Reading TV games have usually been dull affairs this season but this was a cracking little 1-0 win over Leeds, that saw chances for both sides in a fiesty encounter fitting of the build-up.
Going into the game, the bad news for Reading was that skipper Paul McShane and Joey van den Berg continued to miss out with injury, although fortunately Liam Kelly was fit to take a spot in the starting lineup while Jordon Mutch returned on the bench.
For Leeds, their
one-man team star striker Chris Wood also shook off a knock picked up during the International break to lead the line for the visitors.
The game quickly settled into its predicted pattern, of large spells of Reading possession, interrupted by dangerous looking Leeds counter attacks. Early moments of nerves from Tyler Blackett and then Ali Al-Habsi presented good openings for Garry Monk's side, while John Swift blazed high and wide when in a decent position around the box.
You'd be hard pressed to say Reading were looking likely to hit an opener when they did but just as we've seen all season, a moment of inspiration out of nowhere got us ahead. This time it was Yann Kermorgant delivering at the key moment, as he lashed home on the edge of the area in style, after a quick throw was only half cleared.
Reading could and should have been out of sight by the break but both Roy Beerens and Garath McCleary failed to find the back of the net when put through 1-on-1. Kermorgant also stayed in the thick of the action, seeing an effort hit the post before the first 45 ended 1-0.
Into the second period and neither side could get a firm grip on the game, with Beerens missing another golden chance to extend the lead just moments after an away 'fan' threw a bottle towards Al-Habsi.
The class from the Leeds side continued when Liam Cooper appeared to stamp on substitute Reece Oxford's head in an incident seemingly missed by the officials.
Leeds continued to huff and puff but Reading's defence held firm to take another big three points against our play-off rivals, that coupled with Sheffield Wednesday's slip up against Barnsley, leaves our gap to seventh at seven points with just seven games to go.
We'll have a full report and player ratings up later this weekend, as well as a post-game show on our YouTube channel so keep an eye out for those. While our Tilehurst End Podcast will return on Wednesday after the Blackburn game.
Reading: Al-Habsi, Obita (Oxford), Blackett, Moore, Gunter, Williams, Kelly (Mutch), Swift, Beerens (Grabban), McCleary, Kermorgant