Championship leaders Reading suffered a third straight defeat as Stoke City capitalised on defensive errors at the Madejski Stadium.

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The Royals dominated possession but were 2-0 down at half-time following clinical finishes from Tyrese Campbell and Steven Fletcher.

Potters keeper Angus Gunn had saved two early headers from Alfa Semedo, while Lewis Gibson missed a chance to pull one back before the break.

Tomas Esteves and Sam Baldock shot narrowly wide for Reading in the second half, before substitute Jacob Brown added a third for the visitors deep into stoppage time.

Reading were the early pacesetters in the second tier, winning seven of their first eight games to establish a seven-point lead at the top of the table, but Veljko Paunovic’s men have seen their advantage cut to just one point after their defeat and victories for Watford and Norwich City on Saturday afternoon.

Relive Saturday’s Championship action
Potters make most of Royals slip-ups
Reading started brightly and created two chances for Semedo in the first six minutes.

The midfielder could have done better with his first header, sending it down into the ground and straight at Gunn, but his second was a powerful effort which the on-loan Southampton keeper tipped over the bar.

Stoke took the lead midway through the first half when Campbell pounced on a loose clearing header from Esteves and found the bottom left-hand corner with Royals keeper Rafael Cabral unsighted.

The visitors doubled their lead 10 minutes before half-time when a clearing kick from Cabral was headed back into the box by right-back Tommy Smith and Fletcher sent a first-time finish past the Brazilian.

Gibson could not divert a free-kick from Esteves towards goal at the back post and Reading then had appeals for a penalty waved away by referee Keith Stroud after Michael Morrison went down under the challenges of Danny Batth and Nick Powell following a corner.

Reading continued to enjoy more of the ball after the break as Stoke sat back, but it was the visitors who came closer to scoring another goal when Campbell’s curling effort came back off the post.

And the Potters did wrap things up in the fifth minute of added time when Brown capitalised on a weak backpass from Gibson and rounded Cabral before slotting in.

Stoke’s first win in 16 league trips to Reading – a run stretching back to December 1992 – lifted Michael O’Neill’s men up to eighth in the table and a point off the top six.

Reading manager Veljko Paunovic

“The game started very well for us and we had [two] very good opportunities. We have to learn that those moments are crucial in a game. You have to take advantage of it.

“This is a serious league in which mistakes – in both boxes – can kill you. There is a mix of immaturity in some moments and a mix of fatigue, accumulation of games and injuries that we are going through.

“I have to say, though, that there were still a lot of positives. Our doubters will now have negatives but we will fix this.”

Stoke manager Michael O’Neill told BBC Radio Stoke:

“We were disappointed to come away with nothing at Watford and it was important to react well to that and we did that today.

“We had to dig in at the start of the game but once we got ahead we looked capable of scoring again.

“Second half we knew we’d come under pressure and we showed great spirit to deal with that and nicked a second goal on the break.”

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