Martin Kuhl's second game as caretaker manager saw a slight shift in the status quo of 4-4-2 variations consistently deployed in recent months, with Michael Hector re-installed as a defensive midfielder in a 4-3-3 while Matej Vydra again led the line.
A quiet Wednesday night in Humberside was hardly inflated by the opening exchanges as the visitors pressed forward with composure. Firstly Matej Vydra spun his man and fed Danny Williams' bombing run, only for David Meyler to track back and expertly block the American midfielder's shot.
Moments later Nick Blackman's curling effort from 18-yards was tipped wide by Alan McGregor as it was destined to put the Royals in front. That completed a nervy opening five minutes for the hosts, the visitors settled and backed by a hardy bunch of visiting fans who had ignored the considerable mitigating factors of a midweek fixture, hundreds of miles travelling, and the television, to support a seriously out of form team.
The Tiger's pressure grew steadily into the first-half but Jonathan Bond was not threatened behind a stout and incredibly experienced defence. At the other end Vydra was denied a shot after excellent defending by Moses Odubajo, to deal with a terrific Oliver Norwood through ball.
The quality of the build-up play was there for all to see again as Reading took the lead with a simply delectable right-to-left move that culminated in Blackman's tenth goal of the season. From out wide Garath McCleary fed Vydra in the D, the Czech backheeling onto Norwood, who in-turn backheeled onto Blackman in space to lash home on the 29th minute. Hull's Curtis Davies forced a block on the line moments later but before the half was out Blackman struck the woodwork with a fierce free-kick - a la QPR last week.
A first win over Hull in a decade was there for the taking but there were no prizes for guessing that the hosts came out with increased fervour towards the Reading goal, Odubajo forcing a good Bond save in the 47th minute while Jake Livermore and Abel Hernandez were able to fire shots towards goal soon after. At this moment Taylor was forced off with an injury, Alex Fernandez coming on to drop Hector into right-back and Chris Gunter across to left-back.
The game evened up with Reading settled once more but Hull levelled just on the hour mark. Sam Clucas found time and space to run at goal but despite a great last-ditch Anton Ferdinand tackle, the ball wasn't cleared. The ball fell to Ahmed Elmohamady whose driven effort was straight at Bond, whose save with his legs rebounded kindly for Hernandez to net. To add injury to insult, Ferdinand had been injured in challenging Clucas and was replaced by Jake Cooper.
Momentum had shifted fully now, Chuba Akpom shooting wide for a home team visibly energised by their goal. Reading's edginess was also apparent, Bond rushing out to collect a loose ball that he carried disingenuously over the 18-yard line, an act the linesman spotted to earn a booking from the referee. There was little question of a red card, for it was clearly not a goalscoring opportunity. Crucially, Bond later saved Reading after Cooper was caught in possession, diverting Akpom's close-range effort over the bar.
Royals winger McCleary was substituted after ignoring a wonderful opportunity to slide in the excellent Vydra, Robson-Kanu entering the play on 75 minutes. Afterwards the game died down considerably and matters were subdued further after a lengthy pause to treat a head injury for Welshman Gunter.
The visitors were set to overcome the injuries and form to take a well-deserved point, but in the 89th minute a goalmouth scramble and suspect offside decision saw a Hull attack fall kindly once more, this time Livermore slamming home a decisive goal to condemn Reading to their latest defeat. There was little time for a late rally, Cooper heading wide before the final whistle rang around the KC Stadium.
The Royals sit 13th in the Championship, one point behind Sunday's opponents Blackburn on 27 points.
Reading: Bond, Gunter, Ferdinand (Cooper), McShane, Taylor (Fernandez), Hector, Williams, Norwood, McCleary (Robson-Kanu), Blackman, Vydra.