Premier League: Reading 1 Aston Villa 2
The hosts started well and took the lead through an own goal off Nathan Baker, however it was cancelled out almost immediately with Christian Benteke equalising a minute later.
And things went from bad to worse for the Royals just before the break, with Gabriel Agbonlahor securing the points for Villa at Madejski Stadium.
The hosts were quickest out of the blocks and almost took the lead with about a minute played, however Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan made a superb acrobatic save to tip Adam Le Fondre's header wide of the post.
Villa responded well, though, as they managed to slow Reading's play down before their own striker forced the opposition keeper into an equally good save, with Stuart Taylor palming Benteke's headed effort onto the bar at full stretch.
Back came the Royals, with Hal Robson-Kanu sending a low effort just wide of the post, but it was Paul Lambert's men who should have took the lead when Andreas Weimann dragged a shot wide.
With around 10 minutes to go until half-time Reading managed to find a breakthrough, albeit with some fortune. Jobi McAnuff crossed low from the left, with Hope Akpan flicking the ball on neatly before Nathan Baker sliced the ball into his own net.
A minute later, however, and again with an element of luck, Villa were level. Weimann broke free on the right before pulling the ball back for Benteke, whose shot deflected past Taylor off Stephen Kelly.
And it was the visiting side that then took the initiative and went in front right before half time. Weimann was involved again on the right before his cross was thrice unsuccessfully dealt with by the Royals defence, leaving Agbonlahor to slam the ball home.
The action continued after the break with Baker, Yacouba Sylla and Benteke all going close for Villa, before Reading forward Noel Hunt had the ball in the net after McAnuff's low-driven cross, however it was controversially ruled out for offside.
The hosts should have been level soon after, with substitute Nick Blackman's fine chest control giving him a fantastic chance just yards out, however he shot wide with only the keeper to beat.
Robson-Kanu, who was the Royals' brightest spark by a long way, nearly grabbed a late equaliser with a fine curling effort, however it was the Villans who held on for what could be their biggest win all season.