After a weekend in which every major Reading team lost, the Under-18s delivered some much needed good news to the tune of a 4-1 FA Youth Cup win away to Colchester on Tuesday night.
The Royals were on top early on in the last-16 tie but Colchester stole the advantage with a fine strike by Anderson, which came moments after Danny Loader hit the bar down the other end. Within ten minutes, the England youth international lost his markers to nudge the ball home and make it 1-1.
Before the half was over, Loader battled past a high defensive line to convincingly power home on the counter and put the Royals on course for the last eight.
In the second period, Jordan Holsgrove cracked the bar with a free-kick before Jack Nolan, recently called up to the England U17 squad, reacted fastest to a loose corner clearance to bury the third.
A neat passing move led to Loader rolling home his hat-trick goal and seal Reading’s passage to the quarter-finals, where they will face Arsenal at home after they beat Middlesbrough 3-2 on Friday night.
That match must take place on a date before Saturday March 3 and will set the winner up for a two-legged semi-final versus either Blackpool or Blackburn.