Last Updated: 11/12/12 9:40pm
McClean looks to make it four but after twisting and turning, fatigue looked to set in with his shot which is tame and driven straight at Federici.
Sessegnon puts the gloss on the win, beating Mariappa for strength before taking the ball round Federici and calmly applying the finish. 3-0 and a wonderful win for the Black Cats.
Excellent work from Sunderland as they hold up the ball in the corner, and there are four minutes of time added on by the fourth official.
Samuel slips on the ball and concedes possession back to Sunderland just when the Royals were building up some momentum for a late charge.
Set pieces have been Reading's primary form of attack tonight and twice they've come close now. Shorey continues the attack from the corner, but Cuellar heads his following cross away.
The excellent McAnuff earns his side a corner and from the delivery Hunt aims a powerful header at goal which sees Mignolet make another blinding save!
Le Fondre can't control Pearce's ball up the field and Bramble takes control, with Sunderland doing a fine job of neutralising space in their half.
Reading come close as Shorey's delivery takes a flick from Le Fondre. It's a neat effort but it fails to hit the target. That really is as close as the visitors have come tonight.
McClean's cross is plucked out of the air by Federici and he throws out to Tabb. The midfielder is dispossessed by Gardner though and Sunderland again look to threaten before McAnuff tracks back to slide in on Sessegnon.
Sessegnon finds McClean who cuts inside, and Sunderland probe for an opening as Reading are well and truly penned back for the time being.
Bramble barely gets his head in front of Le Fondre, but by doing so he sets Sunderland away, with Gardner's right footed drive again denied by the save hands of Federici.
Colback does extremely well down the left to prevent Samuel from breaking into the channel, and Sunderland really don't like look conceding tonight.
Another great chance for Sunderland. Sessegnon eventually finds the run of McClean, but he opts to shoot with his left foot and that allows Federici to make a simpler save. Had McClean pulled the trigger with his right foot, the angle would have been much greater to shoot into.
Bramble's first touch is to hand the ball straight into the path of Tabb from a Sunderland free-kick. Possibly the worst first touch of the season so far.
It's now Bardsley who is adding to O'Neill's migraine, the right-back taking another innocuous tackle from Leigertwood and the Sunderland medic is back on again.
Strong penalty claims for Reading now as McAnuff cuts across Bardsley and goes down near the byline, with the referee ignoring the calls and awarding a goal-kick.
Again, Reading just lack that spark of quality in the final third, as Tabb drifts past Colback superbly, but he can't play back to Le Fondre and Cuellar calmly intercepts.
Sessegnon tests the hands of Federici, aiming a ferocious drive on the half-volley and the Reading keeper shows he is more than equal to it.
Lovely work from McAnuff, whose persistence drives him forward, but his ball into the near post finds no team-mate near and it's a simple claim for Mignolet.
McAnuff claims a free-kick after a tussle with Rose, but this time the decision goes in Sunderland's favour, much to the disagreement of the Reading man.
Penalty claims are made as Fletcher cuts past Reading's defence like butter before taking a tumble under Pearce. The referee waves play on and the end result is a Black Cats corner.
Rose is floored again, taking a loose arm from Pearce but the resilient Sunderland player shakes it off and is back to his feet again.
More good penetrating from Rose sees the left-back drift a promising ball into the box, but Mariappa gets a touch of luck after a loose Sessegnon touch and is allowed to clear.
Gardner takes a challenge under McAnuff but shows good character to bounce straight back, as the chances at either end dry up for the time being.
Play is pulled back for a Gardner foul on Tabb and Reading flood the penalty area with players. Hunt's deflected header lands straight into the path of Mignolet though and nothing comes of it.
McClean adds to the extensive list of Sunderland players that have received medical treatment tonight, and for the time being he hobbles to the side.
Leigertwood holds off Colback as Reading pass the ball around. Shorey's ball down the left cannons back to him off Bardsley though, with McClean then going down in pain after chasing McCleary on the other side of the pitch.
From the delivery, Pearce makes firm contact but much to his manager's frustration on the sidelines, he can only head over the bar.
Shorey's free-kick is exquisite and draws a wonderful save from Mignolet, who claws the ball away to concede a corner.
Rose collects a booking for a trip on Le Fondre and Reading have a free-kick from a dangerous position here.
Le Fondre cuts to the byline, and as O'Shea slides in to make the tackle, he ends up conceding a corner.
Colback retrives the ball beautifully, finding McClean on the left, who makes Mariappa make a timely clearance from his delivery to prevent Fletcher making contact at the far post.
Fletcher again takes a knock, which Martin O'Neill will not want to see after Johnson was forced off at half-time through injury. It seemed an inoccuous challenge with Pearce and it appears he should continue.
McClean tangles with Cummings and despite the home support's appeal for a corner, it goes in Reading's favour and replays show it was the correct decision.
Solid start from Sunderland who pick up more or less where they left out, looking very organised and disciplined, despite a change of shape to accommodate the arrival of Bardsley.
The ball falls on the head of Le Fondre from McCleary's excellent ball, but despite a great leap from the striker, he can only head over.
The ball falls to McAnuff, with Fletcher the man blocking his powerful swerving drive. Sunderland get clear, but Hunt forces the issue once more down the left before earning a throw-in deep in the Black Cats' half.
Corner for Reading after good hussling from McCleary forces Colback into nudging the ball behind goal.
McCleary drifts in a hopeful ball into the box, but it floats all the way to the touchline without taking a touch and it's a Sunderland throw-in.
Leigertwood seeks out Le Fondre, but it's far too pacey a ball and Reading are looking really struck to invent a threatening way forward.
Great chance for 3-0. Johnson's corner swings into the path of Fletcher who nods a header agonisingly past the post. It was a matter of inches and for Reading a real slice of luck.
Reading continue to push, but they are finding no joy down the left, as Gardner and O'Shea again combine to prevent any Royals progress.
Johnson is next man wounded as he falls to a heap after taking a mauling from McAnuff. Rose is back on, although looking a tad weary and it's now Johnson receiving treatment.
Rose hobbles to the side after picking up a knock during that challenge on Le Fondre and he is absent for the free-kick. In the end, Cuellar heads away and Sunderland deal with the second ball quite easily.
A magical turn from Le Fondre draws Rose into making the foul, with Reading winning a free-kick roughly 30 yards out.
McClean rifles the ball towards goal, and a timely block from Cummings ends up taking the ball behind for a corner.
Mignolet is forced out of his area, but does so extremely calmly to head back to Rose with Le Fondre breathing down his neck.
Tabb goes for goal with a swerving effort, but he can't keep it down, and after being played in by McCleary he can only find the fans behind goal.
Colback goes down under Leigertwood, and despite Sunderland's protests the referee waves on. From there, McCleary is beaten at the byline by Rose and the Black Cats regain the ball.
Reading are penned in their own half for the time being, until McAnuff beats Gardner to the ball and hacks it away to safety.
It's a remarkable goal from Sunderland, created by Rose, who fires into the path of Fletcher with the striker flicking the ball with the back of his foot past Federici. A lovely finish and the Black Cats are in firm control of this game now.
Rose cuts forward, but his ball into Fletcher cannons off the referee. Fortunately for Sunderland, it ends up with Johnson, before Sessegnon's cross is cleared by Mariappa.
Hunt, in his attempt to retrieve the ball, ends up sliding right through O'Shea and the referee blows for a free-kick.
Mariappa calmly heads back to Cummings to prevent Fletcher slipping in, but Sunderland still look the far more likely to make anything happen and that will surely be worrying Brian McDermott right now.
McClean aims a high ball across goal, but it carries out to the touchline where in the end Shorey clears, after another good spell of pressure from the Black Cats.
Sessegnon takes aim and sees his shot hit back off Mariappa, before receiving the ball again moments later where he drills another effort well wide of goal.
McAnuff charges down the left, but is neutralised by Gardner as both teams struggle to advance any further than either side's penalty areas for the time being.
Sessegnon leads Sunderland away after a good spell from the Royals, but Shorey cuts off the run of Johnson and Reading win back possession.
Gardner's careless pass allows in Tabb, but McAnuff can't carve his way past the marvellous O'Shea whose strength sees him snuff out the danger before playing back to Mignolet.
Fletcher is penalised for a tug on Mariappa this time, with the striker looking to force his way on goal after receiving the ball from Johnson.
McCleary aims for Hunt in the box, but after some lovely movement down the left, Cuellar heads away quite comfortably in the end.
Yellow card for Mariappa, who was skinned by Fletcher before recklessly tugging him down near the byline.
Hunt is caught offside from Leigertwood's diagonal ball, with Colback pushing up just in time to expose the striker.
Johnson stretches Shorey, but upon creeping towards the penalty area, he unleashes a ghastly shot that swings around to the corner flag.
McAnuff clatters into Gardner, and again the decision goes against the Reading player, but there was no disputing the call.
McAnuff claims a foul on the edge of the Sunderland box, but the referee waves play on much to the chagrin of the Royals midfielder.
It's all Sunderland now as Federici has to respond once more, this time as the corner falls to McClean, the keeper doing enough to parry the ball around the post.
Federici is called into action again, but this time he does much better as Larsson is played through, with the Swede drawing a fine save from the Royals keeper.
Reading look to instantly respond, but Cuellar beats Mariappa to a Royals corner and the Black Cats clear their lines.
Federici makes a howler trying to punch away a Black Cats corner and McClean pounces with a neat finish past the keeper at the near post. 1-0 to Sunderland!
Sunderland start in possessin early on, but Shorey is on hand to prevent any progress from Johnson down the right.
Leading scorer Steven Fletcher hands Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill a major boost by returning to the starting line-up for tonight's crucial Barclays Premier League clash with Reading. The Scotland international has missed the two previous games with an ankle problem, but runs out among a team which featured just one more change, with Jack Colback joining him in the starting XI and Connor Wickham and Phil Bardsley making way. Royals manager Brian McDermott makes three changes as Alex Pearce, Garath McCleary and Noel Hunt come in for Sean Morrison, Jason Roberts and Hal Robson-Kanu.
Reading: Federici, Cummings, Pearce, Mariappa, Shorey, McCleary, Tabb, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Hunt, Le Fondre. Subs: Taylor, Gunter, Gorkss, Harte, Gunnarsson, Obita, Samuel
Sunderland: Mignolet, Gardner, O'Shea, Cuellar, Colback, Johnson, Rose, Larsson, McClean, Sessegnon, Fletcher. Subs: Westwood, Bardsley, Campbell, Wickham, Kilgallon, Vaughan, Bramble.
Sunderland are 10/11 to pick up all three points tonight with Reading 16/5 and the draw 23/10. With the Black Cats 9/4 and the Royals odds-on on for relegation, tonight's clash is a meeting of the two favourites in our next Premier League manager to go betting - Martin O'Neill being 6/4 followed by Brian McDermott at 100/30.
Good evening everybody and welcome to the Stadium of Light for the Premier League clash between Sunderland and Reading. The teams are in and I'll report the details momentarily. If you'd like to get in touch with me tonight you can e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @JWoodfield365