Craig Gardner was excellent. He is always a good pro. He got around the pitch well, showed his quality and his set-play delivery was excellent.Richard Beale
The match was tight in the opening period, with Josh Andrews having two good chances at corners.
And although Blues made a fine start and dominated for 20 minutes after the interval, Reading made headway through Tyler Frost’s goal.
Thereafter, Frost went on to complete a hat-trick from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute and three minutes into time added-on.
Blues have lost to Fulham and Reading now in Group G, with four fixtures still to go.
“It was not a 3-0 game,” said Blues Senior Professional Development Coach Beale. “I thought the lads applied themselves very well, stuck to their task very well and the shape of the team was excellent, the work rate very good.
“They got the first goal, I said to the boys afterwards about key moments; there were a couple of good chances we didn’t take before that and their chance, they took it, which sucked the wind out of us a little bit.
“They then got a penalty, the first one, yes, 100 per cent a penalty; the second, possibly the worst decision I have ever seen in my life."
Beale continued: “They are a team that likes to bring you put of position, brings you out of shape, move you about.
“We had to be really disciplined in what we did. We hit them on the counter a couple of times, we were dangerous with our set plays, we knew we would be a threat. On another day we might have gone in half-time 2-0 up. But we didn’t, fair play to them. They took their chances.”
Craig Gardner boosted his fitness and sharpness levels with 69 minutes of action; Connal Trueman got a run out, too.
“Gards was excellent,” said Beale. “He is always a good pro. He got around the pitch well, showed his quality and his set-play delivery was excellent.
“A couple of chances came from those set-plays.
“We have got a couple of young lads in the team and they are going to get better and better, they will take those chances in future.”
On fielding such senior figures, they have to perform with the right attitude, said Beale.
“It’s vital for them to do that, it’s their career. It’s them getting match minutes for themselves. If you don’t do that then . . . Gards did that, Connal did that and it gets them closer to the manager’s team, which is one of the purposes of the game.”
Blues next fixture in the Premier League Cup is at Colchester United on 3 December.
Said Beale: “We have played two Category One teams. We have lost both games. However, this group will fight all the way in every game, all the way through. It would be great if we can scramble back up the group and go through.
“It is a good competition and it is a good test for us. They are different games to what we play week in, week out in the league programme.”
Blues resume PDL action on Friday with a trip to Thorp Arch to take on Leeds United (1pm). The fixture has been moved from its original date and venue of 19 November at Guiseley.