Colchester United's best FA Youth Cup in thirteen years came to an end on Tuesday night - but it needed a touch of international class to see them out of the competition.
The U's had taken the lead through a fine Callum Anderson strike, but two pivotal moments swung the game in Reading's favour.
Having levelled things up, Royals and England U17s striker Danny Loader then got his and his side's second on the stroke of half time to put them in front.
And then visiting keeper Adam Desbois pulled off a superb save just after half time to stop Dean Ager levelling things up.
After that, Reading stretched their legs and Loader completed his hat-trick just after Jack Nolan had taken the game away from the U's at 3-1.
The Royals had started the game on the front foot, with home goalkeeper Harry Seaden having to be strong to see a couple of early efforts.
And the U's got their noses in front on 26 minutes as Anderson stepped onto George Keys' pass to strike home a fine effort.
Seaden fended away Jordan Holsgrove's inswinging corner that was goalbound, but the Royals did get level on 37 minutes.
Loader gave an early indication of his class as he brought down a high ball, turned sharply in the box and buried his effort into the bottom corner.
And he got his second on the stroke of half time as a long ball over the top caught out the U's defence and allowed him to slot home.
At the start of the second period, Ager thought he had drawn the U's level with a rocket of a shot destined for the top corner, but Desbois pulled off a stunning save to retain the advantage for Reading.
That proved vital when Reading got their third with fifteen minutes to go.
Seaden had made a good save to tip over a fierce Nolan shot, but the Reading winger was on hand to slide the ball home through a host of bodies from the resulting corner.
Before the U's had a chance to catch their breath, Reading made it four as a flowing move ended with Loader completing his hat-trick.
Despite the three goal deficit, the U's finished the game the stronger and can take plenty of positives from a memorable run in this year's competition.