Reading U23s three-game unbeaten run came to an end as they fell to a 3-0 defeat, their first of the year, against a table-topping Leeds United U23s side at Thorp Arch.
The young Royals, who had made four changes from the side that beat West Bromwich Albion U23s last time out, were dealt with a sucker punch as Leeds hit three goals in nine minutes during the fast-paced Premier League 2 encounter.
In what were fairly even opening exchanges, Reading arguably had the better chances, with Thierry Nevers, Mamadi Camara and Kian Leavy all firing efforts on target from distance but to no avail.
Despite a positive first-half showing from the Royals, their hard work was somewhat undone after 44 minutes as the hosts broke the deadlock. Following good work down the right hand side from Crysencio Summerville, the Leeds winger delivered an inviting low cross, to which Liam McCarron applied the finishing touch.
Under a minute later, it was two, as Michael Stickland's attempt to tackle Joe Gerhardt gave Stuart McKinstry an opportunity to pounce, as he raced onto the misplaced ball before slotting beneath Coniah Boyce-Clark in the Royals goal.
Half-time: Leeds United U23 2-0 Reading U23
Seven minutes after the restart, Leeds added a third, as Boyce-Clarke was dispossesed by Gerhardt on the edge of his area, which allowed McKinstry capitalise and grab his second of the afternoon as he slotted home into the open net.
The Royals fought valiantly from there on out, and had chances to reduce the deficit, as both Nevers and captain Ryan East tried their luck only to be met by saves from fromer Champions League winning stopper Kiko Casilla.
Second-half substitute Imari Samuels had arguably the best chance of the game for Reading, as 16 minutes from time he was played through one-on-one with Casilla, but his side-footed effort was tipped onto the post by the experienced spaniard.
Next up for Mehmet Ali's side is a visit from second-placed Stoke City U23s who travel to Bearwood Park on Friday 19th February for a 2pm kick-off.
Full-time: Leeds United U23 3-0 Reading U23
Leeds United U23: Casilla, Drameh, Davis (Huggins 46'), Kenneh, Cresswell, Casey, Summerville, Jenkins (Dean 60'), Gelhardt (Allen 59'), McKinstry, McCarron
Unused subs: Caprille, Moore
Yellow: Cresswell 76'
Scorer: McCarron 44', McKinstry 45' 52',
Reading U23: Boyce-Clarke. Watson, Bristow, East, Stickland, Luzon, Leavy (Melvin-Lambert 63'), Lawless, Onen, Camara (Ajose 81'), Nevers (Samuels 68')
Unused subs: Holden, Ashcroft
Yellow: Onen 76', Samuels 84'