YAKOU Meite’s injury-time header helped Reading FC to stage a miraculous comeback against Wigan Athletic in their fight for Championship survival, as they achieved a 3-2 victory at the Madejski Stadium.

Royals trailed 2-1 in the 89th minute when Mo Barrow’s 25-yard strike flew into the bottom corner and Meite pounced at the back-post to give the home side a huge three points in the 97th minute.

John Swift’s superb first-half free kick levelled the scoreline in the third minute of added time, with Latics leading either side of his strike through Nick Powell and Joe Garner.

Powell’s first goal since September came after a promising start from Jose Gomes’ side and the fitness of Emi Martinez proved crucial, as he denied Powell from point-blank range in the second-half when Wigan were leading 2-1.

Having scored a late winner on the road against Ipswich Town, Royals had it in them to pull out a match-winning moment, despite not being at their best without loan striker Nelson Oliveira.

Chances were far and few between in the first 45 minutes, with Meite firing a fierce left-footed effort at the Latics goal early on.

Swift curled in from the edge of the box to brighten Reading’s prospects, after Ovie Ejaria was injured and substituted for Danny Loader after 36 minutes.

Sloppy defending after the break and sustained pressure from Wigan resulted in the visitors regaining the lead, as an unmarked Garner prodded in at the back post.

Tempers started to flare as the match entered the final 10 minutes and Barrow surged forward after a stoppage in play, firing in an accurate shot from long range to level the score after his winner at Ipswich.

With the last meaningful play of the game, second-half substitute Callum Harriott put in an inviting ball and Meite converted, sparking euphoric scenes among the home fans.

Reading Chronicle:

After the game, Gomes said his side deserved all three points and was quick to have his say on the closing stages of the match:

“The players deserve it, the fans deserve it, the club deserve it, these three points. We tried to play positive football and tried to use the game time; our opponent they didn’t.

“Inside the game we have the fight side and the football side and sometimes to achieve the football side, we must win the fight side.

“My players were brave, they didn’t turn their face to the fight. They won the fight and they deserve these three points. I am happy, not with the football that we played, because sometimes the game was too complicated.

“I don’t know why they talk too much about this [drop ball]. They started losing time from the beginning. The keeper should see the yellow card in the first half. When the referee stopped action it was a very dangerous attack.

"The referee dropped the ball without the opponent. They were behind the ball so they were organised defensively. The ball was our ball, so I don’t find any problem. It is not a question of fair play; the fair play was we start with the ball. I don’t know why they complained, I cannot understand.

“It is a different style and different philosophy and we must adapt to this philosophy otherwise it is impossible to win. That is what my players did today; they adapted their football and we beat them.

"Only God knows the final result, but I know you will win this side. We will be better than them in the fight side and they were and that is why we won this game."

Gomes on Meite's winner:

“By the way my players fight for each ball and each action and they felt the fans support and they were pushing them from the beginning. It was a fair result. I cannot hide this thing. I think we must say congratulations as well to the club owner.

“In January when we talked, his opinion was to keep Meite in the squad and so it was very important because today he gave us those three points. Or at least two points because he scored the winner.

“It showed the team spirit, the way that my players are fighting. I really feel very well with the way that my players are working. We have a very strong group; this dynamic, this team spirit, they have been showing in this game and the previous game.

"It is very nice. When you score in minute 96 and 97 it is a really good feeling, but it is also the result of what my players have been doing during the week. They have been working very very hard. The way that they fight today, they really deserve these three points."

Gomes on the yellow card given to him and his assistant:

“Because I celebrated when Yakou scored and I celebrated out of my box and the referee showed me a yellow card. I understand, he is following the rules, but football is passionate.

"He [the assistant] was complaining with the referee because he was saying he should show a yellow card to one player. He made a movement, so the referee followed the rules.

“I think he [referee] did the best he can do. I don’t need to talk about the referee because I cannot control this part of the game. We have a lot of things to try to control so we must put the focus in our team."

Gomes on the Leeds United match on Tuesday:

"It was important, but like always we cannot celebrate. We must put our feet in the ground and prepare because on Tuesday we have another very very tough match.

“We made a very good step; they are very important these three points, but we have a long way in front of us. Anything can happen and we cannot relax. Tuesday we have another three points to fight for. Try to recover the best that we can because just two days between is not easy to recover.

“Even if we don’t have any injuries it will be very difficult, so with injuries it is even more difficult.

“Leeds play very good football, very dynamic and maybe the best team regarding the intensity they put in the game. The speed that they play the ball. It will be a tough game - another one. It will be a different game, not like this one. I cannot say it will be easier than this, because they play very well."

Gomes on injury concerns for Moore and Ejaria:

"Some players have small injuries and some are completely out.

“He [Ejaria] has a problem with his groin, but I don’t know if he can play Tuesday or not. We must see tomorrow and wait for the medical department’s opinion.

“Like Ovie, we don’t know. He [Moore] is really brave. He suffered, but he didn’t want to come out of the game. For sure tomorrow he will feel more pain, but hopefully he can play Tuesday. We will see tomorrow. He gave a fantastic example.

“It is a very intense game and to be prepared we must train with intensity as well, otherwise you cannot prepare. I think that Ovie is not a serious injury. With Moore, he pulled his arm and it moved out of place….and dislocated."

Gomes on the role of the fans for Leeds game:

“I don’t know, it will be 8pm. I don’t know if the people can be in the stadium. I hope so, because they are very important. Like they showed today, they were very important in this game.