Reading's Under-18s suffered a 5-2 loss against Fulham at the weekend, with an inexperienced Royals side surrendering a two-goal lead at Hogwood in the U18 Premier League.
The first half was a tightly-contested affair, with both sides having half-chances until the young Royals made the breakthrough in the final minute of the first period.
Jazz Wallace struck from the edge of the area to give our Under-18s the lead going into the break, and that advantage was doubled just several minutes after half-time.
Ethan Coleman, fresh from coming off the bench, rose highest from a free-kick to loop a header into the top corner and give the hosts a cushion.
An experienced Fulham side responded in emphatic style, though, halving the deficit within 90 seconds of Reading's second as Nicolas Santos-Clase fired into the top corner. This was added to soon after with a quick-fire hat-trick from Cameron Thompson to turn the match around.
Thompson earned the match ball with his three goals coming just 19 minutes apart, and the visitors made sure of the result with Reece York bundling a diving header over the line.
With several of our Under-18s promoted to the Under-23s and others still yet to return from injury, there are still plenty of positives to take for our youngsters going forward as they are set to face Norwich City at the weekend.
Speaking after the match, Under-18s' manager David Dodds said: "We played under-par, first half, we struggled to keep possession on a regular basis. Fulham were quite a senior team, I think they had two first years (scholars) and the rest were second years.
"We had the opposite, we had some Under-17s and some Under-16s in there as well. Our two centre-halves and the back four did well to keep us in the game, and then, against the run of play, we scored a goal just before half-time, well taken by Jazz Wallace, maneouvred the ball and beat the keeper down to his right.
"They didn't have an awful lot of clear cut chances, they hit the inside of the post on one occasion. Then we came out in the second half, in a game where it hadn't really been a good performance, after about 47 minutes we were 2-0 up.
"Possibly at that stage, we dropped back and became compact to contain them a little bit, but the unfortunate thing for us, being a young team, we went a bit gung-ho and conceded two goals which were very avoidable.
"We got a little bit of fatigue in the second half as well, and then we had a really good chance at 3-2 down where the keeper was down on the ground and we side-footed past the post which would have got us back in the game.
"We played from the back and they played on the counter a little bit, and we just got sucker-punched on one attack where a lad scored at the near post.
"It was a disappointing performance, it was an unusual one being 2-0 up then getting beaten 5-2, but hopefully they'll learn from it. They're a very, very young team and they'll learn a few lessons, I'm sure."
The young Royals celebrate going ahead in the U18 Premier League match, but their lead was unfortunately short-lived against Fulham.
Reading U18: Rosario, Elva-Fontaine, Nditi, Burley, Dorsett (Pendlebury 75), Buchanan (Coleman 46), Sparta, Matete (Lawless 60), Moore, Wallace, Nolan.
Unused subs: Hillson, Lawrence.
Fulham U18: Ashby-Hammond, Asare, Mundle-Smith, Garrido, Martin, York, Francois, Kelly (Tahir 80), Hilton, Santos-Clase, Thompson (Abraham 77).
Unused subs: Wickens, Frei, Armsworth.