Reading's Under-23s were knocked out of the Premier League Cup on Friday afternoon, losing 2-1 against Newcastle United at the Kingfield Stadium.
All the goals came in the first half in Woking, with the Magpies twice taking the lead against the Royals, either side of a well-taken free-kick from Josh Barrett, to send the Tynesiders through to the last eight of the competition.
The team news saw the return of Tom McIntyre at centre-back, making his first appearance after fracturing a bone in his skull on his first team debut back in December.
It was a windy afternoon over in Woking for this cup tie, which seemingly made life difficult for both teams to string a spell of possession together, with long passes going astray in the early stages.
The first real effort of the game only came midway through the second half, with Josh Barrett sent on his way on the right wing.
He cut back to Tyler Frost on the edge of the box, who shot twice and the ball then broke back to Oliver Pendlebury from range. He fired low and on target, forcing a good save from Nathan Harker in the Newcastle goal.
But the opener came from the counter that followed. The visitors worked the ball forward quickly down the left, getting the ball back across goal for full-back Jamie Sterry to control 25 yards out. He took a touch and curled it into the top corner, beyond Coniah Boyce-Clarke and giving Newcastle the lead.
The response from Reading, however, came within three minutes. Ethan Coleman was brought down on the edge of the box, with a free kick given straight away. Josh Barrett stood over it, bending over the wall and beyond Harker. Expertly taken from the youngster.
After plenty more midfield dicing, without any further clear-cut chances, the Magpies took advantage to take the lead again before half time.
Matthew Longstaff nabbed the ball on the edge of the box from Coleman, spreading out to Allan in the box, who took a touch and fired low across goal, into the bottom corner to give the visitors the advantage once more.
It was a half of few chances, typified by clinical finishing from both teams that saw the Magpies go in ahead at the interval.
Half time | Reading U23 1-2 Newcastle United U23
McIntyre got through the first step of his recovery unscathed in the first half, and was withdrawn at the interval for Akinwale Odimayo. Ade Shokunbi was also introduced at the break, in place of Coleman.
And Reading tried to force the initiative, while a goal behind in the cup tie. A Holsgrove free-kick was only half-cleared into the path of goalscorer Barrett. He fired through the crowded box on the half-volley, with Harker watching it all the way to save.
Up the other end, Newcastle countered when Oliver Walters headed into the path of Longstaff in space. He took aim from distance, picking out the top corner but Boyce-Clarke flew across his goal to get a vital glove to it, taking it behind for a corner.
The match started to open up, with the knockout nature of the competition kicking in as the Royals tried to find their way back level against the Magpies.
But the visitors were holding firm at the back, giving no quarters as the young Royals struggled to break their opponents down in the second half, with chances remaining few and far between.
It was the Magpies who ended up being the aggressors as they tried to put the tie to bed in Woking. Substitute, Elias Sørensen jinked back and forth in the box before getting a shot away, with Odimayo putting his body on the line to block.
Longstaff found himself in space once more on the left shortly afterwards, trying to catch Boyce-Clarke off his line as he chipped over the goalkeeper, only landing on the roof of the net this time.
Unfortunately for the young Royals, they found going tough in the cup tie and bowed out of the competition at the hands of the Magpies.
But Scott Marshall's side will go again in the Semi-Finals of the Berks & Bucks Senior Cup Semi-Finals on Tuesday, travelling to face Maidenhead United at York Road.
Full time | Reading U23 1-2 Newcastle United U23
Reading U23: Boyce-Clarke, Howe, Medford-Smith, Holmes (c), McIntyre (Odimayo HT), Holsgrove, Pendlebury, Coleman (Shokunbi HT), Barrett, Frost, Rollinson.
Subs: Roberts, Green, Omolabi.
Goals: Barrett 25
Newcastle United U23: Harker, Sterry, Walters, Watts, Cass, Bailey (c), Allan (Bartlett 88), M. Longstaff, Touré (Young 78), Sangare, Longelo (Sørensen 62).
Subs: Huuhtanen, McEntee.
Goals: Sterry 22, Allan 37