Match ends, Reading 0, Luton Town 2.
Reading's miserable week continued as they were beaten by in-form Luton in the Championship to suffer a fourth successive defeat.
The Hatters went in front in a quiet first half when Royals defender Tom Holmes deflected Amari'i Bell's teasing cross into his own net.
Allan Campbell doubled the lead from close range after the break, stroking home Elijah Adebayo's delivery after slick build-up play cut open the home defence.
John Swift's second-half snap shot, saved by James Shea, was the closest the Royals came, while the Hatters had a late third from Adebayo ruled out for offside.
Liam Moore was left out of the Reading squad after telling manager Veljko Paunovic he wanted to leave, and centre-half Michael Morrison took the captain's armband on his first start since mid-September.
The Royals were also without former England striker Andy Carroll after his two-month deal expired this week, as well as goalkeeper Rafael Cabral following his return to Brazil. After a difficult week, there was little to lift the mood on the pitch.
Having not kept a clean sheet since 16 October, Reading denied Luton a single attempt on target in the first half, but still trailed at the break after Holmes' unfortunate intervention.
Swift almost conjured up a quick equaliser, but sent a left-footed shot just wide, but it was Luton who turned up the heat after the break.
Royals goalkeeper Luke Southwood parried Kai Naismith's low shot shortly before Campbell's second in as many matches, and the 24-year-old prevented further damage with good saves from Campbell and Peter Kioso.
Luton climb to 11th after extending their unbeaten run to five matches, while Reading have just nine points from their past 14 and remain 21st, three points above the relegation spots, having played two games more than 22nd-placed Peterborough.
Reading boss Veljko Paunovic told BBC Radio Berkshire:
"We have to show much more pride, much more courage. Without courage, without anger in certain moments and without urgency you can't play football. You can't be the player you are, you can't be the team you are if you are missing these important ingredients.
"Feeling sorry for ourselves, I hate that and I'm not going to let anyone spread negativity - we have to keep ourselves accountable for what we are doing.
"There is an obvious solution for this. It is to recover our pride, recover our composure and start playing as a team.
(On Liam Moore) "When I spoke to Liam I told him I want to take the burden from him. I think he was carrying a lot in these six years, a lot of good things obviously, but I think he needed a little relief and to focus on his performances."
Luton boss Nathan Jones told BBC Three Counties Radio:
"I thought we were excellent, our application was brilliant, we defended our box really well to limit their chances and we threatened at times. We had enough quality to win the game.
"We had a real element of control. The pitch was really poor and it was very tricky to move the ball, and every time we moved it into midfield it was kind of dangerous, but our front two were excellent all night, a real threat.
"We've managed to jump into the top half with games in hand so it shows we are in a decent place, but we've got to go away from home again on the weekend. It's a tough, tough schedule."
- 48AshcroftSubstituted forCamaraat 79'minutes
- 15DrinkwaterBooked at 90mins
- 19Dele-BashiruSubstituted forClarkeat 69'minutes
- 47PuscasSubstituted forLucas Joãoat 59'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 18Lucas João
- 22CampbellSubstituted forOshoat 79'minutes
- 18ClarkSubstituted forLansburyat 69'minutes
- 35JeromeSubstituted forOnyedinmaat 74'minutes
- 14Mendes Gomes
- Tim Robinson
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Reading 0, Luton Town 2.
Mamadi Camara (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Luton Town).
Offside, Reading. Danny Drinkwater tries a through ball, but Josh Laurent is caught offside.
Lucas João (Reading) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Lucas João (Reading).
Henri Lansbury (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Danny Drinkwater (Reading) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Danny Drinkwater (Reading).
Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Reading. Conceded by Sonny Bradley.
Offside, Luton Town. Fred Onyedinma tries a through ball, but Elijah Adebayo is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Fred Onyedinma (Luton Town) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Henri Lansbury.
Attempt blocked. Elijah Adebayo (Luton Town) right footed shot from the left side of the box is blocked.
Andy Rinomhota (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Luton Town).
Attempt missed. Fred Onyedinma (Luton Town) header from the right side of the six yard box is too high. Assisted by Kal Naismith with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Luton Town. Conceded by Josh Laurent.
Mamadi Camara (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.