- Morison hits woodwork in first half
- Murphy breaks deadlock on the hour
- Williams and Hector denied by Silvestri
- Byram kills game with last minute header
- Yakubu comes on to make Royals debut
The Royals squandered the chance to move into the top half of the table, edged out in a very scruffy affair at Madejski Stadium this evening as Leeds United took all three points from an untidy match from start to finish.
Reading dominated possession but couldn't find the quality needed to trouble United's defence and as the hosts lacked the final ball, Luke Murphy capitalised by squeezing a skidding effort beyond the reach of Federici and into the bottom right corner.
Yakubu made his Royals bow and both Simon Cox and Jamie Mackie were thrown on by Steve Clarke, but the visitors caught the Royals on the break in the final seconds of normal time and Steve Morison crossed for Byram to head home from close range.
Reading: Federici, Kelly, Obita, Hector, Pearce (c), Chalobah, Williams, Norwood (Mackie 63), Blackman (Yakubu 71), McCleary, Pogrebnyak (Cox 71)
Subs: Andersen, Cooper, Akpan, Robson-Kanu.
Leeds: Silvestri, Wootton, Bamba, Bellusci, C Taylor, Byram, Murphy, Cook, Bianchi (Sloth 30), Mowatt, Morison.
Subs: S Taylor, Del Fabro, Doukara, Antenucci, Cani, Sharp.
Att: 18,124 (2,602 away)
The Royals began the better of the two sides, an Oliver Norwood free kick almost picking out Pavel Pogrebnyak in the middle and the Russian had deftly turned on the edge of the area moments before but was crowded out before he could get a shot away.
A powerful run from Pogrebnyak down the left saw him glide past two defenders and earn a corner, but the powerful figure of Sol Bamba cleared the danger after Jordan Obita had delivered balls into the danger area.
Leeds caused a moment of panic in the Reading area when Alex Mowatt found a route to the byline and his low cross was eventually dug out from underneath Alex Pearce's feet and the defender hacked the ball clear of his six yard box.
Oliver Norwood delivered a lovely inswinging free kick for Pearce to head back across the face of goal, but the offside flag was up against the defender and chances remained at a premium.
The hosts caught United napping for a second when Norwood slid a quick free kick into space for Chalobah to run onto. His lofted cross was headed away before Pogrebnyak could get his head to it though.
On the half hour, Bamba was dispossessed in the centre circle and the ball was fed into Blackman in acres of space down the left. He sped into the box but his cross was charged down and the ball skewed behind for a corner.
Blackman then skidded a 25 yard strike just wide of the right post as Steve Clarke's side sought a half-time lead. But Leeds almost broke the deadlock soon after when a simple pass in midfield went astray and the visitors broke through Steve Morison. He turned onto his right boot and beat the stretch of Federici but not the base of the right post which came to the Royals' rescue.
Williams sliced an effort wide then shot into the arms of Silvestri on the stroke of half-time, but a scrappy first half stayed scrappy and the game remained goalless.
Michael Hector came close when a low Jordan Obita corner was flicked on by the centre-back at the near post but an outstretched leg of Silvestri turned the ball behind for another corner.
Scott Wootton injected some fire into the affair with a rash challenge on Williams from behind which earned him a caution, but both teams were struggling to find the final ball that could break the deadlock.
Leeds then struck. Luke Murphy
lined one up from range and for once Adam Federici couldn't claw his low skidding effort off his line with a low dive to his right.
Immediately Reading made a change, Jamie Mackie coming off the bench to replace Norwood, and the substitute got his head to a Blackman cross but couldn't muster the power to trouble Silvestri.
Steve Clarke then introduced Yakubu and Simon Cox with 20 minutes remaining, hoping to get his side back into the game, but Morison had half a chance to add a second, hooking over under pressure from Kelly 12 yards out.
Then Reading had a great chance to level matters. Nathaniel Chalobah threaded the ball into the feet of Williams who, in on goal, was denied by a good low save from the Leeds stopper.
Cox then did well to win the ball back and he fed the ball into the feet of Yakubu who turned in one slick move but dragged his left-footed effort wide of the right post.
Silvestri was in action again with ten minutes left. Yakubu toed the ball between Leeds defenders for Stephen Kelly to run onto and he struck a first time effort sweetly. Silvestri parried it away and the offside was raised against Kelly.
In the final few minutes of normal time, Cox pulled the ball back to Mackie but it was just beyond the substitute's outstretched leg, then McCleary fizzed a low cross across the six yard box but no-one was there to tap home.
And with seconds left, Leeds added a second on the break. Morison dinked a cross to the far post and Sam Byram
nodded into the net from close range.
On to an FA Cup Fifth Round clash at Derby in search of a return to winning ways after a disappointing result at Madejski Stadium.