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Colchester United 0-1 Reading FC (AET): Initial Reaction

Reading booked a place in round two of the League Cup with a gritty 1-0 win at Colchester that came at the cost of some tired legs and a potential injury to a striker. Here's our initial reaction.

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter, Taylor, McShane, Ferdinand, Williams, Quinn, Norwood, Blackman, Robson-Kanu (Samuel 82 (Tshibola 95)), Sa (Cox 82)

Steve Clarke shuffled the deck around a little for this one but perhaps not as much as we've seen in previous years due to the lack of viable alternatives in a depleted Reading squad. Ali Al-Habsi got the nod in goal, Andrew Taylor replaced Jordan Obita at left-back while Anton Ferdinand and Hal Robson-Kanu featured at the expense of Michael Hector and Aaron Tshibola.

Sam Walker in the Colchester goal did a fine job of keeping Reading out in the first 45, making some good stops from Nick Blackman and Danny Williams but Reading once again seemed to struggle in front of goal. Thankfully the defence had a solid night, restricting the U's to just three shots in 120 minutes. It's safe to say entertainment was at a premium for the 2,706 fans inside the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Into the second period and again Walker was the hero for the home side, pulling off a double save from Stephen Quinn who'd profited from some good work from Robson-Kanu but it wasn't enough to break the deadlock on a dull night in Essex.

So the 595 travelling Reading fans were treated to 'The Only Way Is Extra Time' and thankfully they were rewarded as Chris Gunter struck with just four minutes remaining to send us into the hat for round two.

That progression may have come at a cost for Steve Clarke who saw Dominic Samuel stretchered off with what could be a hamstring injury but at the time of writing there's no update on his status for Leeds on Sunday.

Taking the positives it's a clean sheet and a win but once again it's worrying to see basically a full strength attacking lineup struggle to break down a fairly ordinary defence.

We'll have plenty more analysis on the game as well as some player ratings up a little later on today so stay tuned for that one.