Colchester United under-18 lead coach Chris Llewellyn believes his young players can be proud of their efforts after they bowed out of the FA Youth Cup tonight.

The U's lost 4-1 at home to Reading to go out of the competition at the fifth-round stage, in front of a crowd of 337 on a bitterly cold night at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Callum Anderson gave Colchester a 26th-minute lead but Danny Loader's brace late in the first half gave the Royals the lead at the break.

And further goals from Loader - to complete his hat-trick - and Jack Nolan completed the visitors' win, leaving the U's disappointed.

Llewellyn said: "The lads are disappointed with the result because it was a big occasion for us and the club and they gave it everything they had.

"They believed that they could go and win the game and we gave it a good go but failed at the last hurdle.

"We're really proud of the boys and they can be proud of their achievements.

"I think we've come a long way and hopefully they can learn from these occasions.

"They've had five good games at the stadium which will hopefully stand them in good stead for the future.

"Reading to their credit are a great side and they were worthy winners.

"The plan was to keep going after we took the lead but the two goals just before half-time swung the momentum in their favour and to be honest, we didn't really recover from it.

"We had a go at the start of the second half but then two quick goals won the game for them and we were just playing catch up.

"Credit to them - they had some quality in the right areas and they exploited us."