Tom Dele-Bashiru scored two goals as Reading only earned their second league win of the season with a 3-1 home win over fellow Peterborough.
In a lackluster first half, Reading was fortunate not to be late and thanked rookie goalkeeper Luke Southwood for making superb saves to keep Siriki Dembele and Ollie Norburn out.
Reading opened up a 2-0 lead midway through the second half with goals from John Swift and Dele-Bashiru within three minutes.
Peterborough halved the lead with a header from Nathan Thompson, but Dele-Bashiru jumped again with two minutes remaining.
Both clubs performed poorly ahead of the game, with just one win in seven league and cup appearances this quarter, including five losses.
Reading’s problems have been compounded by the disappearance of nine first-team players due to injuries, the latest being number one goalkeeper Rafael.
The Brazilian broke his hand when he allegedly hit a dressing room tactics board in frustration following the 3-3 home draw with QPR on Saturday – and could be out for up to two months.
Southwood, a 23-year-old former England junior international, replaced Rafael for just his second league appearance for the club.
Peterborough, who lost 6-2 to Sheffield United on Saturday, started off the brightest but, when Jonson Clarke-Harris tried his luck on a free kick, the defensive wall held firm.
Reading gradually caught on, Dele-Bashiru attempting an ambitious curling shot that Peterborough goalie Christy Pym comfortably recovered.
Pym also had little trouble coping with a tame effort from Andy Yiadom.
As the half hour approached, Peterborough created the best chance of the game as Dembele galloped freely.
His well-struck attempt was on target, but Southwood made a nice save to push him back to safety.
Southwood did even better just before the break, throwing himself skyward to overturn a powerful long distance run from Norburn.
Reading suffered another injury setback in stoppage time in the first half as captain Liam Moore was forced to limp, and the visitors attempted to exploit his absence in central defense early in the second period.
But after a promising build and low clearance at home, Conor Coventry shot very broadly.
Reading had made little headway but struck in the 64th and 67th minutes to take a surprise lead.
First, Swift scored a 25-yard free kick to score his seventh goal of the season.
Then Dele-Bashiru clung to a cross from George Puscas to score his first goal for the club.
However, Peterborough closed the gap seven minutes later when Thompson nodded decisively at the far post on Joe Ward’s free kick.
But Dele-Bashiru stepped up again in the 88th minute, another fiercely hit effort hissing Pym.