A solid comeback from Reading Under-23s saw them edge out Southampton Under-23s in the last-32 encounter of the Checkatrade trophy, requiring a 4-3 penalty shootout win after a 1-1 draw in 90 minutes.
Jake Cooper captained the side which saw Anssi Jakkola take to between the sticks, with first-teamers Sandro Wieser, Yakou Meite, and Josh Barrett all joined by a selection of players yet to make their debut.
Reading starting XI vs Southampton: Jaakkola, Watson, Medford-Smith, Cooper, Keown, Wieser, Rinomhota, Barrett, Loader, Meite, Smith. pic.twitter.com/lPSLc3wEvJ— Reading FC (@ReadingFC) December 21, 2016
An end to end first half hour saw Cooper booked for a challenge having made a much-needed late tackle moments earlier, and the hosts' pressure paid off when Lloyd Isgrove, a key player in Barnsley's promotion last season, opened the scoring on 30 minutes with a clinical finish.
Into the second period, Reading started brightly and earned a quick reward as Niall Keown headed in a 50th minute equaliser, and it was young midfielder Barrett who almost completed the turnaround late on as the rain hammered the south coast. Sadly, one effort was well saved and another smacked the bar.
Into penalties, and Jakkola denied Southampton's first two spot-kicks as Cooper, Wieser, and Tennai Watson all scored. Youngster Tyler Frost missed his penalty, but Meite's sealed the win at 4-3 and now the U23s travel to Yeovil's Huish Park on the week beginning January 9.