Reading's Under-23s were defeated 3-0 away at Stoke City on Monday night, with the Potters putting out several senior players in their line-up in the Premier League 2.
First-teamers in Mame Biram Diouf, Thibaud Verlinden, Tom Edwards and Reading legend Adam Federici were all in the starting XI for the hosts, making it tough going for a young Royals side at the bet365 Stadium.
Despite the difference in experience between the teams, the Royals held their own in play, but two free-kicks in three minutes proved to be pivotal in the match.
Senior players Verlinden and Edwards both stood over the set pieces and duly dispatched to put the Potters in front. Verlinden bent over the wall from the edge of the area to put it beyond Liam Driscoll's grasp in the top corner, before Edwards curled around the wall from a similar area and the ball crept over the line after clipping the post on its way in.
Unfortunately for the young Royals, the hosts were able to add a third on the hour mark when Patrick Jarrett slotted beyond Driscoll.
The Royals fought to get on the board on the day, with Ryan East and substitute Werick Caetano drawing saves from Federici in the Potters' goal.
A disappointing evening on the night for Scott Marshall's side, but a valuable experience nonetheless as several of our youngsters took on several members of the opposition's first team ranks.
Stoke City U23: Federici, Edwards (Wara 79), Corrigan, Sorensen, Forrester, McJannet, Verlinden (Pemberton 60), Dunwoody, Diouf, Jarrett, Ngoy (Kyeremateng 60).
Unused subs: Noukeu, Porter.
Goals: Verlinden (31), Edwards (34), Jarrett (59)
Reading U23: Driscoll, Medford-Smith, Nditi, Elva-Fountaine (Burley 62), Odimayo, East (c), Coleman (Caetano 68), Pendlebury, Lawless, Osorio, Azeez (Trialist 62).
Unused subs: Holden, Crooks.