Yann Kermorgant's first half thunderbolt was enough to earn Reading a deserved 1-0 win at home to Leeds United to go fourth and leapfrog Garry Monk's men in the process.
The excellent Yann Kermorgant gave the hosts a first half lead with a thunderous right-footed strike that was too powerful for Rob Green to keep out - and the Royals could and should have had more but Beerens volleyed over and McCleary was denied by Green racing off his line to parry his one on one effort.
Kermorgant hit the base of the left post with the last kick of the first half and Beerens squadered a good chance near the start of the second, but the second goal never came...and yet it didn't matter. Leeds had no response and the resilient Royals kept a clean sheet and took all three points.
Royals boss Jaap Stam made one change to the side that clung onto a vital win at Sheffield Wednesday before the international break, bringing in a fit-again Liam Kelly for Joey van den Berg in midfield. Chris Gunter retained the captaincy in Paul McShane's absence, while Jordon Mutch came onto the bench after injury.
The first opening came Reading's way. Beerens scampered towards the edge of the Leeds box and stabbed the ball into the feet of Swift who let the ball run across his body before arrowing over the crossbar with a left-footed attempt.
Al Habsi had to be alert to clear a short back pass from Gunter under pressure from the sliding Chris Wood with eight minutes played. And Kyle Bartley rippled the side netting when he connected with a floated set piece delivery from Pablo Hernandez that saield over Al Habsi's punch and onto the centre-back's head soon after.
Pedraza arrowed a first time effor from 20 yards out wide of the bottom left corner, but the deadlock was broken with 20 minutes on the clock.
A long throw was quickly taken by McCleary looking for Gunter in space and diving header from Taylor cleared it away from the full-back but to the edge of the area where Yann Kermorgant reacted quickest. He took a first time shot and bulleted it towards the Leeds goal and although Rob Green got a hand to it he couldn't prevent it flying high into his net for 1-0.
Gunter did well to preserve the lead when he got to a low cross from Leeds' right that looked like it might present Pedraza with a tap in in the six yard box.
But it was nearly 2-0 with eight minutes of the first half left. A sublime ball over the top from Swift found the run of Beerens in behind the Leeds line. He brought it down well with his first touch but volleyed spectacularly at goal with his second and it flew just over the bar.
Moments later, McCleary was racing through on goal in behind a high Leeds line, but Rob Green came off his line to narrow the angle and saved with his legs to deny the winger.
And at the other end, Pedraza crossed from the left and a desperate slide from Hernandez at the far post thankfully only resulted in the United man deflecting the bouncing ball over the bar from six yards out.
On the stroke of half-time, Leeds needed to woodwork to prevent a second. McCleary fed the ball into the feet of Kermorgant who drilled low, wide of Green, and against the base of the left upright and behind for a goal kick.
Half-time: Reading 1-0 Leeds
Leeds began the second half with added spark, looking for a way back into the game. But the first shot at goal came from a cheeky back heel from Kermorgant that took a deflection to bobble wide and behind for a corner.
Another glorious chance to make it 2-0 went begging ten minutes into the second period. Kermorgant threaded a sublime ball into the box where Beerens was onside and in on goal. He controlled it well but missed his kick at the vital time as he looked to toe the ball past Green who managed instead to smother it.
Reading kept pressing for a second goal and Gunter was found by McCleary on the overlap, but his pull back couldn't find a Reading man in the middle before Bartley could hack it clear.
With 20 minutes left, Swift's free kick was flicked on by Kermorgant - forcing Green to tip the ball over his bar and behind for a corner. But for all the Royals dominance, with just a goal's advantage the game was far from done.
Substitute Souleymane Doukara dragged a long range effort goalwards but Al Habsi did enough to see it wide of his right post and behind for a corner. Then Vieira forced a save from Al Habsi who saw it through a crowd of bodies to gather it into his body.
As time wore on, the pressure on the Reading defence grew and six minutes of injury time were signalled to give Garry Monk's men hope. And long throw after long ball was repelled by the resilient Reading defence.
Full-time: Reading 1-0 Leeds
Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter (c), Obita (Oxford 69), Moore, Blackett, Kelly (Mutch 67), Swift, Williams, McCleary, Beerens (Grabban 60), Kermorgant.
Subs: Legg, Watson, Meite, Popa.
Yellow: Swift, Williams, Kermorgant.
Goals: Kermorgant (21)
Leeds United: Green, Bridcutt (c), Cooper, Taylor, Berardi, Pedraza (Phillips 67), Bartley, Vieira (Roofe 86), Hernandez, Sacko (Doukara 60), Wood.
Subs: Silvestri, Dallas, O'Kane, Barrow.
Att: 23,055 (3,546 away)