Reading moved level on points into the Championship play-off places as their third win from four extended Swansea City’s winless streak to eight matches.
Andy Carroll shot past the Royals in the first half who also missed a penalty when Yakou Meite crossed his path.
The Swans got themselves into trouble after the break, as goalkeeper Steven Penda’s pass fell out of place in front of Tom Ince, whose deflected shot doubled Reading’s lead.
Substitute Liam Cullen scored an equalizer to boost hopes of a Swansea comeback but the visitors’ late attempts to salvage a point failed.
Reading climb to eighth in the table, level on points with fifth-placed Norwich City and below the top six on goal difference alone.
It was the chaotic congestion of the Championship that saw Swansea, who started the game in a higher position than Reading, drop to 16th place as they have remained winless since October.
Russell Martin’s men have lost three and drawn five of their past eight matches, failing to finish first in any of those matches. And while their 14 points from losing positions is the best in Division One this season, the comeback specialists haven’t been able to replicate the trick this time around.
This was a clash of styles evident in the Championship’s average possession table, with Swansea topping this particular metric and Reading at the bottom.
However, in the actual league table, the two teams entered this fixture tied with the same points tally with the Swans’ superior goal difference placing them in 15th place, one place behind their opponents.
The two teams’ contrasting approaches were evident in the opening exchanges as Swansea kept the ball without presenting too much of a threat, while Reading’s first attack culminated in a diving header from Carroll, easily parried by Stephen Penda.
Five minutes later, Swansea had their first chance. Matt Grimes was trailing the Reading defense with a quick free-kick, and although Joel Berroy was tackled before he had a chance to shoot, the ball fell to Oli Cooper, whose low effort was well saved by Jo Lumley.
Cooper’s next involvement was to foul Meite and concede a free kick, curled by Ince, which Benda was unable to hit wide until Carroll, who volleyed the ball into the ground and into the net.
Swansea were struggling to contain Carroll, to the point where Jay Fulton felt he had to pull the former Newcastle United and Liverpool striker from a corner kick, prompting referee James Linnington to signal the spot. But Meite’s penalty was a shocker, ballooning high over the bar.
There were signs that the Swans might make the most of their delay – Piroe failed to connect with Fulton’s enticing cross before heading wide at the start of the second half – but they were the fall makers when Reading doubled their lead.
After Harry Darling took the goal kick shortly after, Swansea goalkeeper Penda passed straight to Ince, whose low shot deflected off Darling and rolled into the far corner.
Having fallen behind in six of their past seven matches, it was not entirely uncharted territory for the Swans, who have once again made their way into the competition.
Piroe’s header was headed onto the post by Lumley and Cullen – who equalized for Swansea after coming from 3-0 down to draw with Coventry 10 days earlier – fired into an empty net to make up the final 20 minutes.
The visitors pressed forward and spent the remainder of the time almost exclusively in their opponents’ half, but were unable to create much in the way of real scoring chances.
An injury-time free-kick found Darling unmarked in the Reading penalty area, but once he steered the ball into Lumley’s grateful arms, Swansea’s hopes of staging another escape were over.
There was still time for one last chance as Penda stepped into the Swans’ final corner and left his goal unguarded. Lumley chipped the ball clear and Ince lunged for it, but as he swung on goal Ryan Manning was on hand to do the covering.
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- 23Howlettreplaced withmbngin a 80 ‘Session minutes
- 3HolmesBooked in 40 minutes
- 24he walked
- 22LoumBooked in 77 minutes
- 11wereplaced withBabain a 65 ‘Session minutes
- 2Carolreplaced withlongin a 80 ‘Session minutes
- 9Lucas John
- 18Guinness Walker Encyclopedia
formation – formation 3-5-2
- 5ThinkBooked in 66 minutes
- 6lovableBooked in 66 minutes
- 23Woodreplaced withEye-flexin a 61 ‘Session minutes
- 29sorinolareplaced withNotinin a 78 ‘Session minutes
- 7Allenreplaced withColinin a 58 ‘Session minutes
- 4Fultonreplaced withcondlin a 58 ‘Session minutes
- 31CooperBooked at 27 minutesreplaced withPattersonin a 58 ‘Session minutes
- to rule:
- James Linnington
The match is over, Reading 2, Swansea City 1.
The second half ended, Reading 2, Swansea City 1.
Attempt is prohibited. Tom Ince (Reading) was blocked with his left foot from over 35 yards. With assistance from Joe Lumley.
Corner, Swansea City. against Jeff Hendrick.
Attempt saved. Harry Darling (Swansea City) header from the center of the penalty area is saved in the center of the goal. assisted by Ryan Manning with a cross.
Harry Darling (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Error by Andy Yadom (reading).
Corner, Swansea City. against Naby Sarr.
Ryan Manning (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Error by Shen Long (read).
missed attempt. Luke Cundle (Swansea City) right footed shot from the center of the box is too high.
Foul by Liam Cullen (Swansea City).
Andy Yadom (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Ryan Manning (Swansea City) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Error by Jeff Hendrick (read).
Substitution and reading. Amadou Salif Mbenge replaces Junior Hullett.
Substitution and reading. Shane Long replaces Andy Carroll.
Foul by Jimmy Patterson (Swansea City).
Jeff Hendrick (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Alternative, Swansea City. Kyle Naughton replaces Matthew Sorinola.
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