Watford Under-21s saw their Premier League Cup hopes go up in smoke today (Friday) as they were thrashed 6-1 by Reading in a last 16 tie that was played behind closed doors.

The Hornets were aiming to book a quarter-final match against Wolverhampton Wanderers but five second-half goals for Reading saw Dave Hughes’ side exit the competition.

Mathias Ranegie, who joined Watford in a permanent transfer from Udinese earlier in January, started the match up front while Tommie Hoban played his first semi-competitive match in almost a year after recovering from a long-term Achilles injury.

The fixture was originally due to be played at Basingstoke Town but after being called off three times due to the weather, the contest took place at Reading’s training ground with fans unable to watch.

Reading took a 1-0 lead into half-time thanks to a goal from Craig Tanner and the Royals extended their advantage to three before the hour as Tarique Fosu-Henry found the net and Tanner added his second.

The young Hornets were given hope when Jazzi Barnum-Bobb’s cross was diverted in for an own-goal to make it 3-1 but Tanner’s third, and two late goals from Gozie Ugwu, ensured it was Reading who progressed.

Reading Under-21s: Moore, Long, Griffin, Kelly, Sweeney, Keown, Stacey, Kuhl, Ugwu, Tanner, Fosu-Henry

Subs: Lincoln, Hyam, Fridjonsson, Shaughnessy, Murombedzi

Watford Under-21s: Woods, Hoban, Brown, O'Nien; Barnum-Bobb, Hope, Byers, Dillon, Kyprianou; Jakubiak, Ranegie

Subs: Johnson, Martin, Doherty, Rosenthal, Mensah