Everton Under-18s saw their five-game unbeaten run ended with a 1-0 defeat at Reading on Saturday afternoon.
Kevin Sheedy's men headed to Hogwood Park on the back of victories over Norwich, Arsenal and Blackburn and draws with West Ham and West Brom - but the Royals would inflict their first loss since September.
A tight game offered few efforts of note, with Everton carving out the best of a flurry of half-chances in the first half.
The young Toffees started more slowly after the interval and a mistake at the back presented Reading with their decisive goal.
An undercooked back-pass caused the Blues to lose possession on the edge of their own box, gifting the hosts' striker a chance to slot home.
After the game, Sheedy admitted the superior stength of Reading's players played its part - but backed his squad to return to winning ways next week.
He said: "Physically, they were much bigger than us, as we're a very young side.
"All the goals we have conceded this year have been poor. We've created them in making mistakes rather than it being good play from our opponents and we have to remove that from our game.
"But the sign of a good team is picking yourself up after a defeat and that's what we'll be looking to do at home to Bolton next week."