Aston Villa’s Under-23s couldn’t string back-to-back wins together on Monday night, as they were beaten 3-1 by Reading at Bodymoor Heath.
Oliver Pendlebury’s free-kick gave the visitors a one-goal lead heading into the break, before Ryan East and Danny Loader extended the Royals' lead in the second half.
Louie Barry converted a well-taken effort late on, but it was in vain as Mark Delaney’s side look ahead to next week.
Villa made a positive start to proceedings, with Jack Birch and Jaden Philogene-Bidace both trying their luck from distance.
Femi Azeez of Reading had a similarly speculative effort, but the game’s first real chance fell to Barry.
The 16-year-old, who has caught the eye on more than one occasion since joining Mark Delaney’s ranks, picked up a hopeful punt forward on the right-hand side of the pitch.
He then managed to weave his way into the heart of the area before forcing Coniah Boyce-Clarke into a low save at his front post.
Barry was in the thick of the action shortly after but lost his balance at the vital moment when attempting to round Boyce-Clarke inside the area.
Against the run of play, the visitors found themselves ahead just before the half-hour mark.
Having won a free-kick right on the edge of the Villa area, Pendlebury drove his effort underneath the wall and into the bottom corner leaving Viljami Sinisalo helpless.
The goal seemed to have shocked the home side, and they had Sinisalo to thank just before half-time when Reading captain East’s powerful drive from distance was impressively palmed away to keep the score at 1-0.
After half-time, the game was turned well and truly on its head when Reading came flying out of the blocks.
Two goals in the space of 15 minutes all-but put the game to bed for the visitors, as East and Loader converted.
There was still time for Barry to cap a positive individual display with a goal of his own, but ultimately it was not to be for Mark Delaney’s men.
Villa: Sinisalo, Kesler, Revan, Burton, Bridge (C), Birch, Wright, Chukwuemeka (Archer 67), Barry (Sea 83), Ramsey, Philogene-Bidace
Unused Subs: Searle (GK), Hooper, Tait
Pendlebury (27), East (53), Loader (69), Barry (74)
The Under-23s return to Premier League 2 action next week, when they take on Newcastle United away from home on March 13th.