A LAST-MINUTE Alex Dorliac penalty snatched a dramatic 13-12 Southern Counties North victory for Reading in a hard-fought encounter at Wallingford.

The visitors had squandered a 10-0 lead to concede two second half tries, the second in the 75th minute, and when this was well converted from wide out to give Wallingford a 12-10 lead, the home side were in the box seat with the win in their grasp.

With defeat staring them in the face. this was a real test for a Reading side looking for promotion.

They had earlier had their own chances to increase their lead, but had squandered them with some dodgy decision making and handling.

It seemed they would have to take the consequences and suffer their first defeat since October, but their response was spirited.

A long kick-off from Callum Cload set up a line-out in the home 22, where Reading took the set-piece and engineered one last attack.

Awarded a penalty just wide of the posts, the result now depended on Dorliac’s kick, and the full-back coped well with the pressure to put the ball through the posts and ensure Reading came away with four points for the win.

This was second-placed Reading’s ninth league win in succession, but Wallingford defended well against first-half pressure and for long periods neither side were able to break down the opposition.

Reading had the advantage, however, in the set-pieces with the scrummaging outstanding and line-out play challenging.

Eventually, Reading’s strength up front resulted in flanker Fraser Koefman driving over for a first-half try, and they made a bright start to the second period with scrum-half Cload dummying his way over for another try and a 10-0 lead.

Reading then put the home side under pressure, but failed to use the strong wind to the full and lost opportunities with some over ambitious passing and some poor handling.

Reading’s failure to put the game out of sight came back to haunt them as Wallingford gradually took over, scoring two tries of their own.

The conversion of the second try seemed to have settled the matter in the home team’s favour but Reading’s resilience –and Dorliac’s nerves – gave them the narrowest of wins.

Reading have a week off before hosting a top-of-the-table clash with Witney on Saturday, February 15.

STEPHANE Margot, Tom Gough, Jack Murray, Harry Stubbs and Matt Margot all crossed the whitewash for Berkshire Shire Hall as they beat Thatcham 2nds 31-7 in Berks, Bucks & Oxon Two South.

Matt Margot added two conversions and Rhys Stewart another for Shire Hall, who next host Aldermaston on February 15.