Stanley youth’s magical FA Youth Cup journey came to an end as they fell to a 3-0 defeat away at Reading.
A goal on the brink of half-time increased the magnitude of the task at hand on a frustrating evening at the Madejski stadium.
Two second-half strikes condemned Keith Browns men to defeat in a game of limited opportunities.
The Reds almost took the lead inside 12 seconds as Nana Owusu sold his goalkeeper short with a backpass and James Jenkins pounced, prodding inches past the post.
The hosts were restricted to long-range efforts early on as Rob Dickie sent a dipping volley over the crossbar before Tariqe Fosu smashed high and wide.
James Wolfenden denied what looked a certain goal on the 18th minute, as Fosu got to the byline and delivered a superb ball for the awaiting Harry Cardwell, but the full-back was superbly positioned to scoop the ball clear.
Reading should have been ahead but for the wasteful finishing of Jack Stacey. The midfielder firstly cut in from the right channel and arrowed a shot across goal in which Wolland watched wide.
The second in as many minutes was clear cut as Cardwell squared the ball 12-yards out and with the goal at his mercy Stacey managed to drag the ball wide.
In first-half stoppage time Wolland had to be at his best to keep out Cardwell’s hard drive at his near-post, and from the following corner Daniel Hennigan cleared Fosu’s effort off the line.
But the deadlock was broken in the third minute of time added on as Sammi Fridjonsson poked the ball into the path of Stacey, who made no mistake in turning the ball over the line from two-yards to give the Royals the half-time lead.
Keenan Quansah made a crucial interception after the restart to prevent Fridjonsson getting on the end of Stacey’s dangerous cross.
Superb reactions from Wolland denied Cardwell as the attacker redirected Stacey’s wayward effort, before Aaron Kuhl’s deflected free-kick needed the Stanley stoppers fingertips to help it over the crossbar.
The Royals doubled their leads rather fortuitously on the 69th minute through Owusu.
The full-back drove down the left flank and fired a shot goalwards which cannoned back off the upright before striking Wolland on the back and trickling over the goal line.
Nine minutes later Cardwell made it three converting Stacey’s cross from the right from point-blank range.
The visitors rallied late on as Nathan Webb struck a left-footed shot wide of goal and Dieter Downey nearly caught Lewis Ward out at his near post but his free-kick landed in the side netting.
Stanley can take great pride in their achievement this season being the only side in the history of the club to reach beyond the second round.