Steve Clarke reverted to the setup that won at Wolves last Saturday by bringing in Simon Cox and Hal Robson-Kanu, while Derby made seven changes and included débutantes Stephen Warnock and Jesse Lingard.
The hosts started excellently, forcing Adam Federici into a few early saves as they knocked the ball around with ease- but Reading got back into the match to offer a few blows of their own. One such was a training ground free-kick that laid in Simon Cox to hit the post from eight yards out.
Cox then fired over on the volley when he should have done better, and the hosts were down to ten-men when veteran left-back Warnock was given a second yellow on 40 minutes. There was still time for the visitors to be denied a penalty when Richard Keogh appeared to block Danny Williams' shot with his hand.
A slower start to the second period culminated in the excellent Cox tee up Hal Robson-Kanu to curl the ball in the top-corner.The 59th minute goal was well-taken, but the lead lasted only a few minutes. The Royals' defence couldn't clear a couple of crosses and Lingard's shot hit an onside Darren Bent to equalise, unfortunate for Reading.
However, the away side rallied and won the game as substitute Yakubu was put through on goal, held off his defender, and buried the left-footed strike with 10 to go. The expected onslaught was not to come and Reading showed class to see out the game and put their ball in the hat for Monday's draw.