READING FC put on a sensational first-half display to help ease their relegation fears with a 2-1 win over Brentford FC.

Royals came flying out of the blocks and an early brace by Yakou Meite stung the Bees’ defence.

They looked set to cruise into half-time with a two-goal cushion but a dreadful Emiliano Martinez error handed Neal Maupay and Brentford a route back into the game.

But Royals held firm in the second half and, despite a late flurry by the Bees, edged Jose Gomes’ side further towards survival.

Chris Gunter retained his place in Gomes’ starting XI while Tyler Blackett was dropped to the bench in favour of the returning Nelson Oliveira.

The visitors were the first to threaten when Lewis Baker’s misplaced pass was found its way to Neal Maupay. However, the in-form striker, who is among the Championship’s leading scorers, could only fire tamely at Emi Martinez.

But Reading, buoyed on from a brilliant midweek result against Norwich, took an early lead through Yakou Meite.

The in-form Mo Barrow did brilliantly to send Meite through on goal and the Ivorian raced ahead of the Brentford defence before stroking his shot out of Luke Daniels’ reach.

And he almost turned provider just minutes later when his delicate cross was somehow missed by Barrow, who had an empty net in front of him.

But Reading did double their lead on the 16th minute and it was Meite again, this time with a sensational header at the near-post following Lewis Baker’s free-kick.

Gomes’ side were firmly in the ascendency and Brentford looked unable to cope with ruthless Reading.

Oliveira sensed fear and looked to add a third goal on 31 minutes as he raced beyond the lacklustre Brentford defence.

Unfortunately for Reading, the on-loan forward lost his footing and had to cut back onto his weaker foot before firing a tame strike towards Daniels.

Brentford charged forward and Gunter had to be alert as he hooked a dangerous-looking cross out for a corner kick.

Maupay should have got a goal back for the visitors when Maupay found himself unmarked in the box - only to shoot straight at loanee Martinez.

But they did get a goal back moments later when Martinez, who has been in fine form in Berkshire, made a rare howler - gifting the ball straight to Maupay who tucked the ball away with ease.

Brentford started the second period quickly and forced an early corner on the right-hand-side.

The delivery was poor however and Reading were able to clear their lines with ease.

Next, Chelsea-loanee Baker audaciously tried to catch Daniels out from more than 40 yards but his effort was tipped over the crossbar.

Meite thought he had sealed a hat trick on 60 minutes when he rose highest in the box to get on the end of Andy Yiadom’s cross. Unfortunately however, his header sailed over the crossbar.

Oliveira, who was missing his shooting boots, should have doubled Reading’s lead seconds later when he sent another fantastic Yiadom cross over Daniels’ crossbar.

Garath McCleary was introduced and nearly made an immediate impact when he raced clear down the left wing before cutting inside and finding Ejaria in space.

The young midfielder took a touch and fired a left-footed shot at goal but his effort drifted wide of the post.

Baker and Maupay locked horns after 73 minutes and the striker appeared to grab the midfielder by the neck, much to the fury of the home crowd.

Referee Stephen Martin intervened but no punishment was given to either player.

With 15 minutes left on the clock, Brentford began piling on the pressure and Martinez made amends for his earlier error with a stunning diving save to deny Mads Sorensen.

Substitute Marus Forss nearly had a clean strike at goal after 80 minutes but Wales’ record appearance holder Gunter did brilliantly to slide in and block the strike.

But despite the late onslaught, Reading held firm to claim a crucial three points and ease their relegation woes.

Reading FC: Martinez, Gunter, Moore, Miazga, Yiadom, Baker, Ejaria, Rinomhota, Meite (Harriott, 85), Barrow (McCleary, 67), Oliveira (Blackett, 88).

Subs not used: Walker, McIntyre, Barrett, Baldock.

Brentford FC: Daniels, Odubajo (Forss,77), Maupay, Watkins, Da Silva (Marcondes,67), Sawyers, Benrahma (Canos,57), Dalsgaard, Jeanvier, Konsda, Sorensen

Subs not used: Ogden, Balcombe, Field, , Oksanen

Bookings: Ejaria (36), Rinomhota (43), Sorensen (50), Gunter (56), Harriott (87),

Referee: Stephen Martin

Attendance: 16,892