The Royals earned a deserved 3-1 win over ten man Sunderland at the Stadium of Light - Dave Edwards and a Mo Barrow brace enough to beat the Black Cats after Callum McManaman's first half dismissal.
- Edwards and Honeyman come closest to scoring in a first half of few clear cut chances.
- McManaman is shown a second yellow and sent off for handling the ball home on stroke of half-time
- Edwards puts the visitors in the lead with a stabbed finish
- Barrow makes it 2-0 with a guided far post volleyn inside the left upright
- Barrow adds a third before Grabban pulls one back for Sunderland from the spot
Jaap Stam was able to name the same eleven for the third consecutive match and the eighteen remained unchanged from the squad that earned a 3-0 home win over Barnsley in midweek.
Sunderland began brightly, but ex-Black Cat Vito Mannone comfortably gathered in an early Bryan Oviedo free kick that swing into his box in the opening minutes. And the first shot at goal came from the right boot of George Honeyman who arrowed just wide of the bottom right corner from 20 yards out.
But Reading began to build some pressure of their own, bossing possession before Barrow almost threaded a throughball for Bacuna. The ball was intercepted and hacked out for a Reading throw, and from that Yann Kermorgant earned himself a yard to turn and shoot, but arrowed too high to trouble Robbin Ruiter from 22 yards out.
And the visitors should have been 1-0 up with 20 minutes gone. A nice move began with Barrow running at the Sunderland defence and he threaded a ball into Kermorgant on the right side of the box. Kermorgant played an early low ball into Edwards unmarked at the near post but the midfielder directed his effort agonisingly over the bar from six yards out.
Kermorgant flicked on a long Mannone goal kick and Barrow scuttled onto it, but his shot was blocked by John O'Shea and skidded behind for a corner. Kelly swung it to the far post where Moore rose highest but couldn't get a header on target.
Sunderland were sitting deep, but Reading were drawing them out well and a frustrated Lee Cattermole twice needed cynical fouls to stop Aluko from turning in midfield and exploiting space in behind.
Kelly tried his luck from 25 yards after Barrow teed him up, but a deflection off a Sunderland body took the sting out of the midfielder's effort just before half-time.
Three minutes of injury time were signalled, but Bacuna's deep cross from the right was headed back across goal by Gunter and unable to find Kermorgant in the middle to Reading's dismay.
But with the very last action of the half, what home fans thought was a a goal turned into a red card for Callum McManaman. A floated cross from the byline looped over Mannone and dropped under the crossbar where McManaman beat Bacuna to the ball but turned the ball into the back of the net with the use of an arm. The midfielder was shown a second yellow card and sent off, and the teams went into the dressing rooms in deadlock.
Half time | Sunderland 0-0 Reading
The pattern of the second half became apparent in the opening few minutes as the home side sat even deeper to make it difficult to break down their ten-man set-up. But Aluko tested the handling of Ruiter with a shot that was easily saved, before McShane headed a corner goalwards only to see it strike Joey van den Berg in the six yard box.
However, the Royals took the lead after 53 minutes - Barrow leading a counter attack down the left, the ball being fed out wide to the right by Kermorgant, Aluko crossing low into the box and Edwards on hand to stab the ball home from the edge of the six yard box.
A goal to the good and Reading played 'keep ball' to the home fans' frustration. But Coleman's side reacted and it took a good save from Mannone at his near post to deny the jinking Honeyman an equaliser.
And while the Royals were enjoying all the possession they needed another goal to kill the game off - Liam Kelly tried his luck from range but only found the gathering arms of Ruiter.
But the second goal came with 20 minutes remaining. Reading worked the ball from left to right and Kelly crossed the ball into the Black Cats' box. It sailed over everyone but Barrow was at the back post to volley home - Ruiters was only able to bundle into his net as he tried to race across his goalline to save it.
And minutes later it was 3-0! The ball was dinked into the box looking for Kermorgant and the striker managed to brilliantly hook it first time across the box to the edge of the six yard box - and Barrow was there to sidefoot the ball past Ruiter to seemingly seal the victory.
Sunderland pulled one back from the spot though after Bacuna tripped substitute Asoro inside the box after Mannone had parried his initial shot. Lewis Grabban stepped up and beat the dive of Mannone to make it 1-3.
Moore needed to get a block in to charge down a shot from the lively Asoro with three minutes of the ninety remaining and the hosts were enjoying the better of the latter stages.
And as six minutes of injury time were signalled, the hosts began hurling long throws into the Reading box in hope of an improbable comeback. But Reading remained solid at the back and didn't give Sunderland a sniff.
Three points will make a long journey back much more enjoyable for the 568 travelling fans!
Full time | Sunderland 1-3 Reading
Sunderland: Ruiter, Matthews, O'Shea (c), Browning, Oviedo (Galloway 59), Cattermole (Gooch 80), Gibson, Honeyman, McManaman, McGeady (Asoro 67), Grabban.
Subs: Steele, Love, Gooch, Maja, Wilson.
Yellow: McManaman, Cattermole, Oviedo
Goals: Grabban 76 pen
Reading: Mannone, Bacuna, Gunter, McShane (c), Moore, Van den Berg, Edwards, Kelly (Clement 80), Aluko (Beerens 80), Barrow, Kermorgant (Bodvarsson 90).
Subs: Jaakkola, Blackett, Ilori, Popa.
Yellow: McShane, Aluko
Goals: Edwards 53, Barrow 68, 71
Referee : Mr K Stroud
Att: 27,386 (568 away)