Reading eased League One relegation fears with a 2-0 win over struggling Port Vale, a side currently sat in the relegation zone.

In a first-half lacking any real quality in front of goal, supporters protested against Dai Yongge with red cards in the 16th minute. However, the second half belonged to the players as Lewis Wing and Harvey Knibbs sealed a crucial win against a team around the Royals in the table.

A battle between two out-of-sorts teams fighting relegation, it was no surprise to anyone in attendance that the match was lacking much quality. Reading started the brighter of the two teams but were unable to force any early openings, while Jensen Weir saw Vale’s first effort fire well over the crossbar from the edge of the penalty box.

Amadou Mbengue’s long throw, which created the two goals in the last home win against Charlton Athletic, caused some confusion in the visitors’ box and allowed Tyler Bindon to get his shot off, but the New Zealand international could only fire wide.

As has been the case in all home games this season, the 16th minute was a trigger for protest action against Dai Yongge. The last time Port Vale visited, less than four weeks ago, thousands of supporters invaded the pitch and saw the game abandoned. This time, tens of thousands of red cards were held aloft by those supporting both clubs, followed by a rousing rendition of ‘We want Dai Yongge out.’ It sparked a bit of a reaction in the home players, and Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan missed a golden chance to head the hosts in front as Femi Azeez’s cross floated straight to the forward. Unfortunately, the effort didn’t have enough power or direction to beat Connor Ripley between the posts. Azeez came close himself a few minutes later, thrashing Lewis Wing’s lay-off down the throat of Ripley.

Making a half-time change to bring on the more advanced Charlie Savage for Michael Craig, chances came and went in the second half for Reading in what looked to be a frustrating evening. The visitors carved open the first sight of goal in the half as Weir was given time and space to drive deep into the Royals’ half, forcing David Button to fly across his goal line and palm a strike away.

However, the final 30 minutes belonged to the hosts as they lay siege on Ripley’s goal. Azeez was first to come close, forcing Ripley into a big save to deny what would have surely been a goal. Frustration was etched onto everyone's face as the minutes ticked away, especially after Azeez’s powerful cross-come-shot someone evaded everyone in the box.

It felt like one of those nights and that it would take something special to break the deadlock. Step up, Wing. From a half-cleared corner, the midfielder thundered a low strike past Ripley from the edge of the box and the roof came off the SCL Stadium. Kickstarting the supporters in the stands, it appeared to have the same effect on the field as the visitors continued to have their goal peppered. Azeez hit the crossbar from the edge of the box before Knibbs sealed the deal in the final 10 minutes, bundling home after both Ben Elliott and Sam Smith had point-blank efforts blocked.

The second goal all but killed any hope of a comeback for the visitors and it was a feeling of sheer relief amongst the majority of those in attendance when the referee blew to signal the close of play. Now six points clear of the drop, Shrewsbury Town visit Berkshire on Saturday.