READING FC suffered a blow in the battle against relegation from the Championship this season after a 3-1 defeat at Hull City on Saturday, writes Rob Stevens.

The Royals took the lead early on at the KC Stadium thanks to a goal from Lewis Baker, but a Kamil Grosicki brace after the break plus a Marc Pugh strike ensured the three points remained in Yorkshire

Reading had to ride the storm early on but solid defending kept Hull chances to a minimum.

The Royals broke the deadlock after 17 minutes when Baker struck the ball from 25-yards out and Tigers keeper David Marshall could do absolutely nothing about it.

The home side came close to an equaliser just five minutes later as close-range shot looked destined for the goal, but Liam Moore put his body on the line to block the effort.

Reading almost doubled their advantage after half an hour when a free-kick into the box from Baker was headed toward his own goal by Pugh, but the crossbar came to his saviour.

The Tigers piled on the pressure as half-time approached with Grosicki breaking into the Royals box at pace. He cut the ball back to Jarrod Bowen, who failed to find the target.

The visitors came close to a second goal six minutes after the break when Nelson Oliveira chipped the ball over the top of the Hull defence but too far in front of Mo Barrow.

Hull levelled the scores in the 53rd minutes as Grosicki slotted past Reading keeper Emiliano Martinez.

The home team then had two chances to take the lead but both Grosicki and Fraizer Campbell were not able to convert from close range.

The Royals had a golden opportunity to restore their advantage when Barrow was put through and looked certain to score but, from point-blank range, Marshall managed to push his shot onto the post and out of play.

Hull got their noses in front in the 65th minute as Pugh tapped home following a good initial save from Royals keeper Martinez.

The Tigers then roared into a clear advantage when Grosicki bagged his second goal of the game with 13 minutes left on the clock.

Reading made a triple substitution inside the final 10 minutes to introduce Garath McCleary, Callum Harriott and Danny Loader but they could not find a way through the Hull defence and slipped to a second defeat in their last seven league matches.

Reading now stand in 21st position in the table and just a single point above the relegation zone ahead of a tough trip to league leaders Norwich City on Wednesday (7.45pm).