Simon Church scored the winner for Reading barely 20 seconds after coming off the bench as they beat Ipswich.
Jason Scotland fired the best chance of the first half wide for the visitors as the game struggled to spark into life.
They were reduced to 10 men in the 52nd minute when Luke Hyam was shown his second yellow card, with Reading's Matt Mills similarly seeing red soon after.
Jem Karacan forced Marton Fulop to save before Church came on and diverted a Karacan shot into the net for a winner.
The Royals were forced to finish the game with nine men after Karacan was injured in the build-up to the goal, but they held on to move up to sixth in the Championship, one place above the Tractor Boys.
Church was only on the pitch because of a late injury to Hal Robson-Kanu, who produced a lively performance up front for Brian McDermott's side.
He caused the visitors' defence problems with his direct running, with one cross fired wide by Jimmy Kebe, before Robson-Kanu's control let him down as he failed to take advantage of Fulop's shaky handling.
Despite Roy Keane sending on both Connor Wickham and Reggie Lambe early on in the second half, Ipswich failed to really test Adam Federici and the Royals always looked the likelier winners.
Live text and stats
Tuesday, 28 September 2010
05 Mills two yellow cards, red card
24 Cummings yellow card
14 Kebe (Antonio 71)
19 Robson-Kanu (Church 86)
09 Long (Hunt 80)
07 Edwards (Lambe 56)
08 Norris yellow card
17 Townsend (Livermore 80)
19 Hyam two yellow cards, red card
10 Scotland (Wickham 56 yellow card)
Ref: CrossleyAtt: 15,763
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
90:00+5:24 The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.
90:00+4:20 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Grant Leadbitter, Adam Federici makes a save.
90:00+3:16 Centre by Grant Leadbitter, clearance by Michail Antonio.
90:00+2:49 Michail Antonio is adjudged to have handled the ball. Marton Fulop takes the direct free kick.
90:00+2:17 The assistant referee signals for offside against Connor Wickham. Direct free kick taken by Adam Federici.
90:00+1:46 Michail Antonio concedes a free kick for a foul on Jake Livermore. Free kick taken by Grant Leadbitter.
90:00+0:29 Adam Federici takes the free kick.
90:00+0:29 Booking Connor Wickham goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.
89:59 Unfair challenge on Jem Karacan by Connor Wickham results in a free kick.
89:01 Jem Karacan concedes a free kick for a foul on Grant Leadbitter. Direct free kick taken by Marton Fulop.
88:39 The ball is crossed by Troy Brown, Adam Federici makes a comfortable save.
87:49 The assist for the goal came from Jem Karacan.
87:49 GOAL - Simon Church:Reading 1 - 0 Ipswich Simon Church grabs a goal from inside the six-yard box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Reading 1-0 Ipswich.
86:36 Ian Harte takes a shot.
85:10 Ian Harte takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post.
85:10 Substitution Simon Church comes on in place of Hal Robson-Kanu.
82:53 Free kick crossed right-footed by Ian Harte, Darren O'Dea manages to make a clearance.
82:53 Booking David Norris is given a yellow card.
82:33 David Norris concedes a free kick for a foul on Noel Hunt.
82:15 David Norris takes a shot. Save made by Adam Federici.
81:35 Michail Antonio gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jake Livermore. Marton Fulop takes the free kick.
81:03 Jake Livermore produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the goal.
79:33 Substitution Shane Long leaves the field to be replaced by Noel Hunt.
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