A YOUNG Reading FC Under 18s fell to a 6-2 home defeat to Arsenal in the Under 18s Premier League.

Boss David Dodds handed debuts to two players from the U15s on Saturday, and Arsenal’s extra experience showed as they raced into a three-goal lead in the first 15 minutes at Hogwood Park.

Zak Swanson, Folarin Balogun and Josh Benson all netted for the visitors to put them in a commanding position.

But Reading pulled one back through Thierry Nevers and then saw Michael Olise hit the post.

Had that gone in it may have been a different story, but the Gunners pulled further out of sight after the break thanks to further goals from Swanson, Balogun and Robbie Burton before Tommy Stevens notched Reading’s second late on.

Royals Academy coach Ryan Williams said: “It is great that if you’re doing well and openings arise, then you will get an opportunity to play at the next level.

“Ultimately it was a great learning experience for our young team against a good Arsenal team.

“We asked the players to go away and reflect individually about their performance, learn from it to and become stronger from the experience.”

Reading: J.Andresson, Pemberton, Omolabi (Mohamed 65), Brooking, Wilson, Buchanan (Stevens 84), Simmo, Olise, Faniyan, Wallace, Nevers (Hansen 43). Subs not used: Roberts, Saydee.

Arsenal: Virginia, Clarke, Ballard (Spencer-Adams 78), Medley, Omole, Smith, Benson, McEneff (Burton 66), Olayinka (Beckford 75), Swanson, Balogun. Subs not used: Thompson, Barden.