- Vetokele's header hands Addicks lead
- Norwood denied equaliser by post
- Mackie and Blackman close to equalising
One header near the end of the first half was all it took to separate the sides at Madejski Stadium this afternoon, as Igor Vetokele's finish handed Charlton all three points.
The Belgian-Angolan glanced a header inside the left upright with Charlton's first attempt on target six minutes before the interval and there was no way back for the Royals.
Jamie Mackie forced Stephen Henderson into a fingertip save, Oliver Norwood was denied by the woodwork and Nick Blackman fizzed wide late on, but Reading could take nothing from a tight game with few clear cut chances.
Reading: Federici, Kelly (Blackman 79), Gunter (c), Pearce, Hector, Williams, Norwood, Obita, Mackie (Pogrebnyak 87), Cox (Robson-Kanu 77), Murray
Subs: Andersen, Cooper, Akpan, Taylor.
Yellow: Cox, Obita
Charlton Athletic: Henderson, Solly, Fox, Ben Haim, Bikey; Buyens, Cousins, Jackson (c); Harriott (Tucudean 80), Gudmundsson (Bulot 88), Vetokele (Coquelin 64).
Subs: Pope, Wilson, Gomez, Onyewu.
Yellow: Gudmundsson, Jackson.
Referee: Mr Neil Swarbrick
Attendance: 16,989 (1,449 away)
The first opening fell Reading's way, Kelly receiving the ball back from Mackie on the right flank and crossing into the box where Murray rose 12 yards out to loop a header just over the crossbar.
Stephen Henderson did well to punch a dangerous inswinging Norwood corner soon after and the Royals were bossing things in the opening 15 minutes without creating a clear cut chance to test Henderson in the Addicks goal.
With 20 minutes on the clock, Reading carved a path through the Charlton defence with some precise passing and Obita cut a cross back looking for Williams, but it was cut out by a sliding Charlton leg in the nick of time.
Charlton were playing some tidy stuff themselves though and Vetokele made good progress down the right to pull the ball back to Callum Harriott near the penalty spot. He sidefooted a first time effort goalwards but Kelly got the block in and Federici was untroubled.
With half an hour played, Cox stole in to win possession and fed Murray in space, but before he could turn and shoot, former Royal Andre Bikey strode across to cover and hack the ball clear.
Williams tried his luck a couple of time from distance, the second a volley that skidded wide of the right post, but in torrential rain glaring chances were proving hard to engineer.
Yet five minutes before half time, Igor Vetokele
broke the deadlock, glancing a header past Federici and inside the left post to hand Bob Peeters' side the lead.
Before the break, Reading twice came close to levelling though. Cox chested the ball down from a throw and turned towards goal, only to see his right-footed effort deflect off a Charlton head and fly across the face of goal and inches wide of the far post, with Murray careering in to try to get a decisive touch.
From the resultant corner, Michael Hector rose highest at the far post but could only direct his close range header behind for a goal kick and the teams went in at half time with the one goal separating them.
Glenn Murray stung the palms of Henderson with a rasping left-footed strike that skidded goalwards from 25 yards out, but the Charlton stopper's handling was good enough to keep the ball out with ease.
Gudmundsson almost threaded a ball into the feet of the lively Vetokele but it skipped off the surface and away from the goalscorer for Federici to gather in.
Hector showed great feet in the Charlton box to open up a sight of goal, but his stabbed effort was charged down before Henderson had to react.
Norwood then came a post's width from equalising, shooting from 22 yards out and the ball beating Henderson to glance off the left upright and behind for a goal kick.
Harriott arced an effort wide at one end, while Murray crossed low towards Mackie at the near post, only for the forward's marker to get to it first and deflect it behind for a corner.
Charlton looked to hold on to their advantage, bringing Francis Coquelin on for Vetokele and putting bodies behind the ball to make it increasingly difficult for the home side to find a way through.
With a quarter of an hour left on the clock, Mackie wrestled his way into the area and fizzed a low cross into the middle, but again a solid Charlton back line dealt with the danger.
Hal Robson-Kanu and Nick Blackman were introduced, but it was Mackie who almost drew Reading level, his powerful strike acrobatically tipped over by Henderson.
Pavel Pogrebnyak was also thrown on and as Reading threw the kitchen sink at their opponents, Charlton almost exploited a gap at the back, substitute Tucudean was twice denied by last gasp Federici saves of the highest order.
Blackman fizzed an effort just wide and Hector's dinked cross found the head of Gunter only for Ben Haim to clear Charlton's lines yet again, and the final whistle sounded after six minutes of injury time.