Paul McShane strikes late to secure all three points for Reading
Meanwhile Brighton suffered another blow as they lost out to Nottingham Forest
Paul McShane’s late winner gave Reading all three points against Wolves. Photo: Ben Hoskins/Getty Images
Reading 2 Wolves 1
Reading ended a poor run in the Championship with a hard-fought 2-1 home win over Wolves to boost their play-off hopes.
After a dour first half, Reading went ahead three minutes into the second period when Yann Kermorgant was slightly fortunate to divert in a miscued effort from Danny Williams.
Wolves, still battling to steer clear of relegation, equalised two minutes later when Ben Marshall got on the end of a low cross from Nouha Dicko. But Reading regained the lead 12 minutes from the end when Paul McShane headed home from a John Swift free-kick.
Wolves ended with 10 men when defender Mike Williamson was sent off in the 85th minute for a foul on Kermorgant, his second bookable offence.
Reading had won eight of their previous 10 home matches but had lost their past two games — 1-0 at Huddersfield and 3-0 at Brighton.
Wolves lost all five matches in February — four in the league and the FA Cup fifth-round tie against Chelsea.
A cagey opening by both sides resulted in little action in the early stages, with Reading content to build patiently from the back.
When Reading did venture forward, much of their main threat came from Adrian Popa on the right wing.
Making his full debut after a move from Steaua Bucharest in January, the Romanian used his tricky skills to the full and gave Wolves left-back George Saville a severe examination.
Reading began to gain control before the interval, with Swift surging through from midfield. However, Williamson brought him crashing to the ground and was rightly booked.
Swift took the free-kick but his tame effort from 30 yards was easily saved by Carl Ikeme.
Wolves responded with the best efforts of a poor first half. Helder Costa saw a well-struck drive deflected wide and, from Marshall’s resultant corner, home goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi saved smartly from David Edwards’ header.
The game finally sprung to life soon after the break, with two goals in three minutes.
Reading went ahead in the 48th minute, when Kermorgant stuck out a foot to divert home Williams’ mis-hit shot.
It was Kermorgant’s ninth goal of the season, making him Reading’s leading scorer.
Wolves drew level in the 50th minute, when Marshall jabbed in a Dicko cross from close range via post. It was Marshall’s first goal for the club.
Wolves grew increasingly dangerous, with Al Habsi keeping out a firm effort from Conor Coady and then having to save an Edwards header.
Reading just about held firm and were rewarded in the 78th minute, when they regained the lead.
Swift swung over a free-kick from the right and captain McShane rose unmarked in the Wolves area to nod past Ikeme.
Wolves’ dismay was compounded late on when Williamson barged over Kermorgant and was dismissed.
Premier League hopefuls Brighton suffered a second blow to their promotion chances in a week as they lost at Nottingham Forest.
With 10 minutes to go against Newcastle on Tuesday, Albion were 1-0 up on Newcastle and going four points clear at the top of the Sky Bet Championship table.
They went on to lose 2-1 and today went down 3-0 at Nottingham Forest thanks to Zach Clough’s first two goals for the home side and another from Ben Osborn.
Albion are now firmly in the sights of third-placed Huddersfield — who play Newcastle in the late kick-off — and fourth-placed Leeds who won at Birmingham on Friday.
Sheffield Wednesday returned to form after two straight losses with a crushing 5-1 win over Norwich.
Ross Wallace got the Owls going after a John Ruddy error and then Jordan Rhodes atoned for his penalty miss a week ago when he stabbed in.
Cameron Jerome got Norwich back in it, nodding in on the line, but Morgan Fox and Rhodes put them out of sight before Fernando Forestieri added a fifth.
Fulham remain in pursuit of the play-off pack and won 3-1 at home to Preston to remind those above them of their presence.
Sone Aluko put Fulham ahead, converting first time with a Neeskens Kebano cross, and then Chris Martin added a second on the hour.
Tom Barkhuizen pulled one back for North End before Kebano sealed it.
Derby came from behind to beat Barnsley 2-1, Tom Ince and David Nugent — with his first goal since joining at the start of January — overturning Matty James’ opener.
Emyr Huws and Nico Yennari traded strikes as Ipswich and Brentford drew 1-1 and Neil Warnock lost on his return to QPR as Cardiff were beaten 2-1.
Sol Bamba put the Bluebirds ahead but substitute Yeni Ngbakoto and a Jazz Richards own goal turned things around.
Blackburn emerged victorious from their basement battle with Wigan, Tony Mowbray registering a second win in a week in charge as Marvin Emnes secured a 1-0 victory and a move out of the drop zone.
Lee Tomlin missed a penalty as Bristol City drew 0-0 with Burton Albion to fall into the bottom three and Will Vaulks put through his own net and Jonathan Kodija added a second as Aston Villa won 2-0 at Rotherham.