Royals bolster promotion push
By Graeme Bailey
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The Royals took advantage of the fact that none of teams above them were in league action, by collecting maximum points and keeping the pressure on.
Reading left it late in the first half to open the scoring as they pounced on the stroke of half time.
Andy Hughes led a counter-attack and he found Nicky Forster (pictured), who in-turn finished clinically past Tony Warner.
Alan Pardew's men then held firm in the second period and put the game beyond any doubt when they doubled their advantage with less than ten minutes remaining.
Highly-rated Darius Henderson, who came on as substitute, grabbed the goal as he drilled home from the edge of the area.
Rotherham climbed into sixth and gave their play-off hopes a real boost with a hard fought win 1-0 over Coventry at Millmoor.
The only goal of the game came just after the half hour mark. Top-scorer Darren Byfield was on hand to grab his 13th goal of the season when he fired home from close range after 33 minutes.
The Millers hung on to the points, which sees Coventry's promotion hopes suffer a major blow whilst Ronnie Moore continues to perform miracles with the South Yorkshire club.
Gillingham moved into mid-table with a very comfortable 3-0 win over lowly Grimsby Town at The Priestfield Stadium.
The Gills did all the damage in the first half and Rod Wallace continued his good form with another two goals.
The first came after just six minutes when Paul Shaw riffled a vicious ball across the box and Guy Ipoua dummied it for Wallace who found the back of the net.
Wallace and Gillingham had to wait just eight more minutes for another, a long clearance from Chris Hope was latched upon by the former Leeds man who lifted the ball over a stranded Danny Coyne.
The third then arrived before the interval when Hope rose to flick home Nicky Southall's cross into the top of the net.
Grimsby are now just two points adrift of the relegation zone, because of Brighton's tremendous 1-0 win at Bradford City.
Steve Coppell has done a remarkable job since taking charge of Albion, who had looked certain candidates for relegation earlier in the season.
The only goal of the came after 28 minutes when the ubiquitous Bobby Zamora headed home a Gary Hart cross which Aidan Davidson could not keep out.
Brighton have now clawed themselves off the bottom and are now in 22nd place, which means Sheffield Wednesday are relegated to the foot of the table.
Even though The Owls have sunk in the table, they still produced a heartening display as they earned a 2-2 at Derby County.
Chris Turner's men took the lead after 16 minutes when Warren Barton blasted into his own net from close range after good work from Michael Reddy.
Barton's day then got even worse when he was sent off just 10 minutes later when he brought down Reddy who was clear on goal after picking up a long ball from Ashley Westwood.
The Rams then pushed forward, despite having just 10 men, and equalised before the hour mark.
Fabrizio Ravanelli came on as substitute for his first game since November and it was his flick-on that set up Adam Bolder to volley home from close-range.
Bolder then added a second with just 20 minutes left, after great work from Georgi Kinkladze and Lee Morris.
However, Wednesday were not to be denied their point and with just minutes left Tony Crane - who had only been on the field for two minutes - poked the ball home from close-range after Carl Robinson's cross eluded Derby's defence.
Click here for Division One table