For match photos, scroll to Photostream above. Scroll down to read the manager reactions.
Reading breathed new life into their Barclays Premier League survival bid when two late goals from Adam Le Fondre and Pavel Pogrebnyak completed a stunning comeback 3-2 victory over West Brom.
The Baggies had been in cruise control after Belgian international striker Romelu Lukaku had put them 2-0 up and hit the woodwork twice.
Reading seemed down and out. A return to the bottom of the table, after QPR’s draw with Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the day, looked inevitable.
But Jimmy Kebe grabbed an opportunist goal to set up a tense finish and the Royals snatched victory from the jaws of defeat by completing a dramatic late turnaround.
Le Fondre came off the bench to draw Reading level with an 88th minute penalty after Kebe had been fouled by Jonas Olsson before Pogrebnyak bundled in the winner from an Ian Harte free-kick.
Reading had been hoping their 3-1 FA Cup win at Crawley would kick-start their survival bid and they started with new signing Daniel Carrico in central midfield. But for 80 minutes they seemed destined for another Barclays Premier League defeat - and a return to the foot of the table as Lukaku and James Morrison led them a merry dance.
Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici pulled off a sharp save to deny Morrison, who had been picked out by Jerome Thomas after a dangerous West Brom counterattack.
If that had served as a warning then Reading did not heed it as West Brom cut them open with ease to take the lead. Lukaku, on loan from Chelsea until the end of the season, released Morrison down the left and then received the return ball to beat Federici from six yards.
Reading sought a positive response. Harte released Kebe down the right and he drove in an inviting cross but Pogrebnyak opted not to attack the six-yard box.
When Chris Gunter worked some space down the same flank he floated a cross in for Jobi McAnuff but the Reading captain could not generate any power and Ben Foster claimed his soft header.
Reading struggled to retain composure and clear their lines as West Brom, with Morrison a constant danger, began to crank up the pressure and they were booed off at half-time. Indeed Brian McDermott’s side were fortunate not to go further behind immediately after the restart, when Harte sloppily conceded possession and Lukaku almost doubled his tally.
Chris Brunt preserved West Brom’s lead with a last-gasp block to deny Garath McLeary after Foster had missed Kebe’s cross from the right.
West Brom manager Steve Clarke said this week that Lukaku had the ability to "frighten" defenders - and the Belgian was beginning to cause havoc for Reading. Lukaku had one strike chalked off for offside before he hit a post with a glancing header after Morrison’s excellent run and cross down the left.
Lukaku then rattled the crossbar with a thundering left-foot strike off the bar before finally hitting the target again, drilling a low shot past Federici. The Baggies had launched a counterattack from their own box. Morrison fed Lukaku and the teenager cut in from the right, stepped inside Adrian Mariappa and then beat Federici at his near post.
There seemed no way back for Reading but with 10 minutes left Kebe snuck in at the back post to meet McCleary’s cross and beat Foster with a low header.
Reading began to press hard and, with two minutes remaining, Kebe was clattered by Olsson on the edge of the West Brom area. Le Fondre, who blasted a penalty in the FA Cup win against Crawley, this time tucked it away calmly to Foster’s left.
An incredible comeback was then completed when Harte launched a free-kick into the box, Alex Pearce knocked it down and Pogrebnyak bundled the ball past Foster.
Reading manager Brian McDermott: "It was a struggle today. We had to stay in the game and they didn't get the third goal, which would have finished the game off. If you get a goal back, anything can happen. We have been 4-0 up and lost 7-5 this season. We have been on the wrong end of some high scorelines. Today we are on the right end and I am happy.
"The real Reading is the last eight minutes because that is what I have seen over the last three years – a phenomenal character, desire and resilience. You don't normally win games when you are 2-0 down. We have a dressing room that is all going in the same direction. It is a big win for us.
"Pavel's shots-to-goals ratio is phenomenal. He didn't stop running. He is an absolute team man, as they all are, and it was a terrific finish for the third goal. We have won two of the last three games in this league and three of the last four [in all competitions]. We have to keep doing our stuff. Each staff member and player is doing their best. That is all one can ask."
West Brom manager Steve Clarke: "We had good control and I certainly couldn't see the finish to the game that happened. I am disappointed. I am not sure [what happened]. I can't be more honest than that. We should have scored four or five but then we lost a goal and for some reason we lost our shape and we lost our composure and conceded the two late goals that cost us the game.
"When you contrive to pull a defeat from what should be a comfortable victory then it is something we will have to look at. Football can be a strange game and today is one of those days."
"I said [Romelu Lukaku] would improve this season and he is improving. But he is as disappointed as anybody else. Two goals don't mean anything when you get beaten.”
|19 Jan 2013||v Newcastle (A)|
|30 Jan 2013||v Chelsea (H)|
|02 Feb 2013||v Sunderland (H)|
|09 Feb 2013||v Stoke (A)|
|23 Feb 2013||v Wigan (H)|
|02 Mar 2013||v Everton (A)|