Ian Harte's goal earned Reading a win that moves them level on points with Championship leaders Southampton.

Harte's deflected first-half free-kick secured a 13th win in 15 matches for Brian McDermott's team.

Vicente hit the bar for a dominant Brighton and Ashley Barnes had a penalty saved by Adam Federici.

Harte's perfect timing

After getting into double figures in the last two seasons, Ian Harte had only managed one goal before 24 March but he has now scored three in his last four appearances.

Gus Poyet's team's four-match winless run leaves them two points off the play-offs but the Royals are now six points clear of third-placed West Ham.

The top two clash on Friday, as McDermott's side travel to Southampton.

The hosts, eager to put themselves back in the play-off spots, made a flying start with Barnes having a header saved by Federici and also shooting wide from close range.

Australian Federici also denied an acrobatic effort from Vicente as the visitors were forced on to the back foot.

But Reading snatched the lead when Harte's free-kick took a big deflection and left goalkeeper Peter Brezovan no chance.

Vicente lifted a shot over after a well-worked move but Brezovan had to be at his best to turn away a header from Noel Hunt.

The home team, who had a string of other penalty appeals, were given the opportunity to pull level when Barnes was brought down by Alex Pearce, only to have his spot-kick saved by Federici.

Federici pulled off another fine save before the hour when he denied Craig Mackail-Smith, before Pearce headed on to the bar late on as Reading came close to doubling their advantage.

Reading manager Brian McDermott: "It was a night of resilience and character. Brighton are a difficult side to play against, they had a lot of the ball and we had to hang in there.

"We have followed up a hard-fought win over Leeds with another win and all I'm thinking about now is the Southampton game.

"St Mary's will be the place to be on Friday, I'm sure."

Brighton manager Gus Poyet: "I take huge encouragement from this performance. If we keep the same players fit and if we add some more key, important players, us going to the Premier League will just be a matter of time.

"If I were a fan I would pay for a ticket to watch Brighton. Vicente is a player who does something special, the team play quick and pass the ball."

"If we play as we did against Reading, we will win games. We are capable of doing it. As long as we are technically sound we will be a very difficult team to play against."

Lineup, Bookings (5) & Substitutions (5)

Brighton & Hove Albion

  • 01 Brezovan
  • 03 Greer Booked
  • 06 El-Abd Booked
  • 14 Calderon
  • 36 Jara
  • 08 Navarro
  • 15 Vicente
  • 18 Dicker
  • 30 Buckley (LuaLua - 66' )
  • 09 Barnes (Assulin - 82' )
  • 12 Mackail-Smith (Vokes - 81' )

Substitutes

  • 16 Ankergren
  • 22 Painter
  • 25 LuaLua
  • 13 Assulin
  • 24 Vokes

Reading

  • 01 Federici
  • 05 Pearce Booked
  • 17 Gorkss
  • 23 Harte Booked
  • 24 Cummings
  • 11 McAnuff
  • 14 Kebe Booked
  • 26 Mullins
  • 41 Cywka (Gunnarsson - 60' )
  • 10 Hunt (Church - 79' )
  • 33 Roberts

Substitutes

  • 12 McCarthy
  • 06 Gunnarsson
  • 09 Le Fondre
  • 18 Church
  • 51 Afobe
Ref: Russell
Att: 20,610

Match Stats

Shots

13 7

On target

7 2

Corners

7 8

Fouls

8 16

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:19 Full time

Full Time The referee ends the match.

90:00 +3:00

Jobi McAnuff gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rodriguez Vicente. Gary Dicker restarts play with the free kick.

90:00 +1:17

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jason Roberts on Kazenga LuaLua. Free kick taken by Kazenga LuaLua.

89:59

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Rodriguez Vicente by Brynjar Gunnarsson. Rodriguez Vicente delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right channel. Jason Roberts fouled by Gonzalo Jara Reyes, the ref awards a free kick. Jimmy Kebe restarts play with the free kick.

89:38

Jason Roberts challenges Adam El-Abd unfairly and gives away a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Gordon Greer.

89:23

Sam Vokes takes a shot. Adam Federici makes a save.

87:20

Kazenga LuaLua crosses the ball.

83:22

Rodriguez Vicente takes the free kick. Shot from outside the penalty box by Kazenga LuaLua goes wide right of the goal.

83:22 Booking

Booking Alex Pearce is given a yellow card.

83:20

Handball by Alex Pearce.

81:55

Alan Navarro takes a shot. Adam Federici makes a save.

80:31

Peter Brezovan restarts play with the free kick.

80:31 Substitution

Substitution Ashley Barnes goes off and Gai Assulin comes on.

80:31 Substitution

Substitution Craig Mackail-Smith goes off and Sam Vokes comes on.

80:31

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Inigo Calderon by Alex Pearce.

79:36

Foul by Adam El-Abd on Simon Church, free kick awarded. Ian Harte crosses the ball, Alex Pearce takes a shot.

78:29 Substitution

Substitution Simon Church on for Noel Hunt.

77:34

Inswinging corner taken by Ian Harte.

76:39

Shaun Cummings concedes a free kick for a foul on Kazenga LuaLua. Free kick taken by Kazenga LuaLua.

70:13

Unfair challenge on Craig Mackail-Smith by Shaun Cummings results in a free kick. Gonzalo Jara Reyes takes the free kick.

68:48

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Ian Harte from the right by-line to the near post, Ashley Barnes makes a clearance.

67:28

Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Rodriguez Vicente, Headed effort from inside the area by Adam El-Abd misses to the right of the target.

67:19

Kazenga LuaLua takes a shot. Blocked by Shaun Cummings.

64:45

Peter Brezovan restarts play with the free kick.

64:45 Substitution

Substitution Kazenga LuaLua replaces Will Buckley.

64:45

Foul by Gonzalo Jara Reyes on Jimmy Kebe, free kick awarded. Ian Harte crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, Alex Pearce concedes a free kick for a foul on Inigo Calderon.

60:20

Effort from just outside the box by Rodriguez Vicente goes over the bar.

59:20 Substitution

Substitution Brynjar Gunnarsson on for Tomasz Cywka.

57:45

Short corner taken by Will Buckley.

57:33

Craig Mackail-Smith takes a shot. Save by Adam Federici.

56:24

Shaun Cummings produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the area and misses to the left of the goal.

54:19

Jason Roberts takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the bar.

51:01

Corner taken by Rodriguez Vicente from the right by-line played to the near post, Ian Harte makes a clearance.

50:25

Rodriguez Vicente decides to take the corner short. Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Rodriguez Vicente.

50:25 Penalty

A save by Adam Federici from penalty by Ashley Barnes. Brighton 0-1 Reading.

48:54

Foul by Alex Pearce on Ashley Barnes, Penalty awarded.

46:47

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Ian Harte from the right by-line, Peter Brezovan makes a save.

45:01

The match restarts for the second half.

45:00 +2:10 Half time

Half Time The referee blows for half time.

44:51

Noel Hunt takes a shot. Save by Peter Brezovan.

44:08

Ian Harte takes a outswinging corner to the near post, Craig Mackail-Smith makes a clearance.

42:48

Shot from 35 yards by Gary Dicker went wide right of the net.

42:15

Rodriguez Vicente takes the free kick.

42:15 Booking

Booking Booking for Jimmy Kebe for unsporting behaviour.

42:08

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jimmy Kebe on Gonzalo Jara Reyes.

41:12

Free kick taken by Rodriguez Vicente.

41:12 Booking

Booking Adam El-Abd is shown a yellow card for dissent.

41:01

Free kick awarded for a foul by Kaspars Gorkss on Craig Mackail-Smith.

37:56

Rodriguez Vicente takes a shot.

37:13

Rodriguez Vicente restarts play with the free kick.

37:13 Booking

Booking Booking for Ian Harte.

37:06

Unfair challenge on Will Buckley by Ian Harte results in a free kick.

35:13

The ball is sent over by Rodriguez Vicente.

32:35

Ian Harte restarts play with the free kick.

32:35 Booking

Booking The referee shows Gordon Greer a yellow card.

32:20

Free kick awarded for a foul by Gordon Greer on Jason Roberts.

29:51

Noel Hunt fouled by Adam El-Abd, the ref awards a free kick. Ian Harte crosses the ball in from the free kick, save by Peter Brezovan.

28:38

Corner taken by Ian Harte from the right by-line, Gordon Greer fouled by Alex Pearce, the ref awards a free kick. Peter Brezovan takes the indirect free kick.

26:20

Jason Roberts concedes a free kick for a foul on Adam El-Abd. Adam El-Abd takes the free kick.

24:38

Noel Hunt produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the target.

22:39

Corner taken left-footed by Ian Harte, Inigo Calderon makes a clearance. Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Jobi McAnuff, Effort from inside the six-yard box by Alex Pearce goes wide right of the target.

21:19

Handball decision goes against Noel Hunt. Alan Navarro restarts play with the free kick.

18:58

Rodriguez Vicente decides to take a short corner.

15:25

Gary Dicker takes a shot. Save by Adam Federici. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Rodriguez Vicente from the right by-line.

13:04

Assist by Noel Hunt.

13:04 Goal scored

Goal! - Ian Harte - Brighton 0 - 1 Reading Ian Harte scores a goal direct from the free kick from just outside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Brighton 0-1 Reading.

12:02

Gonzalo Jara Reyes gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Noel Hunt.

11:20

Inswinging corner taken by Ian Harte from the right by-line played to the near post, Craig Mackail-Smith makes a clearance.

9:38

Rodriguez Vicente takes a shot. Save by Adam Federici. Inigo Calderon challenges Jason Roberts unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ian Harte restarts play with the free kick.

6:52

Inigo Calderon gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ian Harte. Adam Federici takes the free kick.

5:31

Foul by Tomasz Cywka on Rodriguez Vicente, free kick awarded. Alan Navarro takes the direct free kick.

4:27

Effort on goal by Ashley Barnes from deep inside the penalty area misses to the right of the target.

2:20

Rodriguez Vicente fouled by Hayden Mullins, the ref awards a free kick. The ball is crossed by Rodriguez Vicente, Ashley Barnes takes a shot. Adam Federici makes a save.

0:00

The game begins.

Live data and text provided by our data suppliers