Vadaine Oliver’s own-goal condemned promotion-hopefuls Stevenage to a 1-0 defeat against relegation-threatened Reading at The Lamex Stadium.
The hosts spent the opening 15 minutes camped in the visitors’ half but Dan Sweeney failed to capitalise, sending a close-range header over the crossbar.
Sweeney almost made amends with a delicious delivery into the box before Jamie Reid’s teasing effort went behind for a corner.
However, the Royals had the final say of the first half.
Amadou Mbengue launched a long throw into a dangerous area with seconds remaining and after a melee inside the six-yard box, Oliver fumbled the ball into the back of his own net.
Reid could have equalised after being found at the far post midway through the second half but he failed to convert from close range.
Sweeney kept his side in the game with a superb intervention 10 minutes later, blocking Sam Smith’s right-footed effort after the forward went around Boro stopper Craig MacGillivray.
The hosts won several corners in the final 10 minutes but failed to carve out a clear-cut chance as the Royals secured just their second league win on the road this season.