Brentford look like a side determined for promotion and they strengthened their case as goals from Bryan Mbuemo, Josh Dasilva and Valencia Castillo earned them three points against the Royals at the Madejski Stadium.
Mbuemo nodded home from close range in the 23rd minute before Dasilva reacted quickly on the rebound before Castillo scored a late goal to seal the points for Brentford. The Bees move within two points of the automatic promotion places.
The Royals are in danger of being dragged back into a relegation fight after picking up just one point from three games since the Championship restart. Meanwhile their opponents continued their push to being playing Premier League football next season having won three on the bounce since the restart.
Both sets of players and playing staff observed a minutes silence relating to a matter very close to home to pay their respects to the three people tragically killed at Forbury Gardens.
Michael Morrison and Sam Baldock made their way into the starting line-up and the Royals started positively in the early exchanges. Baldock had options left and right streaming forward but chose to go for goal from distance but dragged his shot well wide.
Baldock’s early movement kept the Brentford defenders on their toes as Morrison came inches away from finding the forward with a searching long pass but David Raya was quick off his line to nod the ball away.
The visitors ventured forward with purpose for the first time after eight minutes as joint Championship top scorer broke down the right and won a corner for his side which was cleared by the Royals.
Brentford began to grew into the game and enjoyed large spells of possession with the dangerous Josh Dasilva and Said Benrahma finding each other in the final third.
And it was the Bees who broke the deadlock in the 23rd minute with the Royals on the ropes. Reading failed to mark properly from a corner as a flick on found its way to Bryan Mbuemo who headed the ball past Rafael to net his 15th league goal of the season.
With Brentford beginning to find their rhythm, they worked a smart short corner routine which caught Reading off guard, but Benrahma fired is shot high and wide after Dasilva had fed him the ball.
Michael Olise was at the heart of everything positive for the Royals and swung in a dangerous cross to the back post, but Yakou Meite couldn’t make a strong enough connection as it fell behind harmlessly for a goal kick.
Brentford looked to push home their advantage when Dasilva found Watkins with a superb long pass, but Rafael rushed off his line quickly to snatch the ball off the feet of the striker.
Reading’s best sight of goal came in the 41st minute when a rebound from John Swift’s free kick fell invitingly for Olise who struck a powerful effort which was deflected over the top for a corner.
But Brentford still looked dangerous going forward with Watkins as he cut in from the left wing and fired a low drive into the side netting as the Royals went into the break a goal behind.
After Ovie Ejaria won possession in his own box, Reading worked the ball forward to Baldock who tried to slip in Meite behind the Brentford defence only to be denied by the offside flag.
Brentford had a golden chance to double their lead when a blocked shot fell into the path of Watkins who looked destined to score, but Rafael his body in the way of his effort
Bowen opted to make his first changes just after the hour mark as George Puscas and Garath McCleary replaced Baldock and Olise.
The away side did double their lead in the 64th minute through Dasilva. He reacted quickest after Rafael had parried away his initial shot and lifted the ball high into the roof of the net from close range.
Reading’s third change saw Charlie Adam replace Swift with the Royals needing two goals to try and salvage a result.
Brentford went in search of a third and a quick counter saw Watkins with another chance to get a strike away at goal but Morrison threw his body in the way of the ball to block it behind for a corner.
A second consecutive defeat leaves Reading in 15th with sides below them still to play.
The Royals will search for their first win since the restart against relegation threatened Luton Town away for home on Saturday.
Looking to find an unlikely route back into the game, Ejaria broke into the box and pulled the ball back for Puscas, but the Romanian forward couldn’t sort out his feet quickly enough and was dispossessed.
Brentford asserted their dominance with a third goal late in the game as substitute Valencia Castillo drove a powerful shot past Rafael to put them three goals ahead.
Reading: Rafael, Gunter, Morrison, Moore (c), Obita, Rinomhota, Olise, Ejaria, Swift, Meite, Baldock.
Subs: Walker, McCleary, McIntyre, Blackett, Masika, Adam, Pele, Osho, Puscas
Brentford: Raya, Henry, Pinnock, Norgaard, Benrahma, Watkins, Dasilva, Marcondes, Jansson, Mbeumo, Dalsgaard.
Subs: Daniels, Mokotjo, Valencia, Dervisoglu, Jeanvier, Fosu, Baptiste, Zamburek, Roersley.
Goals: Mbuemo 23′, Dasilva 64′