READING FC Under 23s suffered a 4-1 defeat to Newcastle United in their penultimate Premier League 2 Division 2 match of the season.

Royals fielded a strong side at Adams Park on Monday night in their first competitive game for almost a month, with first-team squad players Sam Smith, Joseph Mendes, Tennai Watson, Tom Holmes and Andy Rinomhota all starting.

Scott Marshall’s hosts threatened first when Rinomhota nodded Ryan East’s corner to Tyler Frost who forced the best out of Magpies keeper Nathan Harker.

But Royals fell behind when Adam Wilson punished a defensive mix-up by chipping Liam Driscoll to put the visitors in front.

Reading almost levelled moments later when Harker made another vital stop to deny Frost following good work from Mendes and Watson.

But Marshall’s men faced a mountain to climb when Newcastle scored twice more in 10 minutes after the break to go 3-0 up.

Reading Chronicle:

Under 23s head coach, Scott Marshall.

Owen Bailey doubled their lead by poking home from a free-kick, then Luke Charman headed in a looping cross for the third.

Frost raised hopes of a Royals comeback when he reduced the deficit with a strong run and clinical finish to make it 3-1.

But the Magpies quickly regained their three-goal cushion when Stefan O’Connor rose highest to head home a free-kick.

Reading threw on England U17 international Jack Nolan for the closing stages and saw Frost miss the target with only Harker to beat and then have a goal ruled out for offside after good work from Teddy Howe.

The defeat leaves Reading fifth in the table ahead of their final game of the campaign against Stoke City which takes place at Madejski Stadium next Monday (7pm ko).

Reading U23: Driscoll, Odimayo (Nolan 73), Osho, Holmes, Medford-Smith, East, Watson (Howe 65), Rinomhota, Mendes (Rollinson 60), Frost, Smith. Subs not used: Desbois, Coleman. Booked: Odimayo, Holmes, Howe.

Newcastle United U23: Harker, Williams, Gillesphey, Bailey, Yarney, O'Connor, Fernandez (Allan 67), Hunter, Charman (El-Mhanni 70), Barlaser (Sangare 83), Wilson. Subs not used: Kitchen, Langley. Booked: Wilson.