COLCHESTER United under-18 lead coach Chris Llewellyn admits the FA Youth Cup defeat against Reading will mark the end of the road for some of his young players at the Weston Homes Community Stadium.

Decisions have already been made on which academy players will be retained by the U’s for next season, with some being released and now looking for pastures new.

It means Colchester’s 4-1 loss in their fifth-round could be the last time some of the under-18 players represent the club.

But Llewellyn says they should be proud of their efforts, after the U's made its further progress in the competition for 13 years.

Llewellyn said: “There’s a few of them for whom that was maybe their last game for Colchester.

“Decisions have been made on their future and it’s a disappointing end for some of them.

“But they can only be proud of their achievements – I’m proud as a coach, I know the club are proud and the whole of Colchester should be proud.

“It’s a long time since they got to this stage of the competition.

“I think we went out on a high and we gave everything we got in the competition.

“Hopefully we had a few lads on the pitch that will play in the first team and that’s what it’s all about.

“We’ll be looking at how the lads respond and some of them will be going back out on loan again to more senior environments and the younger lads will stay with us.

“The one thing about football is that there’s always the next game.”

Callum Anderson gave Colchester a 26th-minute lead against Reading but Danny Loader's brace late in the first half gave the visitors 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.”