A lacklustre Reading fell to their second successive league defeat of the season, falling to a 1-0 loss at Port Vale.

Ben Garrity’s deflected strike was all that could separate two poor sides at Vale Park, but Ruben Selles’ men failed to even muster a shot against a Vale side reeling from a 7-0 defeat at Barnsley last week.

This was made worse as the Royals had the chance to take a first-half lead from the penalty spot were it not for Andy Carroll’s saved attempt.

Reading bossed most of the first half, going into the break with a whopping 68 per cent. This began as early as the fifth minute, with the busy Nesta Guinness-Walker delivering a clever ball into the box. Just behind the first set of runners, it fell for Carroll just inside the box. Unable to get a shot off straight away, the 34-year-old cut back twice before curling an effort over the crossbar of Ripley.

Continuing the high press and tempo which had been so successful in midweek’s 4-0 win over Millwall, the side had a golden chance to take the lead after Guinness-Walker was chopped down in the box. Carroll stepped up in front of the 1200 travelling supporters but could only find the gloves of Ripley, who dived to his right and pushed the ball out of danger. Giving the hosts a push, Port Vale grew as the half wore on, and had the ball in the net themselves shortly after- only for the offside flag to be raised and cut celebrations short. A half starved of quality, neither side managed to test the two goalkeepers as the majority of the play was in midfield or in the air.

If Reading were the better of the sides in the first half, it certainly was not the case in the second. The hosts set out their stall from the first second and pressed the Royals aggressively from the off. Still a game devoid of any real quality, clear-cut chances were few and far between. Sam Hutchinson had the best for the visitors, firing a shot over the crossbar from distance. On the hour mark debutant Button spilt a fizzing shot back into the area and Tom Holmes was forced into a last-ditch clearance behind his own goal.

The system was not working, and Selles made a host of changes throughout with youngsters such as Caylan Vickers and Mamadi Camara hoping for a repeat performance of midweek. However, it was the hosts who took the lead with 20 minutes remaining as a bobbling ball wreaked havoc for the defence, who were all at sixes and sevens before a spinning shot looped over Button and into the back of the net. Despite needing one, a response was not forthcoming as the Valiants looked more likely to add a second. Holmes was forced to clear a looping header off the line late on to spare any more blushes as boos rang around Vale Park and jeers of ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt.’ 

Lewis Wing hit the crossbar with a cross deep into stoppage time but it was the closest the side came to hitting the target in the second half.

Faced with a quick turnaround, Reading host Cheltenham Town on Tuesday still looking for their first win of the campaign.