Sheffield Wednesday's play-off aspirations suffered a severe blow as they were beaten by top six rivals Reading on a frustrating night at Hillsborough.
The Owls fell behind to an early goal from Yann Kermorgant and failed to break down the brick wall erected by Reading, for whom keeper Ali Al Habsi was in inspired form.
And Wednesday were caught out in stoppage time when substitute Adrian Popa slotted into an empty net with Keiren Westwood up for a corner.
Carlos Carvalhal made two changes to the side that lost to Aston Villa the previous weekend. Tom Lees returned from injury to replace the suspened Vincent Sasso while Will Buckley replaced the injured Ross Wallace.
Both sides looked for inroads in the wide areas in the early stages but it was the visitors who opened the scoring in the 13th minute.
John Swift played a superb crossfield ball out to the right where Kermorgant brought it down and cut inside before slamming a low shot in at the far post.
Wednesday responded well with Adam Reach firing wide from 20 yards while Sam Winnall tested Ali Al Habsi with a low drive from distance.
And they could hardly have come much closer when Morgan Fox chested down 20 yards out and volleyed, rattling the far post with his strike.
Reading sought to stifle the game after going ahead, playing the ball around well in the middle of the park.
And they also looked to take as much time as possible with dead balls, frustrating the home support in the process.
Wednesday's threat came from a fluid front four with Reach and Buckley joining Jordan Rhodes and Sam Winnall in attack whenever the Owls were in possession.
Their best opportunity of the half saw Al Habsi produce a stunning save. Reach worked space for a shot inside the box, the ball kick up allowing Rhodes to head down for the bottom corner only for the Omani keeper to tip wide acrobatically.
Wednesday struggled to create the sort of openings they did in the first half after the break.
Rhodes flicked a zipped Bannan free kick at the near post but sent it wide.
And the forward drew a decent save on the line from Al Habsi with a downward header from a corner.
Chances for Reading were few and far between but Swift took advantage of some lacklustre defending from Wednesday to dance across the face of the box only to drill wide.
Wednesday pushed hard for the equaliser in the late stages but were frustrated by Al Habsi who produced a string of superb saves.
First, Buckley smashed on goal from close range with the Reading keeper somehow tipping the ball over the bar.
And it was Buckley who was again denied moments later, powering a header on goal which Al Habsi tipped wide.
Those two chances sandwiched Rhodes missing the ball by mere millimetres as he tried to latch onto Buckley's drilled pass across the face of goal.
Al Habsi then denied substitute Callum McManaman in stoppage time.
Reading took any lingering doubt away deep in stoppage time.
Westwood went up for a corner but the visitors broke with Popa sneaking past several challenges to slot into an empty net.
Wednesday: Westwood, Hunt, Lees, Loovens (Nuhiu 88), Fox, Buckley, Jones (McManaman 60), Bannan, Reach, Rhodes, Winnall (Fletcher 78). Subs not used: Wildsmith, Palmer, Semedo, Matias.
Reading: Al Habsi, Gunter, Moore, Blackett, Obita, Van Den Berg, Williams, McCleary (Popa 87), Swift, Beerens (Grabban 62), Kermorgant. Subs not used: Legg, Mendes, Meite, Watson, Oxford.
Referee: Geoff Eltringham