Garath McCleary, Sone Aluko and Danny Loader were among the starters at the Madejski on Monday evening as the U23’s fell to a 1-0 defeat to Middlesbrough.

Reading had three good chances to open the scoring in the first half. Werick Caetano found the roof of the net after some neat work on the left-hand side.

Aluko then came close, curling just wide after the young Royals side regained possession in Middlesbrough territory. Medford-Smith was the next to come close, seeing his deflected effort well saved by Brynn.

It was the visitors who opened the scoring after the break against the run of play. Tyrone O’Neill rose highest in the Reading box to meet a set piece, flicking the ball into the path of Rumarn Burrell who converted from close range.

Despite Reading pressing to level the scores, it wasn’t to be for Scott Marshall’s men. Sone Aluko spurned a couple of good chances and Garath McCleary and Ryan East both came close after solo runs.

But it was the visitors who held on for all three points, leaving Reading in ninth spot in Premier League 2.