A late penalty miss from Harry Cardwell signalled a dramatic exit from the FA Youth Cup for the Royals on Friday evening, as Arsenal sealed a place in the Fourth Round.
Reading stared brightly as Tennai Watson scampered forward from right full back into the Gunners' area, but saw his low shot zip past the post.
The impressive American youngster Andrija Novakovich then embarked on a similar run to the edge of the box before being hauled down, before Noor Husin curled the resulting free-kick wide of the post.
At the other end Arsenal threatened. Captain Daniel Crowley saw his initial shot well blocked by Lewis Ward, before Stephy Mavididi rattled the crossbar with a looping header.
Novakovich then looped a header wide from ten yards, before the forward had a penalty appeal turned down as he tumbled in the box.
Indeed it was a spot kick that would bring the first goal of the game. Just after the hour mark Hammed Lawal was adjudged to have brought down the slaloming Chris Willcock, with the referee somewhat harshly pointing to the spot.
Crowley made no mistake, smashing into the bottom corner from 12 yards.
Gunners sub Kaylen Hinds came close to doubling his sides lead as he curled wide in the 82nd minute, whilst Jake Sheppard's vicious strike was somehow kept out by Arsenal 'keeper Huddart in the dying stages.
Then the real drama. In the final throes of four minutes of stoppage time, Jake Sheppard superbly jinked into the area before falling under a strong challenge and earning his side a heart stopping spot kick.
But it wasn't to be. The usually clinical Harry Cardwell blazed his penalty over the bar - and it was the Gunners who progressed to the Fourth Round. No Youth Cup history this year, but certainly no disgrace against an outfit that posted players with Champions League appearances under their belts.
Reading: Ward, Lawal, Watson, Osho, Jules, Collins, Husin, Sheppard, Davis, Cardwell, Novakovich
Subs: Bennett, Southwood, Barrett, Smith, Andresson
Arsenal: Huddart, Johnson, Robinson, Sheaf, O'Connor, Dobson, Eyoma (Hinds 75), Zelalem, Mavididi, Crowley, Willock
Subs: Hinds, Keto, Smith, Donovan, Chatzitheodoridis