Reading were knocked out of the FA Cup by non-league Eastleigh, conceding a stoppage-time goal after hauling themselves back into the game following an off-colour performance.

In a first half dominated by the hosts, Paul McCallum put the Spitfires ahead just minutes after Reading supporters had interrupted the game in protest against the owner.

Eastleigh had a goal ruled out for offside and two one-versus-one chances saved in an impressive display, but second-half changes added impetus for Ruben Selles' men who had chances towards the end of the second half.

Starting the more positive of the two sides, it looked as though the hosts struggled to keep up with the tempo of the League One outfit. Femi Azeez had the first chance of the game but fired his effort high over the crossbar. Former Royal Jake Taylor had the game’s first shot on target, spinning and volleying into the arms of Joel Pereira.

As has become the norm, play was stopped in the 16th minute as hundreds of tennis balls rained onto the pitch from the 1,500 away supporters in protest against owner Dai Yongge. Within three minutes of the restart, the hosts had put their noses in front. Ben Elliott lost possession and was beaten for pace and skill by former Notts County favourite Enzio Boldewijn. Scott Quigley delivered a low ball across the box and McCallum was lingering with intent at the back post, stabbing the ball past Pereira.

The Spitfires had their tails up and Reading failed to create anything of note going forward. McCallum thought he had doubled the advantage with a header at the back post, but the linesman ruled his effort out as offside to spare the Royal blushes. It should have been out of sight in stoppage time as Quigley was fed through one-versus-one. Baring down on goal, Pereira stayed on his feet and managed to block the effort with a strong foot to repel the latest attempt on goal.

Making some changes at the break and early in the second half, Reading grew into the game and began to make the non-league outfit defend. However, it could have been game over within 10 minutes of the restart as a dangerous cross found Quigley free at the back post and the Royals again relied on a big save from former Manchester United keeper Pereira.

From the hour mark onwards, it was predominantly Reading doing most of the attacking- to no avail. Clinton Mola saw his fizzed cross come out the other side of the box after Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan failed to make contact in the six-yard box. Lewis Wing had an effort on target and forced Joe McDonnell into a low save, with subsequent penalty appeals waved away after the midfielder was taken down when attempting to follow up on the rebound. Left-back Mola had a clear sight of goal after Paul Mukariu nodded down another cross, but his effort did not even hit the target from the edge of the box.

The biggest chance for Reading to level the scores was from an Amadou Mbengue cross, finding Sam Smith in the box. The striker, in great form in front of goal, somehow nodded his effort over the crossbar. Eventually, the pressure told and after bombarding the box Azeez fired an effort into the top corner from the edge of the box to haul his side back into the tie. Both sides pushed for a second goal, creating a frantic closing 10 minutes of action in a blood-and-thunder cup clash.

Just as looked as though the match would ebb out into a replay, Chris Maguire's corner caused havoc in the Reading box and McCallum stabbed home in the melee.

Falling foul of non-league opponents yet again, it will bring back haunting memories of an exit to Kidderminster Harriers in 2021 under Veljko Paunovic.