READING FC Under 23s suffered their first loss of 2019 with a surprise 1-0 reverse at bottom club Sunderland.

Scott Marshall’s promotion-chasing youngsters were edged out at the Stadium of Light in a recent Premier League 2 Division 2 clash.

Nevertheless, Tom Holmes, 18, got 70 minutes under his belt as he returns from a lengthy injury and Marshall’s side were in the game for long periods.

They did most of the attacking in the first period but struggled to break down a resolute Black Cats defence.

The home side also threatened at times and they capitalised around the hour mark when Jack Diamond fired past Royals keeper Liam Driscoll for what proved to be the winner.

Royals pressed for an equaliser in the latter stages, but a series of crosses and shots failed to trouble Sunderland keeper Max Stryjek as the hosts secured only their second league win of the season.

Reading’s fourth defeat of the campaign saw them drop to third in the table on 30 points after 16 games and three points behind leaders Southampton.

Reading travel to Birmingham City this Friday when they will look to maintain their 100 per cent record in the Premier League Cup (2pm ko).

A draw against the Blues would send Royals through to the next round.

Sunderland U23: Stryjek, Taylor, Young, Hunter, Hume, Mumba, Mbunga-Kimpioka, J Connolly (Evans 90), Neill, L Connelly, Diamond. Subs not used: Bale, Leonard, Storey, Johnston.

Reading U23: Driscoll, Howe, Odimayo, Holmes (Burley 71), Green, East, Lawless (Olise 64), Rollinson, Pendlebury (Nolan 71), Barrett, Liddle. Subs not used: Andrésson, Balogun.