A dramatic second half saw Reading's Under-23s take the lead three times against Charlton Athletic, eventually winning 3-2 at Madejski Stadium on Thursday afternoon.
Teddy Howe had put the Royals in front on the stroke of half time, before a sublime Aaron Henry free kick had the visitors level.
Adam Liddle replaced João around the hour mark and struck twice to earn all three points for the Royals, extending their lead at the top of Group A in the Premier League Cup.
Reading lined up with Lucas João up front, with the attacker gaining match minutes as he recovers from an injury that has kept him out of first team action for the past month.
The young Royals started brightly in fine drizzling conditions at Madejski Stadium, looking to assert themselves on the game early on.
Scott Marshall's side were seeing a lot of the ball as the top two sides in Group A of the Premier League Cup faced off, and almost took the lead when João's header from a corner rebounded off the post around the quarter-hour mark.
Michael Olise went close for the Royals shortly afterwards, darting and dancing his way through the Charlton defence to get into a shooting position 20 yards out, but his effort narrowly cleared the crossbar.
After that, chances were at a premium for both sides. Neither side was able to break the other down and both goalkeepers remained relatively untroubled for a significant portion of the half.
Charlton came relatively close to an opener three minutes before the break, as an Aaron Henry cross to the far post was headed into the ground by Kenneth Yao, with the bouncing ball landing on Jökull Andrésson's net.
Although it looked like the half would peter out, the Royals struck just before the interval. Werick Caetano powered an effort at goal from range, forcing a low save from Nathan Harness to his left, but Howe was there to follow up first and slot in from close range.
Half-time | Reading U23 1-0 Charlton Athletic U23
The second half started with plenty of pace from both sides, with Andrésson being alert to save off his line when a low ball into the area from Charles Clayden came into his path.
Up the other end, Barrett stood over a free kick that he got up and over the wall, but Harness in the Charlton goal was able to hold on.
But out of nowhere, the visitors were level. After a foul from Tyler Frost 20 yards out, Henry managed to bend his free-kick into the top corner - leaving Andrésson with no chance as Charlton equalised against the run of play.
João was withdrawn shortly afterwards, safely getting an hour of football under his belt as Adam Liddle came on in his place. Ryan East was also brought on, in place of Jack Nolan.
It wasn't long before Reading had themselves back in front, though. Liddle got himself in a good position in the box with his back to goal, playing back to Frost who played him in, taking a neat touch on the turn and firing low past Harness.
The game had come to life by that point, with Charlton finding another equaliser just eight minutes later from the spot, after the referee adjudged for Andre Burley to have fouled his opposite number in the penalty area.
Andrésson got a strong hand to the penalty, but Quitirna Junior's spot kick crawled over the line via the post to restore parity again.
Up the other end, Tyler Frost was played through in the box by Michael Olise, with Frost opening up his body to shoot beyond Harness, and only inches wide of the post.
With added time looming, the Royals struck again to take all three points in the group. A low ball into the six-yard area from Howe was turned in by Liddle with a well-improvised piece of skill from close range, in a well-earned win for the young Royals.
Have a look and see how he did it with a piece of trickery 😱 pic.twitter.com/6yxFUWQI7x— Reading FC Academy (@RFCAcademy) November 28, 2019
Full-time | Reading U23 3-2 Charlton Athletic U23
Reading U23: Andrésson, Howe, Beeden, Burley, Coleman (c), Frost, Nolan (East 69), Caetano, Olise (Elva-Fountaine 90+5), Barrett, João (Liddle 63).
Subs: Boyce-Clarke, Nditi.
Goals: Howe (45), Liddle (72, 90+1)
Charlton Athletic U23: Harness, Yao (c), Aldoo, Henry, French, Mingi, Clayden, Sarpong-Wiredu, Odoh (Powell 88), Quitirna Junior, Isiaka (Ocran 88).
Subs: Harvey, Buhari, Afrane-Kesey.
Goals: Henry (62), Quitirna Junior (80, PEN)