A brilliant first-half display and impressive resolve in the second meant there were plenty of positives to take away for Royals as they moved four points clear of the bottom three.
There were further encouraging signs as Nelson Oliveira returned to the squad as an unused substitute after completing his rehab earlier than expected.
Emi Martinez: Precious little to do for the Royals keeper, shame to be denied of a rare clean sheet late on – 6
Andy Yiadom: Looked assured all afternoon on and off the ball – 7
Liam Moore: Consistent and professional display as has come to be expected from the Royals skipper – 7
Matt Miazga: Calming presence at the back making some superb interventions to keep the Royals defence resolute – 8
Tyler Blackett: Strong in the tackle and good in the air, another decent performance from the Royals left-back – 7
Andy Rinomhota: Eager to get forwards, lacked killer touch/pass in front of goal – 6
John Swift: Creative and skilful influence in the middle of the park, with plenty of neat turns on the ball. – 7
Lewis Baker: Blazed over a couple of occasions, but generally solid performance from the central midfielder – 6
Mo Barrow: Great pace and determination to get down the left to square for Meite’s opener, and persistence to latch onto loose backpass to net the second – 9* (Star Man).
Ovie Ejaria: Lively in the final third, almost rewarded with a goal but for Rudd’s fingertip save onto the post in the first half. Missed great chance to kill the game on 60 mins – 7
Yakou Meite: Made amends for wasteful attempts early on with the opening goal on his 50th club appearance – 8
Garath McCleary: Pace causing trouble down the left and put ball on a plate for Ejaria with delivery from the right – 7
Paul McShane: Good to see the club captain back on the field. Looked sharp on his 1st appearance since August – 6
Callum Harriott: N/A