Southampton 2 (Rodriguez 35, Lallana 72)
Southampton took all three points in the televised early kick off at Madejski Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The home side had started brightly, with Adam Le Fondre firing a great chance over the bar and Adrian Mariappa forcing a top save from Artur Boruc with his downwards header.
However Jay Rodriguez opened the scoring in somewhat controversial fashion as he ended a slick move by clattering into Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici with a strong challenge - with the ball bouncing home to give the Saints a lead.
Substitute Adam Lallana then made it two with just under 20 minutes of the game remaining, scampering in at goal before slotting coolly home.
Le Fondre almost instigated a Reading fightback as his looping header caught Boruc off guard shortly afterwards, but the visiting stopper was just able to hold the ball on the right side of the line as he stumbled backwards.
Reading: Federici, Gunter, Kelly, Mariappa, Morrison, Karacan, Akpan (Leigertwood HT), Guthrie (McCleary 61), McAnuff (c), Robson-Kanu (Hunt 72), Le Fondre
Subs: McCarthy, Harte, Pearce, Leigertwood, McCleary, Pogrebnyak, Hunt
Southampton: Boruc, Clyne, Yoshida, Schneiderlin, Hooiveld, Lambert (c), Davis (Do Prado 88), Rodriguez (Ward-Prowse 90), Ramirez (Lallana 63), Cork, Shaw
Subs: Davis, Fonte, Fox, Ward-Prowse, Lallana, Do Prado, Puncheon
Attendance: 24,108 (2,216)
On a pleasant Spring day at Madejski Stadium Reading started brightly. Danny Guthrie’s wickedly dipping free-kick fell to Sean Morrison at the far post, who headed over the bar.
Chants of ‘One Nigel Adkins’ echoed out from both home and visiting supporters in the opening stages, as Southampton were largely restricted to a long range effort from Gaston Ramirez.
But the golden chance of the first 20 minutes fell to Adam Le Fondre – and the Royals striker uncharacteristically didn’t take advantage of the opportunity.
Another Guthrie free-kick wasn’t dealt with by the Saints defence, and the ball fell to the number nine on the bounce eight yards from goal – but ‘Alfie’ sliced over the bar.
Tails up, Reading went again – more superb work from Guthrie allowed Mariappa to head towards goal, only to be denied by a superb stop from Artur Boruc.
At the other end Ramirez headed wide after a knock back from Jay Rodriguez, as the team in red continued to threaten when allowed possession.
The point was proved in the 35th minute as Southampton took the lead. A neat combination of passes ended in Rodriguez clattering into Adam Federici and sending the ball bouncing into the net.
There were definite shouts for a foul on the Royals’ stopper, but all were waved away.
A matter of seconds later Rodriguez again scampered through on the right of the box, beating the offside trap before crashing a drive against the bar from a tight angle.
Rodriguez seemed constantly involved, next robbing Mariappa of possession before forcing a save out of Federici – with Ramirez scuffing the follow up wide.
The second half began as a quieter affair, with Southampton having the only real site at goal as Rodriguez flashed a cross come shot into the six yard box which only just evaded the toe of Lambert.
Garath McCleary replaced Danny Guthrie at the hour mark as Nigel Adkins looked to change the flow of the game, though the Saints continued to cause problems for the home side.
And Reading had to suffer the hammer blow of a second goal, as Saints substitute Adam Lallana scampered onto a through ball before coolly slotting past Federici.
McAnuff's long range effort was deflected over the bar off the back of a Southampton player, but the men in hoops saw their day summed up as a goal kick was awarded.
Then again moments later - Le Fondre's flicked header caused Boruc to backpedal into his own net, with ball in hand, though seemingly just extending his arms far enough over the line to prevent the start of a Royals fight back.
From then on it was an uphill battle - with the only real opening of the closing stages coming as substitute Do Prado fired over for Southampton after a good run from full back Nathaniel Clyne.