Reading's Under-23s fell to a first defeat in six matches in the Premier League 2, with a 2-0 loss away at Norwich City on Sunday afternoon.
Andy Rinomhota and Sam Smith both played a part as they continue their recoveries from injuries that have sidelined them for a large portion of the season.
Younger players such as Jordan Holsgrove and Danny Loader were also absent from the U23 side on Sunday, with a crucial FA Youth Cup tie on Tuesday night in mind for our U18s at Colchester United.
The Royals remain 3rd in the Premier League 2 Division 2 table, though, within three points of leaders Blackburn Rovers, whom they play on Friday evening.
Scott Marshall's side found themselves behind early on at Carrow Road, after Ramarni Medford-Smith was adjudged to have brought down Tristan Abrahams in the box. Abrahams duly stepped up to dink a deftly chipped penalty past Liam Driscoll in the Royals' goal.
The Royals kept up the attacking pressure, though, as they went in search of an equaliser. A neat passing move found its way to Ryan East in the box, but the midfielder could not keep his shot down as it sailed into the stands.
The second half showed the same pattern as the first, with the Royals controlling play but unable to break through a staunch Norwich back-line.
Medford-Smith caught a strike sweetly from a Royals corner, with Norwich goalkeeper Oxborough saving smartly to deny the full-back. Soon after, Tyler Frost found half-a-yard and saw his effort ricochet off the woodwork as the Royals could not get on the scoreboard in East Anglia on the day.
Reading U23: Driscoll, Howe, Osho, Medford-Smith, Rollinson, Kelly, Frost, East, Smith (Simmo 66), Rinomhota (Shokunbi 46), House.
Subs not used: Desbois, Green, Davis.