Goalkeeper Chloe Morgan had a sensational game despite the home side losing.
“It’s been a while since I’ve got on the pitch and got those minutes back,” she said. “It's always an absolute pleasure to be on the pitch and be out there with the girls.
“I’m buzzing to go out there and make a difference on the field.
“This was going to be a difficult game and we knew that, but our priority now is the league. I have absolutely full hope in the squad that we're going to go out and win.”
It was kick-off under the lights at Hayes Lane, with both sides looking to get a positive for a chance of going through to the later stages.
Reading started well, controlling the game's opening stages. Natasha Dowie - daughter of Bob and neice of Iain - had the first opportunity. Forward Justine Vanhaevermaet drove into the box and crossed it through to Dowie whose shot was collected by 'keeper Morgan.
The away side settled into the game better than the Eagles, pressing on the attack, however the defence remained strong to keep the game level.
After a sequence of chances, Reading finally broke the deadlock in the 33rd minute with a goal from Gemma Evans. Lily Woodham delivered a ball to the corner which was met by Gemma Evans who tucked her header in at the far post.
The visitors nearly double their lead just three minutes later when Emma Harries ran down the right hand side and cut the ball back to Dowie, whose first touch found Harding. However her shot went just over the post.
Half-time came and saw the Eagles one goal behind the Royals.