Reading’s Under-23 side fell to a marginal defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough at Madejski Stadium on Monday evening, as the visitors left with a 1-0 victory.
It was a fixture in which the Royals had most of the running and opportunities, but it was Boro who made theirs count as Rumarn Burrell snatched a goal early in the second period.
Werick Caetano was first to go close in the game as he entered the box on the left; after checking a couple of times to send defenders each way, his effort looped over the goalie but onto the top of the net.
Sone Aluko also went close as the Royals turned over possession high upfield, but his strike curled a matter of inches around the post. He also linked up well on a quick counter but slightly overhit his pass for Danny Loader, who kept the ball alive but couldn’t get a shot away.
Ramarni Medford-Smith also had a deflected effort saved by the goalkeeper’s feet after Caetano found him on the overlap.
But Reading, who had created the best chances, went behind shortly after the break. A corner was swung in from the left, nodded on by Tyrone O’Neill, and Burrell had the simplest of tasks to turn in at the far post.
The Royals had opportunities to get level but couldn’t take them. Aluko miscued a good opportunity to level quickly as a ball came in from the right from Loader, and Garath McCleary and Ryan East were both denied fantastic goals after each embarked on mazy solo runs.
Ethan Coleman sent in a low delivery which Aluko couldn’t make a true connection with, and when he did get a clean shot away, goalie Solomon Brynn made a smart stop with an outstretched leg.
It was destined not to be the Royals’ night when Brynn made an unbelievable stop from point-blank range in the final five minutes, keeping out McCleary as he stabbed a volley at goal from East’s dinked delivery.
East had a powerful drive held by the goalie late on, as the visitors claimed the points.
Full-time: Reading U23 0-1 Middlesbrough U23
Reading U23: Andression, Elva-Fountaine (Watson 76), Medford-Smith, Beeden, Nditi, East, Coleman (Osorio 86), Aluko, McCleary, Caetano (Azeez 68), Loader.
Unused subs: Driscoll, McGiff.
Middlesbrough U23: Brynn, Hood, Robinson, Gibson, O’Neill, Wearne, Dodds, Wood-Gordon, Folarin (Green 75), Almanzar, Burrell.
Unused subs: Flatters, Nelson, Cornet, Stephenson.