Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray admitted his side lacked the “guile” to kill off Reading as Boro slipped to a 2-0 defeat.
Boro, who had kicked off in sixth just one point behind Reading, slipped out of the play-off zone after defeat at the Riverside, with the Royals moving into third.
Noel Hunt bundled home from a first-half corner before Ian Harte sealed victory with a sizzling second half free-kick.
Boro had the bulk of the possession, but as Mowbray admitted, they simply did not do enough with it.
“We didn’t quite have the guile to break them down today,” he said.
Read more of Mowbray’s thoughts, plus a full match report on Boro’s defeat, in today’s Sportmail.