United’s youngsters were in fine form as goals from Kobbie Mainoo, Sam Mather and Charlie McNeill put United 3-0 up at half time. A spirited second half from the hosts wasn’t enough as the Reds advanced with a 3-1 win.
Lead coach Travis Binnion was pleased with his team’s performance and was happy that the main objective was achieved, but cited that further improvements are needed.
“We talked before the game about how these nights are unique. Getting through these nights breeds confidence, the learning experiences are like no other but we will have to be better in the next round to get through to the quarter-final, for sure.
“I’m a bit disappointed with the first and last 20 minutes. We knew Reading work hard and ask questions of you. We were fortunate not to concede in the first 20 minutes.
“In the middle period, we showed good moments of quality, scored good goals, [and] could have scored more. And we weren’t in total control of the game, but we had good control of the game.”
The Royals got their consolation goal in the 82nd minute courtesy of Ashton Greaver tucking in from a loose ball in the United box. Logan Pye then prevented a grandstand finish to the match with a crucial challenge in the box.
United’s youngsters will face either Everton or Sheffield United for a place in the quarter finals, with the match being played before 5 February 2022.