Plymouth Argyle made it two successive wins over the Christmas period with a comprehensive victory over fellow strugglers Reading.
Alan Judge scored Argyle's first from the penalty spot after Jamie Mackie had been fouled by Ivar Ingimarsson.
Kari Arnason's header doubled their lead before Gylfi Sigurdsson headed a goal back for the Royals.
But Judge's header then restored Plymouth's two-goal cushion before Ashley Barnes added a fourth.
The win builds upon Argyle's 1-0 win at Cardiff on Boxing Day. And, while it does not lift them out of the Championship relegation zone, it will give head coach Paul Mariner and his players cause for optimism in their fight to beat the drop.
Reading caretaker boss Brian McDermott, whose side are now just two points above Plymouth, is still looking for his first win in the Royals hot seat.
Beyond the brief hope offered by Sigurdsson's goal, his sixth of the season, Reading had little to celebrate throughout a match in which they were outplayed.
Their woes began in the 11th minute when Mackie was allowed to collect a loose ball and run into the box before being felled by Ingimarsson, allowing Judge to convert from the spot.
Argyle's Chris Clark grazed an upright with a shot before Arnason rose to head home Judge's corner.
Jobi McAnuff provided the cross from which Sigurdsson scored Reading's goal in the 62nd minute.
But Plymouth snuffed out any hope that the Royals had of getting something from the game when Judge headed in his second a minute later.
With five minutes remaining, Argyle added the gloss finish to their display when Barnes was on hand to turn home a loose ball after Mackie's initial free-kick had been saved by goalkeeper Adam Federici.
Plymouth head coach Paul Mariner:
Mariner hails 'team performance'
"The players at this club have been magnificent in every single aspect, professionalism, thirst for knowledge, learning new stuff and putting it into practice. They are a joy to work with.
"There's nobody on the planet that can tell you how it comes about.
"You go through barren spells, dry spells, and all you can do is keep working and the players have been terrific and they got some just desserts today."
Reading caretaker boss Brian McDermott told BBC Radio Berkshire:
"I didn't see it coming. We had a really bad day, really disappointing.
"If you come to a place like this and don't win your individual battles that's what can happen to you and that's what happened to us today.
"The fact they have outfought us hurts more than anything. I don't know where that has come from. I didn't expect that.
"All we can do now is look forward to the next game - and that's against Liverpool (in the FA Cup) - and it's a massive game."
Live text and stats
Monday, 28 December 2009
Judge (pen) 13
22 Johnson yellow card
08 Mackie yellow card
20 Summerfield (Folly 80)
25 Judge (Noone 66)
14 Fallon (Barnes 69)
08 Matejovsky (Kebe 46)
11 McAnuff yellow card
09 Long (Rasiak 60)
Ref: HooperAtt: 12,091
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
90:00+4:06 The final whistle is blown by the referee.
90:00+3:29 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Ashley Barnes by Ivar Ingimarsson. Free kick taken by Reda Johnson.
90:00+2:00 Ashley Barnes concedes a free kick for a foul on Gylfi Sigurdsson. Gylfi Sigurdsson crosses the ball in from the free kick,
Reda Johnson makes a clearance.
90:00+1:19 Craig Noone gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Ivar Ingimarsson. Direct free kick taken by Adam Federici.
86:54 Free kick awarded for a foul by Brynjar Gunnarsson on Gary Sawyer. Free kick taken by Romain Larrieu.
83:01 GOAL - Ashley Barnes:Plymouth 4 - 1 Reading Ashley Barnes fires in a goal from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Plymouth 4-1 Reading.
82:53 Jamie Mackie takes a shot. Save by Adam Federici.
82:37 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ivar Ingimarsson on Jamie Mackie. Chris Clark takes the direct free kick.
81:15 Unfair challenge on Jobi McAnuff by Gary Sawyer results in a free kick. Adam Federici takes the direct free kick.
79:19 Substitution Yoann Folly comes on in place of Luke Summerfield.
78:16 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Karl Duguid by Grzegorz Rasiak. Romain Larrieu takes the direct free kick.
72:34 Ashley Barnes takes a shot. Save by Adam Federici. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Craig Noone from the right by-line,
Header from deep inside the area by Chris Clark goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
70:52 Free kick awarded for a foul by Kari Arnason on Jimmy Kebe. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Gylfi Sigurdsson,
save by Romain Larrieu. Inswinging corner taken by Gylfi Sigurdsson from the left by-line, Alex Pearce gives away a free kick
for an unfair challenge on Reda Johnson. Free kick taken by Romain Larrieu.
68:40 Substitution Rory Fallon goes off and Ashley Barnes comes on.
67:53 Gary Sawyer challenges Brynjar Gunnarsson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ivar Ingimarsson takes the free kick.
65:26 Substitution Craig Noone is brought on as a substitute for Alan Judge.
64:01 Carl Fletcher produces a volleyed left-footed shot from 30 yards. Save by Adam Federici.
63:12 Romain Larrieu restarts play with the free kick.
63:12 Booking Jobi McAnuff receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.
63:07 Unfair challenge on Chris Clark by Jobi McAnuff results in a free kick.
62:25 Chris Clark provided the assist for the goal.
62:25 GOAL - Alan Judge:Plymouth 3 - 1 Reading Alan Judge scores a headed goal from close in. Plymouth 3-1 Reading.
61:15 Jobi McAnuff provided the assist for the goal.
61:15 GOAL - Gylfi Sigurdsson:Plymouth 2 - 1 Reading Gylfi Sigurdsson scores a headed goal from close range. Plymouth 2-1 Reading.
59:59 Jobi McAnuff takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post.
58:46 Substitution Grzegorz Rasiak replaces Shane Long.
58:46 Alan Judge provided the assist for the goal.
58:46 GOAL - Kari Arnason:Plymouth 2 - 0 Reading Kari Arnason grabs a headed goal from inside the penalty box. Plymouth 2-0 Reading.
58:16 Outswinging corner taken by Alan Judge,
55:20 Karl Duguid challenges Jimmy Kebe unfairly and gives away a free kick. Ryan Bertrand takes the free kick.
53:32 Chris Clark produces a left-footed shot from just inside the area and hits the post.
50:54 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Alan Judge from the left by-line.
49:23 Foul by Shane Long on Chris Clark, free kick awarded. Romain Larrieu takes the direct free kick.
47:07 The official flags Rory Fallon offside. Indirect free kick taken by Adam Federici.
45:01 The second half has started.
45:01 Substitution Jimmy Kebe is brought on as a substitute for Marek Matejovsky.
45:00+1:19 The referee calls an end to the first half.
45:00+0:29 Gylfi Sigurdsson takes a shot. Blocked by Reda Johnson. Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Gylfi Sigurdsson played to
the near post, clearance made by Rory Fallon.
44:51 Jobi McAnuff takes a shot. Save made by Romain Larrieu. Ryan Bertrand takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played
to the near post.
44:01 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kalifa Cisse by Carl Fletcher. Ivar Ingimarsson takes the free kick.
41:37 Reda Johnson takes a shot. Save made by Adam Federici.
40:01 Booking Jamie Mackie goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.
39:27 Corner taken right-footed by Alan Judge from the left by-line, Adam Federici makes a save.
38:55 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Rory Fallon by Alex Pearce. Direct free kick taken by Kari Arnason.
38:18 Rory Fallon challenges Ryan Bertrand unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Ryan Bertrand.
36:41 Ryan Bertrand delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing, save made by Romain Larrieu.
36:41 Booking Reda Johnson goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
36:36 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Shane Long by Reda Johnson.
35:28 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Luke Summerfield by Marek Matejovsky. The free kick is delivered right-footed
by Alan Judge from left wing, save by Adam Federici.
34:41 Free kick awarded for a foul by Rory Fallon on Alex Pearce. Adam Federici restarts play with the free kick.
34:15 Corner taken by Alan Judge from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Shane Long.
33:12 The assistant referee signals for offside against Simon Church. Romain Larrieu takes the free kick.
32:43 Foul by Carl Fletcher on Brynjar Gunnarsson, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Ivar Ingimarsson.
31:43 Alan Judge takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, Marek Matejovsky manages to make a clearance.
30:07 The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Adam Federici.
28:29 The assistant referee flags for offside against Simon Church. Free kick taken by Romain Larrieu.
27:43 Handball by Brynjar Gunnarsson. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Alan Judge from left wing, clearance made by Marek
25:58 Jamie Mackie has an effort at goal from outside the box which misses left.
25:01 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jamie Mackie by Ivar Ingimarsson. Alan Judge has a direct shot on goal from the
24:16 Shane Long is caught offside. Romain Larrieu takes the free kick.
23:05 The ball is swung over by Chris Clark, Headed effort from inside the area by Jamie Mackie misses to the right of the target.
19:19 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Alex Pearce by Rory Fallon. Ryan Bertrand takes the free kick.
16:18 Marek Matejovsky takes a inswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, save by Romain Larrieu.
15:51 Foul by Carl Fletcher on Kalifa Cisse, free kick awarded. Direct free kick taken by Brynjar Gunnarsson.
12:37 GOAL - Alan Judge:Plymouth 1 - 0 Reading Power penalty scored by Alan Judge. Plymouth 1-0 Reading.
11:57 Penalty awarded for an unfair challenge on Jamie Mackie by Ivar Ingimarsson.
9:03 Jamie Mackie is caught offside. Free kick taken by Ivar Ingimarsson.
8:20 Kalifa Cisse concedes a free kick for a foul on Jamie Mackie. Kari Arnason takes the free kick.
7:44 Free kick awarded for a foul by Alan Judge on Ryan Bertrand. Free kick crossed right-footed by Gylfi Sigurdsson, Jamie Mackie
makes a clearance.
5:04 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Simon Church by Luke Summerfield. Direct free kick taken by Kalifa Cisse.
3:26 Reda Johnson challenges Simon Church unfairly and gives away a free kick. Kalifa Cisse takes the free kick.
2:22 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Alan Judge played to the near post, clearance made by Marek Matejovsky.
1:16 Centre by Chris Clark, Alan Judge takes a shot. Save by Adam Federici.
0:35 Simon Church concedes a free kick for a foul on Luke Summerfield. Free kick taken by Kari Arnason.
0:00 The referee starts the match.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.