Reading U21s 1-2 Derby County U21sA birthday goal for winger Tariqe Fosu wasn't enough to prevent the Royals U21s from falling to a 2-1 defeat at home to Derby County on Wednesday evening.
On a bitterly cold Bonfire Night at the Soccer Am Stadium, there were fireworks early on as the Rams took the lead through captain Farrend Rawson - who rocketed a header home as a free-kick was whipped in from the left wing.
However Martin Kuhl's youngsters responded instantly. Aaron Tshibola fed Dominic Samuel on the right wing and his cross fell to Fosu, who acrobatically steered home on his 19th birthday.
Dan Lincoln was in fantastic form on the night, pulling off a stunning save to tip Paul Coutts' low drive onto the post before the break, whilst Samuel had a chance to give his side the lead as he scampered through on goal only to slice wide under pressure.
The home side were disrupted as Sean Long and skipper Aaron Kuhl were both forced off through injury, and in truth they never regained any momentum in the second period.
County were in control as Kwame Thomas nodded over the top of the bar before Spanish U19 international Ivan Calero fired beyond Lincoln with 20 minutes remaining.
Derby held on to seal all three points, and Reading will look to recover as they travel away to face Aston Villa in their next league fixture on December 1st.
Reading U21s: Lincoln, Long (Dickie 41), Griffin, Tshibola, Keown, Sweeney, Stacey, Kuhl (Shaughnessy 44), Samuel, Edwards, Fosu
Subs not used: Ward, Kelly, Cardwell
Derby County U21s: Roos, Hendrie, Lowe, Koblenz, Rawson, Hanson, Santos, Coutts, Thomas, Calero, Bennett
Subs: Lelan, Etheridge, Sharpe, Bunjaku, McDonald