Match ends, Reading 1, Charlton Athletic 0.
Nick Blackman scored his ninth goal in nine games as Reading climbed to second with victory over Charlton Athletic.
His second-half header from Lucas Piazon's cross finally made Reading's dominance count after the Addicks were reduced to 10 men.
Defender Patrick Bauer picked up a second yellow card as he tripped Blackman on the edge of the area.
Charlton, now winless in seven games, could only muster one shot on target in a lacklustre display.
Guy Luzon's side looked to have frustrated the Royals as they failed to break a stubborn Charlton down in the opening 45 minutes.
Piazon and Orlando Sa saw shots easily saved by Nick Pope, while Oliver Norwood and Ola John also wasted opportunities as they fired off target.
More than 40 minutes had been played before Ali Al-Habsi was called into action in the Reading goal from Johann Berg-Gudmundsson's snap shot.
After the break, Michael Hector saw a deflected drive go just over the Charlton crossbar, but both the in-form Blackman and Aaron Tshibola fired well wide as Reading continued to spurn chances.
Blackman was in the action soon after, weaving past two challenges before Bauer fouled him when set to shoot. The centre-back was on his way down the tunnel but Piazon blazed the resulting free-kick well off target.
But the Brazilian, on a season-long loan from Chelsea, made amends soon after with a cross from the left that proved decisive.
He found an unmarked Blackman, who headed in his 10th goal of the season to finally break the deadlock and give Steve Clarke's side a deserved victory.
Reading manager Steve Clarke:
"It was the kind of game we were expecting. We'd prepared the team a little bit in the manner to expect that type of game.
"We knew that if we didn't get the early goal, which we're not going to get every week, it would be a test of patience.
"For me, it was a really important win, but also a very good win for us. Charlton were really organised, we knew they would be. We'd watched the videos and saw their away performances had been decent.
"It was always going to be one of those days, but we never really looked like conceding at any stage."
Charlton Athletic manager Guy Luzon:
"I think we had a game plan and we prepared well for this game. Reading are a team with a lot of quality and we knew that before the game.
"When we played with 11 players, we really gave everything and organised well. We didn't let them create easy chances and, for part of the game, we were also patient with the ball.
"The red card changed the game and gave them the advantage because, with 11 against 10, it was difficult to hold them.
"We made it difficult for Reading to play against us, it was a tough game for both sides and a fair fight and, as I say, the sending off changed things and gave them the boost they needed to take the three points."
- 26Al Habsi
- 18TshibolaSubstituted forWilliamsat 70'minutes
- 17PiazonSubstituted forFernández Iglesiasat 87'minutes
- 20JohnSubstituted forMcClearyat 70'minutes
- 19Fernández Iglesias
- 5BauerBooked at 68mins
- 19BergdichBooked at 66mins
- 7Berg GudmundssonBooked at 10minsSubstituted forFoxat 62'minutes
- 4JacksonSubstituted forBaat 70'minutes
- 44MoussaSubstituted forWattat 56'minutes
- Robert Lewis
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Reading 1, Charlton Athletic 0.
Oliver Norwood (Reading) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Tony Watt (Charlton Athletic).
Danny Williams (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by El-Hadji Ba (Charlton Athletic).
Danny Williams (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Alou Diarra (Charlton Athletic).
Substitution, Reading. Álex Fernández replaces Lucas Piazon.
Attempt missed. Nick Blackman (Reading) right footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left. Assisted by Lucas Piazon.
Attempt saved. Danny Williams (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Orlando Sá.
Attempt blocked. Danny Williams (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Oliver Norwood.
Attempt missed. Oliver Norwood (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the right. Assisted by Danny Williams.
Goal! Reading 1, Charlton Athletic 0. Nick Blackman (Reading) header from very close range to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Lucas Piazon with a cross.
Hand ball by Conor McAleny (Charlton Athletic).
Corner, Reading. Conceded by Jordan Cousins.
Attempt blocked. Orlando Sá (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jordan Obita.
Attempt missed. Danny Williams (Reading) right footed shot from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Garath McCleary.
Substitution, Reading. Garath McCleary replaces Ola John.
Substitution, Reading. Danny Williams replaces Aaron Tshibola.