Newcastle slipped further into the Premier League relegation mire as Reading boosted their own survival chances with a 2-1 win at St James’ Park.
The hosts took the lead on 36 minutes as Yohan Cabaye curled a perfect free kick past Adam Federici, but substitute Adam Le Fondre struck twice in six second-half minutes to secure the Royals’ second consecutive comeback victory.
The game was slow to get going but Reading had a great chance to score in the 12th minute as Jimmy Kebe raced onto a long ball down the right flank, but could only cut into Mike Williamson as he reached the box.
The hosts responded brilliantly and after Cabaye had a near-post effort saved by Federici, he clipped a lovely ball into Papiss Cisse in the box, but the onrushing Australian tipped Cisse’s header behind.
Cisse was denied by a superb Alex Pearce block on 26 minutes, and Reading’s Garath McCleary stormed down the left immediately afterward, cutting the ball to Pavel Pogrebnyak who could only turn the ball wide on the slide from 12 yards.
Cisse was kept out again by the Reading ‘keeper, who saved from point-blank range after Mathieu Debuchy burst down the right and found the Senegal striker with a superb cross.
Newcastle finally made the breakthrough after the half-hour. Sylvain Marveaux was felled making his way towards the area and Cabaye stepped up to curl a perfect free kick into the top corner from 20 yards.
Reading had the better of things after the break, but had little to show for their dominance. Ian Harte curled a free kick that was almost deflected in by a Newcastle leg, before Pogrebnyak rasped an effort well over the bar from 20 yards out.
Reading did get themselves level on 71 minutes as Kebe was afforded too much space on the right and he whipped a dangerous ball across goal that substitute Le Fondre bundled home with his first touch.
Alan Pardew responded by replacing the superb Cabaye with Gael Bigirimana to the home fans’ fury and they were apoplectic soon after as Le Fondre pounced on Hope Akpan’s scuffed shot to bury his second and complete the Royals’ comeback.
The hosts had a great chance to level scores late in the game, but Cisse could only shank his effort over as the ball landed at his feet eight yards out.