Reading’s Under-23s were defeated 3-2 on Sunday afternoon at Adams Park, as visiting Middlesbrough left triumphant.
The result allowed Boro to leapfrog Scott Marshall’s side in the Premier League 2 table, as the race for promotion to the U23 top tier continues.
A to-and-fro start to the game yielded no goals initially, despite chances at both end – Mikael Soisalo and Tyrone O’Neill each had efforts blocked for Boro, and Ben House’s low effort for Reading kept out by a smart stop from Zach Hemming.
But Boro took the lead with 27 minutes played, as Luke Armstrong won the ball upfield and squared for Soisalo to finish simply with a tap-in.
The lead was short-lived, as Tyler Frost got the Royals back on terms two minutes later. A firm strike from the edge of the area gave the goalkeeper little chance – the scores were all square again.
However Middlesbrough retook the lead soon after the break – O’Neill this time added his name to the scoresheet by firing past Liam Driscoll from just inside the box with power.
And with ten minutes remaining, the game looked out of sight for the Royals as Hayden Coulson pounced on an error in defence to strike in.
There was late hope for Reading as Ade Shokunbi fired one in, five minutes from time – good work from full-back Ramarni Medford-Smith, jinking through a couple of challenges, created the opportunity as he centred from the left.
But the Royals couldn’t quite complete the comeback as Middlesbrough took the PL2 points.
Full-time: Reading U23 2-3 Middlesbrough U23
Reading U23: Driscoll, Watson (Howe 8), Osho, Holmes, Medford-Smith, East, Rollinson (Shokunbi 62), Holsgrove, House (Nolan 78), Frost, Loader.
Unused subs: Desbois, Odimayo.
Middlesbrough U23: Hemming, Tinkler, Reading, Spence, Brewitt, Mahmutovic, Soisalo (Hegarty HT), Malley (Walker 66), O’Neill, Armstrong, Coulson.
Unused subs: Brynn, Curry, Elsdon.