Reading secured their first win under José Gomes by seeing off nine-man Nottingham Forest at Madejski Stadium.
The hosts took a 1-0 lead into half-time through John Swift’s strike and were given a further boost on the hour mark when Forest captain Danny Fox was sent off for his second yellow of the afternoon.
Tendayi Darikwa followed him down the tunnel with seven minutes to play and the win was sealed shortly afterwards when Andy Yiadom’s low cross was turned into his own net by Jack Robinson.
Reading remain in the Championship relegation zone, but climb up to 22nd and are now just two points from safety.
Gomes made four changes from the side which lost against Man Utd with the most notable seeing Ovie Ejaria make his debut following his arrival on loan from Liverpool. Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Leandro Bacuna and Mo Barrow also all came in with Liam Kelly, Callum Harriott, Garath McCleary and Danny Loader dropping out.
Seeking a first win since Gomes’ arrival last month, the Royals started well with Bodvarsson leading the high press effectively. And he created the first chance of the contest in just the second minute when his cross was headed over the bar by Ejaria, coming in off the left wing.
Forest were perhaps fortunate to not go down to 10 men shortly afterwards when Fox lunged in on Swift with referee Oliver Langford opting for a yellow card.
The play-off chasing visitors, managerless after Aitor Karanka left the club on Friday, struggled to create anything of note in the first half other than when Yiadom had to produce a huge block to deny Slough-born Matty Cash a tap-in from Joe Lolley’s cutback.
Reading duly took the lead midway through the first half when Mo Barrow broke down the right and picked out the onrushing Swift to sweep in from deep inside the penalty area for his first goal since September.
Ben Osborn and Ejaria both worked the respective goalkeepers but there was a lack of clear cut chances for either side as the hosts eased into the break deservedly ahead.
The start of the second half followed a similar pattern before exploding into life on the hour mark.
Daryl Murphy flew into a challenge on Swift, which led to a mass melee with players from both sides pushing and shoving. After consultation with both his assistants, referee Oliver Langford produced five yellow cards with Liam Moore and Yiadom going into the book for the Royals as well as Forest duo Murphy and Robinson. The final booking came for skipper Fox, his second of the game meaning he was given his marching orders.
A flurry of substitutions followed with Lewis Grabban coming on for the visitors against his old club while for Reading, Chelsea loanee Lewis Baker was introduced for his debut.
Forest thought they had equalised when Ben Osborn fired a shot through Anssi Jaakkola, but the referee brought the play back for a foul in the build-up as the midfielder ran off in celebration.
At the other end, Baker was presented with a big chance to net on his debut. Yiadom clipped a cross into Bodvarsson, who teed up the midfielder but he fired over the bar.
Fellow sub McCleary also fired off target before the visitors were reduced to nine men when Darikwa was given a straight red card for a hefty challenge on Loader, who had only just replaced Bodvarsson.
And Reading made the extra men count with Yiadom overlapping down the left and firing in a low cross which Robinson turned into his own net on the slide.
Grabban came close to pulling a goal back in the five additional minutes, but Jaakkola did just about enough as Gomes’ men saw out the vital victory, their first in 12 matches.
READING: Jaakkola; Yiadom, Ilori, Moore (c), Richards (Baker 66); Bacuna, Rinomhota; Barrow, Swift, Ejaria (McCleary 74); Bodvarsson (Loader 82).
Subs not used: Walker, Gunter, Blackett, Aluko.
Goals: Swift (23), Robinson (OG) (87)
Yellow cards: Richards (32), Moore (62), Yiadom (62)
FOREST: Pantilimon; Darikwa, Yacob, Fox (c), Robinson; Lolley (Goncalves 68), Guedioura (Yates 84), Colback, Cash; Osborn; Murphy (Grabban 64).
Subs not used: Steele, Janko, Appiah, Carvalho.
Yellow cards: Fox x2 (8,62), Colback (38), Murphy (61), Robinson (62)
Red cards: Fox (62), Darikwa (83)
Referee: Oliver Langford
Attendance: 15,034 (inc. 2,093 away)