Reading's stand-in captain, Steve Sidwell, inspired his side to a first away win in two months to restate the credibility of Steve Coppell's teamas promotion candidates.
The former Arsenal trainee, who is not 22 until next Wednesday, took the field as the youngest captain in Reading's history in place of the injured Graeme Murty. He celebrated by breaking an until then tepid deadlock with a spectacular 25-yard goal midway through the second half, giving his side the platform for a win confirmed by Ivar Ingimarsson's header nine minutes from time.
Leicester have lost only twice in seven games under Craig Levein but yesterday's result emphasised a timely warning from the former Hearts manager that supporters should not get carried away with play-off ambitions. "I've been telling everyone to keep it real and this result is a reality check," he said.
Coppell was full of praise for his young captain, whom he had on loan at Brighton and Brentford before inheriting him from Alan Pardew at the Madejski Stadium. "He enjoyed the responsibility as captain and that showed in his performance, although he has been terrific all season."
Reading have rarely been out of the top four since the season began, although only one point in four away matches before yesterday appeared initially to limit their ambition in a poor opening half. They were inclined to defend in two tight lines of four and the ingenuity demanded of Leicester to find a way through was evident all too infrequently.
Not until the last five minutes of the first half did the contest threaten to entertain the 24,000 crowd, when a header by Leicester's Nathan Blake hit a post and another Blake effort was blocked on the line, by a Reading hand, according to Leicester's dugout.
Thankfully, the spark of life the match so needed came in the shape of Sidwell's stunning strike, with 22 minutes left. From a quickly taken free-kick near the left corner flag, Glenn Little's square pass found the central midfielder seven or eight yards outside the Leicester penalty area, from where he unleashed a ferocious drive that Stuart Taylor was powerless to stop.
The goal rewarded a clear change in attitude from the visitors. Before Sidwell's goal, Taylor had pulled off a good save to keep out a James Harper free-kick and Sidwell, chasing a long ball, had gone close after a well-timed run.
Eight minutes from time, a second goal for Reading condemned Leicester to defeat, Nicky Shorey's corner from the left was headed powerfully home by centre-back Ivar Ingimarsson.
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