MIDDLESBROUGH’S Under-23s crashed out of the Premier League Cup as they slumped to a 4-1 defeat to Reading.

Boro’s second string could hardly have asked for a better start as Bradley Fewster broke the deadlock in the ninth minute, stroking home after some good approach play from Marcus Tavernier.

However, Reading drew level towards the end of the first half when Joseph Mendes beat Aynsley Pears, and claimed the lead in the opening minute of the second period as Gabriel Asho converted from close range after Pears had tipped Robert Dickie’s effort onto the crossbar.

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Mendes claimed a third Reading goal shortly after the hour mark, and Boro’s misery was complete when Yakou Meite volleyed home with four minutes left.

Boro’s development team return to action on Thursday night when they travel to Whitby Town in the semi-finals of the North Riding Senior Cup.

Middlesbrough: Pears, McGhee, McGoldrick, Elsdon, Torrajon, Liddle (Hegarty 70), Mondal, Pattison, Fewster, Tavernier (Wheatley 81), Coulson (Maloney 70).