Report | Reading 2 Swansea City 1
Swansea City suffered a first defeat at Reading since 2008 as a late fightback fell short at the Select Car Leasing Stadium.
Andy Carroll had volleyed he hosts into a half-time lead, with Yakou Meite also missing a penalty for the hosts.
They extended their lead through a deflected Tom Ince effort and, despite Liam Cullen getting a goal back, the Swans could not add to their tally of 14 points picked up from losing positions this season.
For head coach Russell Martin there will be considerable frustration given he had spoken in the build-up of the need for his side to show the mentality to make sure they do not continue to fall behind in games by conceding from set-pieces.
Yet, that was just the outcome with Carroll’s strike, and despite the visitors pushing and pushing for an equaliser, there was no way back this time.
There had been four changes from the draw at Coventry as Harry Darling, Joe Allen, Matty Sorinola and Ollie Cooper came in for Kyle Naughton, Olivier Ntcham, Joel Latibeaudiere and Jamie Paterson.
The opening proved to be a frantic affair. Ben Cabango twice got the Swans out of trouble with good clearances after the visitors had given the ball away in dangerous areas.
At the other end Sorinola and Ryan Manning threatened down the flanks, with the former only stopped by a cynical foul and the latter seeing a good delivery cleared by Tom McIntyre.
Joe Allen then produced a lovely pass to nearly find Sorinola running in from the right, with Royals keeper Joe Lumley out quicky to head the ball to safety.
Steven Benda made the first meaningful save of the night when he securely held Carroll’s diving header after Ince had got in behind the Swans and turned to deliver an accurate cross.
The Swans responded and should have led in the 24th minute.
A lovely pass from Jay Fulton eventually fell for Cooper, but he fired straight at Lumley, and Manning then sent the follow-up well over.
The miss proved costly as Reading went straight up the other end to open the scoring.
Cooper gave away a free-kick on Swansea’s left flank, Ince whipped it in and Benda’s punch only went as far as Carroll, who volleyed home through a host of bodies.
The Royals had the chance to double their lead just a few minutes later after Fulton was adjudged to have dragged down Carroll at a corner, but Meite absolutely blasted the resulting spot-kick miles over the bar.
Having given the Swans a let-off, Lumley was not far off gifting the visitors an equaliser when his unconvincing punch as Piroe tried to meet a cross from Grimes nearly landed at the feet of Cooper.
There was then a worrying moment as the game was stopped as Swans fans – and then players – shouted for medical assistance for a supporter in the away end.
The supporter – who it is understood had fainted – was conscious and alert when being taken from their seat following treatment and we wish them a full and speedy recovery.
The game resumed for a short period before half-time, and the Swans were on the front foot after the resumption.
Allen fed Piroe, who was denied by Lumley as he attempted to round the keeper.
But Swansea then gifted the Royals their second of the night, as a goal-kick went awry and Ince seized on the loose ball to get away a shot that took a big deflection and rolled into the bottom corner of the net with Benda helpless.
Martin turned to his bench with Paterson, Cullen and Luke Cundle summoned in place of Cooper, Allen and Fulton respectively.
Armstrong Oko-Flex soon followed in place of Nathan Wood but all Swansea could immediately muster was a tame Piroe shot straight at Lumley.
Cabango and Darling then went in the book for shoves on Tom Holmes and Mamadou Loum respectively in the same passage of play.
Swansea were having plenty of pressure, but struggling to break down the home side with their final ball or pass.
Piroe sent another strike into Lumley’s grateful gloves, but the striker was involved when they pulled a goal back with 20 minutes to go.
Piroe got on to a superb cross from Paterson, which beat Lumley but clattered the inside of the post. However, as had been the case at Coventry, Cullen was on hand to tap home the rebound.
It was all Swansea. Cullen narrowly failed to get on the end of an excellent ball into the channel from Manning, before Paterson was unable to dig out a cross after lovely control from Piroe.
Cundle volleyed over as Swansea pressed to try and salvage a point, and Darling had a great chance in stoppage time only to plant his header straight at Lumley when a yard either side would surely have seen the ball in the back of the net.
Reading: Joe Lumley, Andy Carroll (Shane Long 79), Tom Holmes, Tom McIntyre, Jeff Hendrick, Tom Ince, Yakou Meite (Baba Rahman 65), Andy Yiadom (captain), Mamadou Loum, Junior Hoilett (Amadou Mbengue 80), Naby Sarr.
Unused Substitutes: Dean Bouzanis, Lucas Joao, Femi Azeez, Nesta Guinness Walker.
Swansea City: Steven Benda; Nathan Wood (Armstrong Oko-Flex 61), Harry Darling, Ben Cabango; Matty Sorinola (Kyle Naughton 78), Joe Allen (Liam Cullen 58), Matt Grimes (captain), Ryan Manning; Jay Fulton (Jamie Paterson 58), Ollie Cooper (Luke Cundle 58); Joel Piroe.
Unused Substitutes: Andy Fisher, Joel Latibeaudiere.
Referee: James Linington