On a cold night on the South Coast, Reading were very slow to get into the game and Brighton had a number of chances early on. Anthony Knockaert hit the side netting before Ali Al-Habsi made a superb save to deny Dale Stephens.
But the Seagulls deservedly took the lead a few minutes later as they rapidly hit Reading on the break, with Manchester United loanee James Wilson finishing off a neat move to make it 1-0. The Royals' best chance of the half came when Matej Vydra's effort was only parried by David Stockdale, with Michael Hector fluffing his lines on the rebound.
The Royals failed to start the second half any better, and were let off the hook when Sam Baldock missed a golden chance to double the hosts' lead.
Soon after, Matej Vydra was replaced by Garath McCleary who nearly had an instant impact as he set up Hal Robson-Kanu whose header was saved Stockdale in our best chance to equalise. Ola John then went close as Reading began to show some attacking impetus, but the Dutchman scuffed his shot wide. The Royals clearly hadn't packed their shooting boots for the trip to the AMEX as Hector hit the post and Robson-Kanu's free-kick went over before the full-time whistle blew.
This is a Brighton team that went into the automatic promotion places courtesy of victory tonight, so it's not a disastrous result by any means, especially when for the majority of the game we were average at best.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Stockdale, Bruno, Goldson, Dunk, Rosenior, Knockaert (Lua Lua 77'), Stephens, Kayal, Murphy (Bong 77'), Baldock (Sidwell 88'), Wilson
Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter, McShane, Ferdinand, Obita, Hector, Williams, Robson-Kanu, Vydra (McCleary 64'), John (Rakels 81'), Kermorgant
Stay tuned to The Tilehurst End for full match report and player ratings in due course!