The Royals stunned Blackburn Rovers with three goals in the first 17 minutes to set up a fine 4-2 victory at Ewood Park this evening.
Just nine seconds in...and the Royals led! No sooner had the kick-off been taken, a long ball had deflected off a Blackburn ankle inside the Rover box, Lucas Joao was backheeling the ball into the path of Yakou Meite who sidefooted home into a gaping net as an out of position Pears could only watch the ball roll over the line.
But the lead lasted only a matter of minutes; Blackburn were level when Adam Armstrong hooked the ball past Rafael and inside the right post to equalise when he connected with a cross from the right. It had been a blistering start.
Tomas Esteves produced a timely header to prevent a dinked cross finding its way to Ben Brereton at the back post following an early cross into the Royals' box from the right flank.
Reading retook the lead though before a quarter of an hour had been played. Joao beat his man to the ball in midfieold and Olise broke away into space. Using Meite as a decoy, he burst past the last defender before driving low past Pears and inside the bottom right corner for 2-1.
And a quite incredible start to the game got more incredible three minutes later. Richards had beaten his man on the left and cut a low ball back from the byline. It was toed clear but only out to Laurent, who arced a superb right-footed effort past the dive of Pears and in off the base of the right post!
Rafael was well behind a low strike from the dangerous Armstrong two minutes later - the striker having timed his run to perfection was forced wide by Laurent and couldn't find a way past the Royals stopper.
Joao ghosted into the Blackburn box next and his low drilled cross was just too far in front of an arriving Olise in the middle.
Five minutes before the break, a leap to the left from Rafael denied Armstrong a second. He was there to get on the end of a Brereton back post header but his nodded effort was expertly clung onto by the Brazilian.
And the Royals led their hosts by three goals to one after a Holtby free kick was comfortably defended at the end of two minutes of injury time.
Half-time: Blackburn Rovers 1-3 Reading
Blackburn had scored more goals than any other in the division before the game and it took some composed defensive headers from Richards and then Morrison to shepherd the ball back to Rafael at the start of the second half.
Barry Douglas got away down the left and fizzed a low cross into the danger area but Armstrong couldn't get on the end of it as he slid in looking for a decisive connection.
A perfectly timed challenge from Moore inside his own area denied Evans a sight of goal ten minutes into the half.
Semedo needed some attention after he tracked back to ensure substitute Sam Gallagher didn't get on the end of a header just inside the Reading area.
But soon after the game restarted, Armstrong halved the deficit with a superb glancing header that flew across Rafael's goal and into the back of the Royals' net.
Reading tried to respond quickly and Rinomhota bundled his way into the Blackburn box from the right but couldn't find a telling shot or cross.
Armstrong nearly created another opportunity all by himself when he closed down Rafael brilliantly but the Royals keeper got lucky as the ball rebounded into his arms.
Tony Mowbray's men were looking for an equaliser now and the Royals were being tested defensively. But Olise's free kick at the other end saw Morrison head it back to Semedo who's looping header dropped wide as the Royals ptressed for a fourth.
It nearly came with 13 minutes remaining, Rinomhota racing into space down the left, cutting into the box and crossing low towards Joao. Williams slid in to cut it out and nearly put the ball past Pears who got a touch to push it behind for a corner.
Rafael soared to his left to push wide a Holtby strike that may have been curling inside his left upright as we entered the last ten minutes.
But it was Reading who rippled the net next. Joao sprung the offside trap and darted onto a brilliant Semedo ball and towards goal. He checked his run, turned it onto his right boot and picked his spot so coolly to beat Pears and place it into the bottom right corner.
Full of confidence, Reading looked for another. Olise found the overlapping Richards on the left and he looked to pick out Aluko only for his cross to be charged down and go behind for a corner.
Just before six minutes of injury time were shown, Blackburn came close to a third - a cross from the right wasn't defended and the ball deflected off a loose leg and headed towards the bottom corner. Rafael clawed the ball off his line and the two goal lead was preserved.
And the visitors saw out the final stages with ease - winning on the road to remain unbeaten and top of the table. A superb display.
Full-time: Blackburn Rovers 2-4 Reading
Blackburn Rovers: Pears, Williams, Douglas, Rankin-Costello, Lenihan (c), Evans (Gallagher 61), Trybull, Holtby (Buckley 80), Elliott, Brereton (Dolan 80), Armstrong.
Unused subs: Nyambe, Davenport, Wharton, Stergiakis.
Goals: Armstrong (2, 65)
Reading: Rafael, Esteves, Richards, Moore (c), Morrison, Rinomhota, Laurent, Semedo, Olise, Méïté (Aluko 72), João (McIntyre 84).
Unused subs: Walker, Watson, Gibson, Tetek, Pușcaș.
Yellow: Rafael, Joao
Goals: Meite (1), Olise (14), Lauren (17), Joao (82).
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