YAKOU Meite carved his name in Reading FC history with a dramatic 96th-minute winner as Royals twice came from behind to beat Wigan Athletic 3-2 at Madejski Stadium.

Nick Powell had given the Latics the lead against the run of play before John Swift levelled on the stroke of half time with a stunning free-kick.

But Reading looked bereft of confidence and were pegged back in the second half when Joe Garner restored Paul Cook’s side’s lead.

The home side looked almost dead and buried in fact before Modou Barrow’s 25-yard piledriver set up an emphatic ending.

And with just seconds remaining on the clock, Ivorian forward Meite rose highest in the box before powering a header into the bottom corner, sparking pandemonium amongst the home crowd.

The result sees Royals climb to 19th place in the Championship table after Rotherham United and Millwall also tasted defeat.

Emiliano Martinez passed a last-minute fitness test and retained his place in Gomes’ first-team while Meite was recalled to the starting XI to replace the injured Nelson Oliveira.

Royals’ injury problems were evident after Under 18 midfielder Michael Olise was called into the senior squad for the first time, accompanying Danny Loader and Ryan East on the bench.

The packed-out Club 1871 stand were very nearly in dreamland when Meite fired marginally over the crossbar with just two minutes on the clock.

Next, Gomes’ side were nearly the masters of their own downfall when an off-balance Ovie Ejaria gave the ball away on the edge of the box. Ex-Manchester United starlet Nick Powell picked up the ball with time and space but his powerful shot was deflected for a corner by Liam Moore.

The Latics broke forward with speed seconds later having cleared free-kick from their own box but Powell could not quite reach Antonee Robinson’s whipped cross.

But the visitors did take the lead against the run of play after Ovie Ejaria was shrugged off of the ball in midfield. 

Michael Jacobs fizzed the ball into the box for Powell to simply poke beyond Martinez’ reach for his first goal since September.

John Swift whipped a dangerous free-kick towards the far-post after 31 minutes but there was nobody to meet the ball as Royals tried to claw their way back into the game.

Garath McCleary then fluffed a guilt-edged chance to score after Tyler Blackett picked him out unmarked inside the 18-yard box.

The 31-year-old had plenty of time to make a decision but simply tapped the ball into the grateful arms of Latics’ stopper Jamie Jones.

First-half substitute Danny Loader, who replaced the injured Ejaria, earned Royals a free-kick in a dangerous position seconds into five added first-half minutes.

And despite Royals being second best for the majority of the first half, playmaker Swift stood over the ball blasted the home team back into the game with a truly stunning effort from 20 yards.

Reading were unchanged at the break but made a slight tactical tweak with Loader leading the line instead of Barrow.

Arsenal-loanee Martinez was called into immediate action as he got down quickly to deny Gavin Massey.

Royals then launched a counter attack and forced a corner through Meite but the eventual training ground routine came to nothing.

Gomes and his staff were visibly frustrated throughout the game - not helped by some dubious decisions by referee Andy Harris - and assistant manager Jorge Mendonca was given a yellow card after 53 minutes.

And Royals only had themselves to blame once again when Wigan re-took the lead after 64 minutes.

Martinez’ quick throw was intercepted Massey who raced towards the byline before teasing a cross into the penalty area.

Lewis Baker got a strong block on the initial shot but the rebound eventually found its way to Garner who stabbed the ball into the back of the net from a matter of yards.

Reading’s stopper made amends shortly afterwards however when he denied Powell a second from point-blank range with what could well turn out to be the save of the season.

Reece James dispossessed Tyler Blackett in a threatening position but Baker was there to pick up the pieces as Royals’ nervous-looking defence crumbled under pressure once again.

The Latics looked set to pick up their first win on the road in more than a year as Royals looked out of ideas going forward with just 10 minutes left to play.

Callum Harriott tried to take the game by the scruff of the neck and did brilliantly to pick out Barrow on the left but Royals’ speed merchant could not quite pick out teenager Loader in the middle.

Barrow was very nearly sent through on goal just seconds later as Royals tried to manoeuvre a last-gasp equaliser.

And the Gambian, who rescued Royals against Ipswich town last weekend, spared Reading’s blushes again with an 89th-minute wonder goal.

The former Swansea City man picked up the ball 25 yards from goal and simply drilled a sensational strike beyond the helpless Jones.

Royals had fire in their belly with seven minutes additional time in front of them as they went in search of a winner.

And it was Meite who made himself a hero as he outmuscled his marker and guided a header into the bottom corner in the 96th minute, sparking scenes of sheer euphoria at Madejski Stadium.

Reading FC: Martinez, Yiadom, Moore, Miazga, Blackett, Ejaria (Loader, 37), Baker, Swift, McCleary (Harriott, 67), Barrow, Meite.

Subs not used: Walker, Gunter, McShane, Olise, East

Wigan Athletic: Jones, Byrne, Robinson, Morsy, Massey (Naismith, 73), James, Jacobs, Dunkley, Powell (Clarke, 77), Olsson, Garner.

Subs not used: Evans, Gibson, Windass, Roberts, Kipre.

Bookings: Miazga (42), Garner (42), Moore (50), Robinson (56),

Referee: Andy Davies

Attendance: 15,401 (588 away)