READING FC’s long wait for an away win in the league continues after they conceded two goals in stoppage time which saw them suffer a dramatic late defeat at Shrewsbury Town.
Goals from Sam Smith and Dom Ballard gave the Royals a dream start to put them two ahead inside the opening quarter of an hour.
The Royals were just moments away from winning for the first time on the road in 364 days, but the Shrews netted twice in stoppage time to snatch the win and the points away from the Royals.
The loss leaves Reading bottom of the table and 10 points adrift of safety in League One.
Still on the hunt to end their long run without a win away from home, it was just one day shy of a full calendar year since Reading’s last victory on the road as they went into their contest with Shrewsbury.
Ruben Selles opted to start attacker Dom Ballard who replaced the suspended Charlie Savage in the starting eleven from the midweek draw with Bristol Rovers.
Despite their miserable away record, Reading made the perfect start as they ventured into unfamiliar ground by establishing a comfortable early lead.
Sam Smith opened the scoring as he netted for the second consecutive game. He was sent through to chase a long punt from David Button and finished emphatically into the roof of the net.
Just three minutes later, Reading doubled their money when Dom Ballard leapt highest to meet Andy Yiadom’s deflected cross and beat the keeper to the punch to head into the empty net.
The Royals’ remarkable start could have got even better with a third when Femi Azeez’ lifted cross to the back post teed up Smith who headed down into the ground and just over the top.
Having failed to capitalise on their chances to score a third, including an opportunity for Azeez who was let down by his heavy first touch, Reading were punished when the hosts grabbed a goal back with their first meaningful attack of the match.
Harvey Knibbs tried, but failed, to shield the ball out of play and was knocked off the ball before Tom Bayliss whipped the ball past Button.
With the second-half underway, Reading went close to reaffirming their lead when Azeez’ shot was stopped by Marko Marosi before Yiadom’s follow up thumped off the post.
The Shrews pushed hard to try and get themselves on terms as a solid stop from Button kept out Cheyenne Dunkley’s header.
Nelson Abbey then made a crucial interception after Ryan Bowman had threatened in the box.
Selles made his first round of changes with 20 minutes left to play. Ballard and Jeriel Dorsett were replaced by Ben Elliott and Harlee Dean.
Button was called into action to make another important stop while the home side continued to heap the pressure on.
Another switch saw Nesta Guinness-Walker come on for the final 10 minutes to try and solidify at the back in place of Azeez.
With a nervy final chapter of the game, Reading couldn’t hold onto the points as they conceded another stoppage time goal.
Dunkley got on the end of the loose ball in the box as Reading saw their two-goal lead wiped out.
Unbelievably, things got even worse for Selles side when the Shrews scored in the 96th minute to snatch the win and leave Reading bottom of the League One table.
Reading are back in cup action on Tuesday night when they host Arsenal U21s in the EFL Trophy prior to the international break.
Shrewsbury Town: Marosi, Flanagan, Dunkley, Sraha, Bennett, Perry, Sobowale, Winchester, Bayliss, Shipley, Mata
Subs: Thorpe, Benning, Anderson, Bowman, Udoh, Burgoyne, Kenney
Reading: Button, Yiadom, Bindon, Abbey, Dorsett, Hutchinson, Wing, Azeez, Knibbs, Ballard, Smith
Subs: Elliott, Dea, Ehibhatiomhan, Guinness-Walker, Pereira, Craig, Rushesha
Goals: Smith 12’, Ballard 15’, Bayliss 33’, Dunkley 90+2′, Sraha 90+6′