Manchester United's Under-18s slipped to a first away defeat since mid-February when hosts Reading scored the only goal of a closely-fought game.
The Reds never really got going, playing in changeable conditions against a big and strong side still blessed with enough skill to secure all the points. The Royals certainly had much the better of the early stages of the first half, twice hitting the crossbar. Firstly, Craig Tanner's curling free-kick bounced off the frame of the goal, before Jonny Sutherland turned Jake Cooper's effort onto the woodwork. Sutherland was also called into action soon after, denying Uche Ikpeazu with a brave save down at the Reading forward's feet.
As the first half went on, the Reds came back into the game, with Ben Pearson's fine shot being pushed away by Royals keeper Dan Lincoln and Sam Byrne also going close with a long-range effort. James Wilson was unable to convert United's best opening of the match when put through one-on-one by Andreas Pereira, with Lincoln making a fine diving save.
Both sides had opportunities to score at the start of the second half, as Pereira saw a long range effort deflect over, whilst Sheridan Murombedzi spurned a fantastic opportunity when he fired over from eight yards.
The hosts finally broke the deadlock just after the hour mark, as defender Dominic Hyam escaped the attentions of Patrick McNair to fire home Tanner's right-wing corner from close range. Tanner's setpieces continued to cause problems, and he was only denied the game's second goal by the fingertips of Sutherland, the Reds' outstanding performer.
United continued to push for an equaliser though, with Pereira inevitably involved. The Belgium-born midfielder was unlucky to not level twice in quick succession, before his drilled free-kick looped up and over the bar via a deflection.
As conditions quickly worsened, the hosts were unlucky not to double their lead in stoppage time, but again Sutherland was on hand to deny De’Jaune Taylor-Crossdale with a magnificent save at his near post. However, the Royals had