Reading scored twice in the last 13 minutes to notch a crucial win against Brentford in a highly entertaining game at Madejski Stadium.
Late strikes from Danny Williams and Roy Beerens sealed the victory for the Royals after Brentford had fought back from a goal down to lead 2-1 with 25 minutes remaining.
John Swift gave the hosts an early advantage but a quick-fire double from Jota and Lasse Vibe completely swung the contest.
But back came Jaap Stam’s charges with Williams and substitute Beerens capping a memorable night in Berkshire.
Brentford were the first to threaten when forward Sergi Canos fired wide from 20 yards after cutting in from the left. Lewis Grabban then put the ball in the net for Reading but was judged to have collected Tyler Blackett’s through ball in an offside position.
Shortly after Jordon Mutch went close for the Royals following a swift counter-attacking move which saw the Crystal Palace loanee force an impressive save from Bees keeper Daniel Bentley. Garath McCleary also took aim from range as Reading dominated early on but the Jamaican’s driven shot was off target on his weaker left foot.
Reading were rewarded for their dominance in the 22nd minute when Liam Kelly set McCleary off down the right with a neat pass and the forward’s cross was turned onto the post by Brentford defender Maxime Colin. However, Royals playmaker Swift was first to react and struck in the opener for his eighth goal of the season.
The Royals almost doubled their lead immediately when Liam Moore met McCleary’s inviting delivery but the defender headed just over the bar. Grabban, in search of his first goal for the club, missed a great opportunity when he fluffed his kick and let the ball go through his legs from McCleary’s low driven cross.
Down the other end multiple blocks from Moore were required to keep Vibe from equalising for the Bees. Chances then followed in quick succession for the away side with Canos shooting wide and Vibe having yet another effort blocked before Yennaris was denied by a fantastic stop from Royals keeper Al-Habsi when he seemed destined to score.
A glancing header from Vibe flashed narrowly wide as the first period drew to a close with the hosts struggling to keep possession and the Royals could count themselves fortunate to go in at the break with their lead still intact.
Play resumed in the second half in a similar vein with Brentford on top with Canos cutting in and hitting the side netting from the edge of the box.
Reading threatened with free kicks prompting Bentley to punch clear from McCleary’s in swinging cross before Royals left back Jordan Obita drilled in a set piece into a crowd of players but the Bees keeper made no mistake with the catch.
Brentford continued to come forward in numbers with Yennaris volleying first time but Blackett managed to come across and deflect the effort out for a corner. The constant Bees pressure soon paid off when Brentford sub Florian Jozefzoon carried the ball 40 yards before cutting it back to Jota who slammed home from 10 yards on 63 minutes.
Just three minutes later, goalscorer Jota played Vibe through down the right and Vibe’s shot deflected off Royals defender Chris Gunter and into the net to put Brentford in front and spark the away fans behind the goal into a frenzy.
Stam reacted quickly making a triple substitution and there was to be a grandstand finish as McCleary received the ball from newly introduced Yann Kermorgant and he got away down
the right to provide a pin point cross for Williams to sweep in from close range with 13 minutes remaining.
Suddenly the momentum changed on 81 minutes as goalkeeper Dan Bentley came charging out of his area to clear a loose ball but could only pass it straight to the chasing Kermorgant, who took aim towards goal and another Reading sub Beerens was there to turn it goalbound and turn the game on its head.
Brentford desperately searched for an immediate equaliser and they almost found one when Jozefzoon was played through on goal. The winger’s shot was initially saved by Al-Habsi but the Brentford player got to the rebound and fired it hard across the face of the goal and the ball just snuck by the far post and out for a goal kick.
The Bees continued to search for a equaliser until the death and five minutes added on time made for a nervy end but Reading held on to take all three points.
READING (ratings out of 10): Al-Habsi 9; Williams 7, Gunter 6 (c), Moore 7, Blackett 7, Obita 7.5; Kelly 8 (Kermorgant 73 n/a), Mutch 9, Swift 6 (Evans 73 n/a); McCleary 8, Grabban 7 (Beerens 73 n/a).
Subs not used: Jaakkola, Oxford, Meite, Popa.
Goals: Swift (22), Williams (77), Beerens (81)
Yellow card: Mutch (90+4)
BRENTFORD: Bentley; Colin, Dean (c), Bjelland, Field; Woods, Yennaris (Kerschbaumer 84), McEachran; Jota (Clarke 80), Canos (Jozefzoon 61), Vibe.
Subs not used: Bonham, Egan, Barbet, Sawyers.
Goals: Jota (63), Vibe (66)
Yellow cards: Canos (54), Jota (57)
Referee: Keith Stroud
Attendance: 15,710 (inc. 1,506 away)