Reading wrapped up an important home win over Wolves in hard-fought fashion at Madejski Stadium, to keep the Royals' top six ambitions on-track.
After a first half of few chances, Reading netted early in the second period to take the lead through Yann Kermorgant. Wolves responded immediately after the goal with Ben Marshall equalising for the visitors at the back post, steering home his finish.
But a captain's goal from Paul McShane won it for the Royals, when his powerful header from John Swift's set-piece flew past Carl Ikeme to make the scores 2-1.
Adrian Popa made his first Reading start as he was drafted into the line-up; Joey van den Berg also came back into the side after a short spell on the sidelines, with John Swift also coming into the starting XI.
The got the game underway at a high tempo, with Popa looking dangerous in the early stages in his first start for the club. The Romanian wide-man created the first chance of the afternoon, showing impressive pace to beat George Saville and chipping his cross-shot over Carl Ikeme but only on to the roof of the net.
The Royals winger was looking a real threat for the home side, causing the Wolves full-back a number of problem’s in the opening half-an-hour as he continued to find space on the right flank.
The opening thirty minutes saw the visitors pose little threat to the Reading back-line, as the Royals enjoyed the lion’s share of possession, looking to pick a way through a deep-lying Wolves defence.
In a half of few chances we had to wait until the 38th minute for the first shot on target of the afternoon from either side. It was the Royals who provided the effort, with John Swift firing a low free-kick at goal from 35-yards comfortably gathered by Ikeme.
Not long after it was the visitors turn to register their first shot on goal. A quick counter attack from the men in gold and black saw Helder Costa run at the Reading defence, with his shot blocked and deflected behind.
The resulting corner saw Ali Al-Habsi forced into action for the first time when he made a fine save at his near post. A Wolves corner whipped to the near post, saw David Edwards rise to meet the ball. His header looked for a moment as though it might have handed Wanderers the lead, but a brilliant reaction stop from Al-Habsi kept the scores at 0-0 going into the half time interval.
Half-time: Reading 0-0 Wolves
Two minutes into the start of the second half the Royals broke the deadlock as Kermogant steered the ball home to give the hosts the lead.
Reading started the second period on the front-foot in a similar fashion to the first, with Roy Beerens’ partially cleared cross finding Danny Williams on the edge of the box. His low drive was cleverly diverted into the net by the French striker to make the score 1-0.
Within moments however Wolves struck back to level the scores. A penetrating run down the right from Nouha Dicko saw the forward play a dangerous ball across the face of the Reading goal, and Marshall threw himself to nudge his effort it beyond Al-Habsi and the ball rolled in agonisingly at the back-post.
The goal seemed to give the visitors confidence, as they began to display a forward threat that had been virtually non-existent until the goal. Dicko was next to go-close for Wolves when he again found space on the right. The striker was forced wide by Liam Moore and he was only able to hit the side netting with his powerful strike on the angle.
Defender Saville was the next to go close for the visitors when the full-back saw his effort well gathered by Al-Habsi. He Wolves man found space on the edge of the Reading box and drove his shot at the Reading goal, but it was well saved by the Oman international.
It took a powerful header from skipper Paul McShane to regain the lead for the Royals five minutes later. Midfielder Swift floated in a fine delivery from a deep free-kick, with McShane leaping brilliantly to meet the ball and head emphatically past Ikeme and in to the bottom left hand corner of the Wolves net.
Six minutes from time Wolves’ Mike Williamson was dismissed, when he was shown a second yellow for impeding Kermorgant. The French striker looked to be breaking clear but was blocked-off by the defender as he looked to race away with the ball.
With a man advantage the Royals looked to see out the win, but the visitors threw men forward in a late attempt to salvage the draw. Marshall went close when his half-volley flew just wide of the Reading goal with the ball deflecting invitingly to him in the box. Despite more late pressure Reading saw out the win to take three more vital points at home.
Full-time: Reading 2-1 Wolves
Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter, Blackett, Moore, McShane (c), Van den Berg (Evans 71), Swift, Williams, Beerens (Grabban 62), Popa (Meite 62), Kermorgant.
Unused subs: Jaakkola, Obita, Kelly, Mutch.
Goals: Kermorgant (48), McShane (78).
Yellow: Kermorgant, Williams.
Wolves: Ikeme, Edwards, Saville (Bodvarsson 85), Dicko (Weimann 72), Coady (Doherty 90), Costa, Iorfa, Saiss, Hause, Wiliamson, Marshall
Unused subs: Lonergan, Batth, Price, Enobakhare
Goals: Marshall (50).
Yellow: Williamson, Dicko.
Sent off: Williamson.