Match ends, Watford 4, Reading 1.
Watford moved into the second automatic promotion place in the Championship with a comfortable win over Reading.
Almen Abdi opened the scoring after 53 seconds and Matej Vydra doubled the Hornets' lead before half-time.
Vydra played in Troy Deeney to stretch the lead further, before midfielder Jem Karacan pulled one back for the Royals.
But substitute Fernando Forestieri wrapped up all three points for Watford with a powerful left-foot strike after being played through by Deeney.
The result leaves Watford second in the table, level on points with leaders Bournemouth and ahead of third-placed Middlesbrough, thanks only to Slavisa Jokanovic's side's superior goalscoring record.
Manager Steve Clarke made nine changes to the Reading side that beat Brighton on Tuesday ahead of the FA Cup sixth-round replay with Bradford on Monday.
The visitors were on the back foot throughout the game, with Marco Motta and Forestieri both having chances before Czech Republic international Vydra fired past Anderson shortly before the break.
A seventh-minute injury to Abdi was the only blemish in Watford's first-half performance, as they boosted their chances of returning to the Premier League for the first time since 2007.
Watford head coach Slavisa Jokanovic: "I must be happy with our performance today and, more importantly, we won three more points.
"We had some problems during the game but my team fixed this problem, so I must be happy with what we did today.
"After they scored the goal, it sometimes happens where my team starts playing a little bit slower and we start being a little bit relaxed.
"We must use the bench to help them fix this problem."
Reading boss Steve Clarke: "I thought the 4-1 only showed that Watford's forwards are clinical.
"I thought for long periods of the game we were good. We were in the game.
"We obviously had a terrible start, which wasn't in the plan, but the boys reacted well to that.
"The difference between the teams was that Watford were clinical and we weren't."
- 5GuédiouraSubstituted forLayunat 58'minutes
- 22AbdiSubstituted forForestieriat 7'minutes
- 20VydraSubstituted forAngellaat 83'minutes
- 24KnightSubstituted forNovakovichat 86'minutes
- 25TaylorSubstituted forKaracanat 59'minutes
- 10CoxSubstituted forBlackmanat 59'minutes
- Darren Bond
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Watford 4, Reading 1.
Attempt missed. Troy Deeney (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses the top right corner. Assisted by Ben Watson.
Attempt saved. Ben Watson (Watford) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Daniel Tözsér with a cross.
Corner, Watford. Conceded by Jack Stacey.
Substitution, Reading. Andrija Novakovich replaces Zat Knight.
Goal! Watford 4, Reading 1. Fernando Forestieri (Watford) left footed shot from the left side of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Troy Deeney.
Substitution, Watford. Gabriele Angella replaces Matej Vydra.
Attempt blocked. Nick Blackman (Reading) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Yakubu.
Attempt saved. Yakubu (Reading) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Danny Guthrie.
Fernando Forestieri (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jack Stacey (Reading).
Offside, Watford. Heurelho Gomes tries a through ball, but Troy Deeney is caught offside.
Daniel Pudil (Watford) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Hope Akpan (Reading).
Corner, Reading. Conceded by Joel Ekstrand.
Attempt blocked. Nick Blackman (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jake Cooper.
Troy Deeney (Watford) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Niall Keown (Reading).
Goal! Watford 3, Reading 1. Jem Karacan (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box to the top right corner following a corner.