Nottm Forest 3-2 Reading: Match Report
Assombalonga at the double as Forest hold off Reading fightback
Reading's fightback fell short as a Britt Assombalonga double earned Nottingham Forest a 3-2 win at the City Ground.
Assombalonga struck either side of half-time before Mustapha Carayol put the Reds three up by the 54th minute.
But Jaap Stam's promotion contenders almost staged a dramatic recovery as goals in the 58th and 74th minutes from Yann Kermorgant gave the visitors hope.
But struggling Forest held on to lift themselves three points clear of third-from-bottom Blackburn in the battle to beat the drop.
Carayol tormented Reading during an opening 15 minutes that Forest dominated.
The winger had two shots saved by Ali Al Habsi, also carving out a superb opening from which Ben Brereton should have scored.
Reading could not handle the winger's pace and, when he picked out Brereton at the far post, the Forest man had the goal at his mercy but could not get a clean connection on his header.
Brereton had two more chances, firing one straight at the goalkeeper and the other over the bar.
But the goal finally came when Brereton won possession before sliding a perfect pass through to the feet of Assombalonga as he powered into the box.
With Al Habsi rushing off his line, the striker prodded a calm finish beyond his reach and into the bottom corner to give Forest a 31st-minute lead.
Reading responded by producing their first effort on goal in the 35th minute, a powerful strike from Lewis Grabban that Jordan Smith saved.
Forest thought they had a second when Ben Osborn beat Al Habsi in a race to Danny Fox's pass, but Daniel Williams made a vital challenge.
But Forest had to wait barely a minute into the second half before they did score again, though, with Osborn's quick feet giving him the room to cross to the near post where Assombalonga headed his second.
Reading made a double change, bringing on George Evans and Roy Beerens, but it was Forest who scored again.
A quick throw from Fox found Carayol in the box and he dodged two defenders before firing a powerful low shot beyond Al Habsi.
The Royals added to the drama when they pulled one back in the 58th minute when Jordan Obita crossed from the right to pick out Kermorgant, who headed home off the underside of the bar.
Carayol had another effort cleared off the line and Joe Worrall saw a shot deflected wide for Forest before Reading pulled another goal back.
Beerens' cross was not properly cleared, the ball falling to Kermorgant who calmly volleyed home.
The momentum was with Reading now and John Swift came close to an equaliser with a low shot that flashed wide.
Gunter appealed in vain for penalty when Dani Pinillos had made a firm but fair challenge and Forest held on for a crucial win.