Reading conceded in stoppage time to lose 2-1 in the first meeting with Fleetwood Town, plunging them further into relegation fear.

Bosun Lawal scored inside 60 seconds as an off-colour Reading struggled to get themselves going. Dom Ballard managed to haul the Royals level in a much-improved second half, only for Josh Vela to tap home a winner in stoppage time and send Reading eight points adrift of safety in League One.

The story of the first half was set out within 60 seconds as Reading found themselves behind. Lawal fired home a long-distance strike past David Button to stun the sparse home crowd into silence. It was not to get any better, at least not in the short term. Nesta Guinness-Walker nearly slid the ball into his own net as a dangerous cross went across the face of goal while the Cod Army twice struck the woodwork as Reading look all at sea.

Jack Marriott was sent through and should have scored while Button needed to be alert to keep out a header from close range. Ruben Selles brought Femi Azeez on at the 30-minute mark and although he looked bright, the Royals looked lacklustre all over the park. It took until stoppage time for the first serious effort on target from Reading, Sam Smith and Tyler Bindon linking up to send Azeez into the box, only for his effort to fly straight down the throat of Jay Lynch in goal. Booed off by the home supporters, they needed a response in the second half.

Reading were certainly improved after the break, and they worked hard to right to wrongs of the first half. Ballard somehow failed to score from on the goal line after Azeez fired a cross into the box- but he made no mistake in hitting the net five minutes later, this time from Smith’s cross to the front post. Lewis Wing and Charlie Savage certainly grew into the game and both tested Lynch in the search for a winner. 20-year-old Savage, who made his Wales debut a fortnight ago, thundered an effort of the post with so much power that it forced the Fleetwood defender who blocked it off the field.

Lee Johnson’s men were still threatening on the break however, former Derby County forward Marriott keeping the defenders on their toes. Jayden Stockley came on and was a handful, with a goalmouth scramble deflecting narrowly wide of Button’s goal. A strong tackle from Josh Vela, who was only awarded a yellow card, added some spice to the closing minutes but neither side carved out anything clear-cut. That was until Omachere and Stockley linked up in the box to put the ball on a plate for the aforementioned Vela to tap home and send the small travelling support, and whole technical staff, into a victory lap down the touchline.

Reading now face Portsmouth on Saturday, the league leaders who are unbeaten in more than 20 league matches.