Bees sting Royals with 2-1 winDespite dominating the game, Reading slipped to a narrow defeat at home to Brentford this afternoon. The Bees took a lead into half-time, courtesy of Ryan Woods' stunning drive from distance, but that goal came completely against the run of play and the Royals responded when two half-time substitutes combined brilliantly to carve out an opening before the hour - Matej Vydra and Garath McCleary exchanging neat passes for the latter to stroke home the equaliser.
But the Bees retook the lead when Sergi Canos wriggled his way inside from the right and drilled low past Bond and despite Reading's best efforts there was no second way back. Hector saw red late on for a second bookable offence and Brentford took all three points back down the M4.
Brian McDermott made just one change from the side that so narrowly lost at Molineux on Boxing Day, replacing Garath McCleary with Lucas Piazon, while Aaron Tshibola returned to the substitutes bench for the first time since picking up an injury towards the end of October.
The first half chance fell Reading's way when a poor clearance from David Button fell to the feet of Lucas Piazon who found John inside the box, but surrounded by Brentford bodies. He dragged the ball away from one and got a shot away as he fell but it was easily charged down and the Bees survived an early scare.
Great work from Robson-Kanu and then John saw the latter dink a cross into the box, but it was behind everyone and although Danny Williams recycled it well on the right, the move had broken down.
Blackman had scored a wonderful free kick at Griffin Park earlier in the season and he came within inches of doing so again when he whistled a set piece just over the bar from 25 yards out.
Then Robson-Kanu preyed on some loose defending from Tarkowski and did superbly to wrestle past the already cautioned defender and into the box. He drove a left-footed effort at goal from a narrow angle and Button had to parry it with his body - Reading were well on top.
But completely against the run of play, Brentford took the lead with a stunning right-footed drive from Ryan Woods who was allowed to pull the trigger from 22 yards out and thunder the ball past the outstretched dive of Bond.
Williams arrowed an effort over from distance as the home side continued to dominate. Then with 22 minutes on the clock, the overlapping Quinn burst onto a ball from John and skidded a low cross across the face of goal but no blue and white hooped shirt was in a position to stab it home.
With half an hour played, Piazon turned his man well on the edge of the box and was brought down, but the referee awarded a free kick the other way despite protests from the Brazilian and Robson-Kanu.
Swift headed wide when a good cross from Judge was delivered in from the right, but Reading soon had another appeal for a penalty turned down when Williams raced onto Piazon's low ball into the area and was bundled over as he looked to pull the trigger.
John did well to work his way into the area along the byline from the left but his pull back for Piazon couldn't be dug out from underneath the Chelsea loanee's feet for a shot at target.
Williams was next to work an opening, scrapping for the ball well and breaking into the box with a neat drag back only for Tarkowski to recover sufficiently to get a left legged block in on the midfielder's shot.
As the half wore on, the Royals became increasingly frustrated and two minutes of injury time Norwood arced a final effort at goal which Button calmly plucked out of the air.
Half-time:Reading 0 Brentford 1
The second half started as the first had finished, with the Royals on top and ruing an early chance that was squandered. A tasty ball in from Quinn found the head of Vydra at the far post but he headed the ball down into the ground and it bounced up to deflect off the crossbar and it was hacked clear before Blackman could pounce on the rebound.
The Bees threatened on the counter attack and missed an opportunity of their own when they had numbers over on the break.
But before the hour, the Royals were level and deservedly so. The two substitutes combined to great effect, Vydra and McCleary producing a neat one-two and McCleary passing the ball wide of Button and into the bottom right corner for 1-1.
With 25 minutes to go, chances at both ends within the space of 30 seconds. McShane did very well to stop Lasse Vibe in his tracks as he looked to break into the box, then defence turned into attack with Piazon weaving his way to the edge of the area, turning onto his left boot but stabbing tamely at Button who got down easily to smother his shot.
Alan Judge came close with a low drive that flashed across the face of goal and Brentford certainly continued to pose a problem for Reading at the back, but McDermott made a final attacking change when he introduced Rowan Liburd for his Madejski Stadium debut.
However, Brentford retook the lead through a substitution of their own, Sergi Canos beating Quinn out on the right, touching the ball inside another defender before rifling low past Bond and into the bottom left corner.
Liburd spurned a glorious chance to level with 12 minutes remaining when a quick free kick was fed into him and he raced towards the edge of the box and pulled the trigger, only to fire wide of the right post.
McCleary cut the ball back from the byline but Liburd couldn't flick the ball goalwards at the near post and Reading's task in the final five minutes was made all the more difficult when Hector received a second yellow for a dive inside the Brentford box.
Full-time:Reading 1 Brentford 2
Reading: Bond, Gunter, Quinn, McShane (c), Hector, Norwood, Williams, John (McCleary HT), Blackman, Piazon (Liburd 70), Robson-Kanu (Vydra HT).
Subs: Al Habsi, Cooper, Tshibola, Sa.
Yellow: Hector, Quinn.
Brentford: Button, Colin, Bidwell (c), Dean, Tarkowski, Dean, Woods, Swift (Saunders 78), Judge, McEachran (Canos 59), Vibe (Hofmann 68).
Subs: Bonham, O'Connell, Yennaris, Jota.
Yellow: Tarkowski, Diagouraga, Dean.
Referee: Mr K Stroud
Att: 20,563 (2,803 away)