Match ends, Reading 0, Bournemouth 1.
Reading 0-1 Bournemouth
- Bournemouth one point clear of second-placed Norwich
- Middlesbrough a point further back in third
- Cherries have won six of their last eight
- Wilson has scored in each of last three games
Callum Wilson's 22nd goal of the season edged Bournemouth closer to the Premier League after a tense win at Reading.
Wilson tapped home from close range after Andrew Surman's initial shot had bounced back off the post.
Bournemouth needed a stunning one-handed save by Artur Boruc from Jamie Mackie's volley to help seal a vital three points.
The Cherries have a one-point lead and superior goal difference at the top of the Championship with three games left.
Norwich stay second, although Watford can join them on 82 points if they beat Nottingham Forest on Wednesday.
Middlesbrough also have not given up the chase for automatic promotion, with their victory over Wolves moving them to 81 points.
The race for the top flight remains extraordinarily tight and although victory confirmed a place in the play-offs at the very least for Bournemouth, manager Eddie Howe's side have their sights set on the league title.
With one eye on Saturday's FA Cup game against Arsenal, Reading manager Steve Clarke could have been forgiven for fielding a weakened side. However, he made just one change to the team that drew with Blackburn at the weekend and his side gave the league leaders a stern test at the Madejski Stadium.
The Cherries, roared on by vociferous away support of over 4,000 fans, made a blistering start, though, stunning the home crowd after only four minutes.
Wilson side-footed home from the six-yard box after Surman's initial shot from 18 yards came back off the post.
Reading rallied and only a superb, point-blank save by Boruc from Mackie's close-range strike kept the Cherries in front.
|Bournemouth's remaining games|
|18 April: Sheffield Wednesday (home)|
|27 April: Bolton (home)|
|2 May: Charlton (away)|
The Royals' Jordan Obita later blazed over from a promising position, while Bournemouth's Yann Kermorgant floated a header wide of Reading keeper Adam Federici's post.
Matt Ritchie came close to doubling the lead on the hour, his fierce curling strike from the corner of the penalty box fizzing just wide, and Steve Cook later had a shot saved by Federici.
The closing stages were scrappy and niggly but despite intense late pressure, which included five minutes of injury time, Boruc was not tested and Bournemouth held on, inching ever closer to their first promotion to the top flight.
The Royals remain 18th, eight points above the relegation zone, with Clarke's men having four games left to play.
Reading assistant boss Kevin Keen told BBC Radio Berkshire: "For manager Steve Clarke we were just about the better team, but the best team in the league won.
"We deserved at least a draw, we were competitive, but sometimes football is like that
"Confidence can carry you at this time of the season and hopefully this time next year we'll have that confidence.
"If you give Bournemouth a goal head start it is very hard. Artur Boruc save was outstanding but that typifies a team at the top of the league. Like I said I thought we deserved a draw."
- 5PearceBooked at 78mins
- 15HectorBooked at 55mins
- 14ChalobahSubstituted forAppiahat 67'minutes
- 21KaracanSubstituted forWilliamsat 59'minutes
- 9Robson-KanuSubstituted forAiyegbeniat 81'minutes
- 31BorucBooked at 90mins
- 2FrancisBooked at 72mins
- 3S Cook
- 7PughSubstituted forA Smithat 69'minutesBooked at 90mins
- 18KermorgantSubstituted forPitmanat 75'minutes
- 13WilsonBooked at 55minsSubstituted forJonesat 90'minutes
- 15A Smith
- Keith Stroud
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Reading 0, Bournemouth 1.
Attempt blocked. Garath McCleary (Reading) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Adam Smith (Bournemouth) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Adam Smith (Bournemouth).
Jamie Mackie (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Artur Boruc (Bournemouth) is shown the yellow card.
Substitution, Bournemouth. Kenwyne Jones replaces Callum Wilson.
Attempt missed. Nathan Aké (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right following a corner.
Corner, Reading. Conceded by Adam Smith.
Corner, Reading. Conceded by Andrew Surman.
Attempt blocked. Daniel Williams (Reading) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Garath McCleary.
Tommy Elphick (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Jamie Mackie (Reading).
Substitution, Reading. Yakubu replaces Hal Robson-Kanu.
Attempt missed. Hal Robson-Kanu (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left.
Attempt missed. Brett Pitman (Bournemouth) left footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Matt Ritchie with a cross following a set piece situation.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Alex Pearce (Reading) is shown the yellow card.
Delay in match Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) because of an injury.
Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Michael Hector (Reading).
Substitution, Bournemouth. Brett Pitman replaces Yann Kermorgant.
Offside, Reading. Adam Federici tries a through ball, but Kwesi Appiah is caught offside.
Attempt saved. Steve Cook (Bournemouth) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Callum Wilson with a headed pass.
Corner, Bournemouth. Conceded by Daniel Williams.
Attempt missed. Steve Cook (Bournemouth) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Matt Ritchie with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Bournemouth. Conceded by Jordan Obita.
Simon Francis (Bournemouth) is shown the yellow card.
Hand ball by Callum Wilson (Bournemouth).
Substitution, Bournemouth. Adam Smith replaces Marc Pugh.
Attempt missed. Kwesi Appiah (Reading) header from the centre of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Hal Robson-Kanu with a cross.
Substitution, Reading. Kwesi Appiah replaces Nathaniel Chalobah.
Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Nathan Aké (Reading).
Offside, Bournemouth. Charlie Daniels tries a through ball, but Callum Wilson is caught offside.
Attempt blocked. Garath McCleary (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Daniel Williams.
Attempt missed. Matt Ritchie (Bournemouth) left footed shot from the right side of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Callum Wilson.
Substitution, Reading. Daniel Williams replaces Jem Karacan.
Michael Hector (Reading) is shown the yellow card.