READING Under 23s staged a second-half comeback to beat Premier League Two Division Two leaders Southampton U23s 2-1.

A young Royals side containing 16-year-old keeper Coniah Boyce-Clark faced a more experiences Saints boasting ex-England stopper Fraser Forster between the sticks.

Saints were quickly on the front foot at Staplewood last Friday, but Boyce-Clark brilliantly tipped a Nathan Tella onto the bar and over.

Forster was soon tested at the other end when pushing a Michael Olise long-range effort around the post.

Boyce-Clark – who has been linked with Manchester United – denied Kayne Ramsay with his feet then Forster was called into action again to thwart Akinwale Odimayo and then Josh Barrett.

The visitors threatened first after the break, but Tom Holmes shot over from Remarni Medford-Smith’s assist.

But Saints took a controversial lead on 55 minutes when Johnson appeared to kick the ball out of Boyce-Clarke’s hands before slotting home.

Royals regrouped, sent on Teddy Howe and Tyler Frost, and went close when Olise fired straight at Forster.

However, Scott Marshall’s side equalised on 72 minutes when Frost sent Forster the wrong way from the penalty spot after Ramsay brought down Medford-Smith.

Then substitute Oliver Pendlebury gave Royals the lead nine minutes from time with a clinical finish from the edge of the area to secure the win.

Reading host Middlesbrough at Hogwood Park this Saturday (1pm ko).

Southampton U23: Forster, Ramsay, Vokins, O'Connor (c), O'Driscoll, Jones, Tella, Jankewitz (Smallbone 46), N'Lundulu (Afolabi 46), Hamblin, Johnson (Ferry 79). Subs not used: Cull, Klarer, Ferry.

Reading U23: Boyce-Clark, Balogun (Frost 55), Holmes, Odimayo, Medford-Smith, East (c), Holsgrove (Pendlebury 76), Rollinson (Howe 55), Olise, Barrett, Liddle. Subs not used: Andrésson, Burley.

READING FC Under 23s will host Newcastle United U23s in the last 16 of the Premier League Cup. A date and venue are yet to be announced.

READING FC Under 18s won 1-0 away at Swansea City in Premier League South.

Defender Lynford Sackey grabbed the decisive goal in the second half for David Dodds' youngsters who chalked up a fourth successive league victory.

Reading U18s: Andersson, Elva-Fountaine (Samuels 65), Nditi (c), Pemberton, Bristow, Tetek, Sackey (Talent, 81), Leavy, Dorsett (Hewitt 69), Osario, Melvin-Lambert. Sub not used: Collins.