Struggling Reading boosted their chances of avoiding Sky Bet League One relegation when they secured a well-deserved 2-0 victory at home to Wigan.

In a scrappy first half, Reading took a 34th-minute lead when Femi Azeez rifled home a superb left-footed shot from distance.

Sam Smith increased the lead five minutes into the second period and, with Wigan barely offering a threat, the hosts held on comfortably.

Reading had hit a moderate run of good form, with two wins and only one defeat in their previous five league matches.

Neither side impressed in a dour opening but Reading, after Azeez had already had one goalbound effort blocked, went ahead 11 minutes before the break.

A slick home move appeared to have broken down until Azeez latched on to the loose ball and thundered in a 20-yard rocket past keeper Sam Tickle.

Wigan should have levelled in first-half stoppage time but Charlie Wyke sent a free header wastefully wide from Liam Shaw’s excellent cross.

It proved costly, with Reading doubling their advantage early in the second period as Smith cleverly converted a precise centre from Amadou Mbengue.

Wigan offered little in response, apart from a Callum Lang free-kick that drifted narrowly wide, and Reading easily saw out the rest of the game.