour under his belt to try and get some match minutes, that was good in that aspect as he was getting match fit.
"It was good that we had young 15 and 16-year-old lads on the pitch who were being tested to the max, which is good for their development, and they'll learn from that."
Next up for our U18s is Aston Villa this Saturday, with kick-off at midday at Hogwood.
Reading U18: Desbois, Balogun, Odimayo, Nditi, Dorsett, Buchanan(Nevers 54), Simmo (Faniyan 46), Coleman, Loader (Lawrence 61), Pendlebury, Nolan.
Subs unused: Wilson, Roberts.
Southampton U18: Cull, Gardner, Siu, Hamblin, Bradley-Green, Klarer, Hale, Vokins, Obafemi, Smallbone, Afolabi (Ferry 66).
Subs unused: Parkes, Ramsey, Norton, Hansen.
Goals: Obafemi (49, 63), Ferry (67)