The Royals’ Under-23 side began their Premier League Cup group stage with a win at Colchester United on Friday evening, triumphing 3-1 in Essex.
Ben House, Josh Barrett and Tyler Frost each found the net for Reading, while the sole reply came from the penalty spot courtesy of Noah Chilvers.
Scott Marshall's side included some fledgling talents from our Under-18 squad, including 16-year-old Oli Pendlebury for a U23 debut, as well as fellow first-year scholar Michael Olise on the bench.
The Royals were dominant from the off, yet breaking the deadlock proved troublesome. Barrett and Jack Nolan each had good opportunities in the first period, only for Bailey Vose to produce a couple of smart stops.
At the other end, Anssi Jaakkola did what he needed to when Eoin McKeown won a powerful header inside the box – the Finnish stopper reacted well to keep the effort out.
But Reading’s pressure finally told shortly before the break when Ben House grabbed his fifth goal in seven games by whipping an unstoppable effort past the outstretched dive of Vose and high into the net.
The U’s had opportunities to get level after the interval, but Andre Hassanally’s effort was kept out by Jaakkola and Ryan Gondoh forced another stop.
Instead, Reading’s lead was extended in the final quarter of an hour when Barrett struck firmly to beat the goalkeeper, doubling his side’s lead.
Any hopes of a comeback were dashed when Frost netted Reading’s third in the 89th minute, as the hosts failed to clear their lines sufficiently and the ball was squared for the midfielder to tuck in.
The U’s had the last say when they grabbed a consolatory goal in added time; Gondoh was felled in the box by Tom McIntyre, and Chilvers stuck away the resulting penalty.
The three points belonged to Reading, however – a terrific start to Group G for our Under-23s.
Full-time: Colchester United U23 1-3 Reading U23
Colchester United U23: Vose, Akolbire, Kazeem, Cornish, Kensdale, Forino, Gondoh, Chilvers, McKeown, Hasanally, Sims.
Subs: Coulter, Randell, Sayer, Hutchinson, Charles.
Reading U23: Jaakkola, Balogun, Medford-Smith, East, Odimayo, McIntyre, Frost, Pendlebury, House, Nolan, Barrett.
Subs: Burley, Driscoll, Olise, Howe, Liddle.