JOHN Swift scored his first goals of the season as Reading FC ended a run of back-to-back defeats with an impressive victory against Nottingham Forest.

The England Under 21 ace struck in the 13th and 70th minutes to put Jaap Stam's men in command.

And a freak Jordan Smith own goal 12 minutes from time delivered only a second win in nine Championship games for the Royals.

Ben Osborn did net an 86th minute consolation for the visitors, but Mark Warburton's Forest were second best for most of the night.

This was Reading's best performance by some distance for some time and will undoubtedly ease the pressure on Stam.

The vultures were circling following a run of four losses in five league games and some below-par performances.

But this went some way to silencing Stam's critics and raising morale in the dressing room and in the stands.

Stam made three changes from the side that crashed 2-0 at home to Middlesbrough on Saturday as Leandro Bacuna, David Edwards and Mo Barrow came in for Roy Beerens, Tiago Ilori and Liam Kelly.

Ilori was ruled out after splitting his head open in the first half against Boro, while Kelly picked up a knock and was unable to start.

Meanwhile, Forest arrived on the back of a 3-2 victory over Hull City on Saturday thanks to Kieran Dowell's hat-trick.

But boss Warburton was forced to delve into his squad after striker Daryl Murphy and left-back Armand Traore failed late fitness tests.

Like they did on Saturday, Royals looked sharp from the first whistle with Swift seeing a shot blocked and Chris Gunter testing Forest keeper Jordan Smith from the top of the box within the first three minutes.

But whereas Royals threw all the good work away on Saturday by gifting Boro a 13th minute penalty, this time they took the lead in the same minute with a stunning team goal.

Royals won possession from a Forest corner and Barrow launched a counter attack by releasing Bacuna down the left.

The former Aston Villa man ghosted past Tendayi Darikwa before whipping over a perfect cross for Swift to sweep home first-time from 10 yards for his first of the season.

It was no more than Royals deserved and though Dowell blazed over from 30 yards at the other end, Stam's men remained on top and continued to carve the visitors open.

They went close again in the 18th minute when Gunter's effort lacked the power to beat Smith.

But a minute later the Forest stopper was desperately scrambling across to his far post to keep out Sam Smith's flicked header from Aluko's free-kick.

Reading Chronicle:

Sam Smith's header forced a fine save from Jordan Smith.

Royals almost grabbed a second in the 22nd minute when the shaky Lichaj poked the ball into his own net as he tried to prevent Barrow's cross from reaching the unmarked Smith, only for the linesman to raise his offside flag.

Nevertheless it was impressive stuff from the hosts, with Swift looking back to his best and at the centre of almost everything.

But Stam's men blew a guilt-edged chance to double their lead after a miss-of-the-season contender from young Smith three minutes before the break.

The teenager striker found space at the back post and looked certain to score from no more than two yards when Bacuna's accurate cross reached him.

But Smith took his eye off the ball and managed to miss the target altogether with the goal at his mercy.

Undeterred, Royals kept pushing for a second and monents later Bacuna's thunderous strike on the angle produced a crucial save from Smith at his near post.

Stam was forced to make a change at the break as Joey van den Berg picked up a knock and was replaced by Pelle Clement.

And within two minutes of the restart Royals were under the cosh.

Forest, who had been poor until that point, created a clear opening on goal only for Vito Mannone to block Osborn's shot with his body at his near post.

Then Liam Bridcutt stung Mannone's hands with a fierce drive in the 56th minute as Forest searched for a way back.

Stam made a second change on the hour by sending on Kermorgant for Smith, who walked off gingerly following a heavy challenge in the first half.

And six minutes later Royals went close again, Lichaj blocking Barrow's shot after a three-on-two break.

But Forest's defence could only hold out for so long and Stam's men did score a second with 70 minutes gone.

Again, Swift was the architect with a clever ball to release Barrow down the right.

But instead of admiring his pass, he raced 50 yards to get on the end of Barrow's cheeky flick over the top before sliding the ball under Smith's body for his second of the night.

Yet there was no easy ride for Reading as Forest then enjoyed their best spell of the game.

But they found Mannone in imperious form between the sticks.

The ex-Sunderland stopper was at full stretch to tip Dowell's strike around the post when the Forest man was clean through on goal in the 71st minute.

Then a minute later Andreas Bouchalakis must have thought he'd scored with his first touch after coming off the bench, only for Mannone to stick out a hand and somehow divert his header way.

Yet just when nerves began to rattle, Royals wrapped up the points with a third on 78 minutes, albeit with a hint of fortune.

Aluko was given too much space in the box and managed to get a shot away.

Smith appeared to have it covered, only to let the ball slip through his fingers and into the back of the net for a bizarre own goal.

A frantic finish continued with Mannone showing his class again by keeping out a Bouchalakis point-blank header with another one-handed save in the 82nd minute.

Sadly, Mannone did not keep the clean sheet his actions so deserved as Forest netted an 86th minute consoilation through Osborn.

Bit it came too little, too late to change the end result as the cheers rang round Madejski Stadium at the final whistle. 

Reading, who remain 20th in the table, travel to Derby County this Saturday (3pm) before a fortnight's international break.

Reading FC: Mannone, Gunter, McShane (c), Moore, Bacuna, Van den Berg (Clement 46), Swift, Edwards, Barrow (Beerens 83), Aluko, Smith (Kermorgant 60). Subs not used: Jaakkola, Blackett, Popa, Richards.

Nottingham Forest: Smith, Lichaj, Mancienne (c), Bridcutt, McKay (Carayol 63), Osborn, Dowell, Vaughan (Bouchalakis 71), Darikwa, Cummings (Walker 68), Worrall. Subs not used: Mills, Clough, Brereton, Henderson. Booked: Lichaj 9.

Referee: Paul Tierney.

Attendance: 14,868 (Forest 1,282).