Reading exacted revenge for their pre-Christmas defeat at the Madejski with a 3-1 victory over the Brewers on a rainy night at the Pirelli. Icelandic striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson struck in each half along with a second half strike from Chris Gunter after Lucas Akins' 51st minute penalty had levelled matters and briefly given Albion hope of ending their winless home run.
Nigel Clough made two changes to the side beaten away at Fulham last time out. With Ben Turner having recovered from the calf problem that kept him out at Craven Cottage he returned to the back line as Marvin Sordell dropped to the bench and there was a debut for loan signing Darren Bent who came in to the side in place of Lloyd Dyer, Clough opting to go with two up top pairing the experienced front man with Lucas Akins in a 3-5 2 formation.
With Albion still smarting from their heavy defeat at Fulham and Reading bottom of the current form table it was no surprise that the opening exchanges were somewhat scrappy.
The first real chance of an opening came on eight minutes when Akins beat the offside line to get onto Jake Buxton's searching ball over the top. The angle was probably too tight for a shot and when the striker tried to pull it back to the edge of the box the retreating Reading defence were able to hack it clear of danger. Promising signs though that Albion could get in behind the Royals back line.
There was concern in the Brewers ranks when Akins went to ground after a clash of boots going for the same ball which left the Burton man gingerly getting to his feet but ready to continue after attention from Nick Fenton.
Reading's best moment of the game to this point came on nineteen minutes after some patient passing worked the ball into Sone Aluko on the edge of the box. Measuring his left foot shot the former Hull and Fulham man found the target but Stephen Bywater was more than equal to it.
Just a minute later and there was nothing Bywater could do as Reading grabbed a lead they barely deserved. A cross in from the right seemed to be drifting out and the Burton defence seemed to switch off as Leandro Bacuna kept it in. John Brayford went to stop the former Aston Villa man advancing too far but all he had to do was roll the ball across the six yard box for BODVARSSON to tap in a simple finish.
Liam Moore was the first player to see a yellow card on 26 minutes, the former Leicester man crunching into a challenge on Tom Naylor which referee Rob Jones took exception to after a couple of other questionable challenges early in the game from his team mates.
Turner also found himself in the book for trying to stop Bodvarsson turning him quickly on the half way line. The Icelandic striker got away and referee Jones played advantage but still went back and carded the Albion man for his attempted foul.
Bacuna fancied himself to get a goal himself with his side in the lead already but twice from similar positions just outside the box the wide man blazed wide over the target without troubling Bywater.
The Reading right hand side was full of pace and when Modou Barrow burst through on a challenge from Buxton halted him but illegally in the eyes of referee Jones and the Burton skipper followed his fellow centre back into the referees book.
Neither side could find a way to seriously threaten in the remaining minutes of what had proved to be a largely tame first half of football.
Half time: Burton Albion 0-1 Reading
The second half sprung to life just six minutes in when referee Jones pointed to the penalty spot as Samuelsen was bundled off the ball by Dave Edwards rather needlessly. Having missed from the spot last time Albion were awarded a penalty, at Sheffield Wednesday on New Years Day, AKINS stepped up and this time comprehensively sent Mannone the wrong way to equalise.
Albion were level for just six minutes as Reading worked a set piece to retake the lead. Bacuna was again the architect with a corner that instead of being played into the penalty area, was played towards skipper Chris Gunter loitering just outside the box. The Royals skipper was able to take a touch before steering a low shot through a crowded box and beyond the despairing dive of Bywater.
Reading threatened to take the game away from Albion as Bodvarsson seemed to go tumbling under pressure at the far post trying to tap home his second from a low cross and Barrow had his head in his hands when his shot on the turn waas deflected over after some loose defending inside the Burton box.
BODVARSSON's second goal of the night on 68 minutes put clear daylight between the two sides and disappointingly for Albion it was such a simple goal. One long ball out from the back found the run of Barrow down the left and his run and low cross into the middle was finished coolly by the Icelander from close range despite Bywater getting something to the ball.
Clough rung the changes with both Bent and Samuelsen coming off as the second half progressed to be replaced by former Reading man Hope Akpan and Marvin Sordell with neither seemingly able to put enough pressure on the Reading defence to force Mannone into any worrying moments at the back.
Akpan let fly from the edge of tghe box on 84 minutes but his shot lacked the curl on it to find the bottom corner and Reading's former Arsenal keeper was able to watch in relative comfort as the ball skidded beyond the post.
As the rain continued to fall on what felt a really wintry and disappointing night Albion could not find a way back into the game as once again the three points slipped away from them after a promising start.