Wolves 1 Reading 2 - Report and pictures
Wolves' eight-match unbeaten run came to a deserved end as they were beaten by a determined Reading side.
Pavel Pogrebnyak netted one of the quickest goals ever scored at Molineux after volleying the opener after just 19 seconds.
Wolves responded well initially and after the returning Bakary Sako went close twice, Benik Afobe equalised in the 26th minute with a header for his second goal for the club.
But Reading were much stronger after the break, although Dave Edwards glanced wide from the first opening.
Simon Cox, Michael Hector and substitute Oliver Norwood all went close before Danny Williams grabbed a 70th-minute winner and the hosts failed to test visiting goalkeeper Adam Federici.
It was Wolves' first league defeat in over two months.
Head coach Kenny Jackett responded to the hectic programme of three games in eight days by making five changes to the side that drew 2-2 at Bolton last week.
Debutant Tomasz Kuszczak, Matt Doherty, Kortney Hause, Lee Evans and Sako replaced Carl Ikeme, Scott Golbourne, Jack Price and Nouha Dicko.
Sako was making his first appearance in Wolves colours since January 3 after which he departed for the African Cup of Nations, missing four unbeaten league games.
Golbourne, whose training has been restricted by a recurrence of his foot problem this week, Price, Iorfa and Dicko were all on the bench, where they were joined by young keeper Jon Flatt for the first time since November 1.
Former Albion keeper Kuszczak was given a warm welcome by the South Bank as he took his place before kick off and he responded by applauding them from the penalty spot.
But the Pole was soon picking the ball out of the net as Wolves were rocked by an opening goal after just 19 seconds as Reading scored one of the quickest ever goals at Molineux.
With the home defence slow to react, Pogrebnyak latched onto a ball over the top by former Albion striker Cox and volleyed home first time inside Kuszczak's near post, giving the ex-Manchester United and Brighton shotstopper no chance.
It was the first goal conceded by Wolves at Molineux this year, in 184 minutes of play since Danny Batth's own goal against Brentford on December 28.
Goals: Pogrebnyak 1, Afobe 26, Williams 70.
Wolves (4-2-3-1): Kuszczak, Doherty, Batth (c). Stearman, Hause, Evans (Dicko 73), McDonald; Van La Parra (Henry 71), Edwards (Price 71), Sako, Afobe.
Substitutes not used: Flatt (GK), Golbourne, Ebanks-Landell, Iorfa.
Reading (4-3-3): Federici, Kelly, Hector, Pearce, Obita, Chalobah (Norwood 58), Williams, Robson-Kanu (Blackman 73), McCleary, Pogrebnyak, Cox (Akpan 84).
Substitutes not used: Andersen (GK), Mackie, Yakubu.
Referee: Keith Hill (Hertfordshire)
Wolves responded well to going behind however and gradually worked their way back into the game, although it took them a while to threaten.
Sako showed his quality to light up the afternoon with a dazzling show of strength and skill to bamboozle his way past two players just over the halfway line before advancing to unleash a fierce shot that flew just over the bar.
And the Mali international was involved in another close escape for Reading seconds before the equaliser.
His rare header hit Federici from point-blank range after Evans's corner and Nathaniel Chalobah hacked the ball off the line.
But Wolves gained a deserved reward for their pressure when Afobe guided home a six-yard header from Rajiv Van La Parra's pinpoint cross.
Five minutes before the break, Afobe threatened with his head again, this timer stretching backwards to nod over from Sako's free kick.
But Reading hit back a minute later after Danny Williams's square pass was missed by Pogrebnyak but fell nicely for Gareth McCleary, whose angled drive was blocked by Hause.
Just before half-time, Williams let fly from 25 yards but his rising drive flew a foot over the bar.
Wolves created the first opening of the second half in the 51when Dave Edwards glanced wide from the edge of the six-yard box from Hause's hanging cross after trickery from Sako on the left.
But then Reading had a strong period in the game which saw them create several openings.
Cox's angled drive was parried by Kuszczak on 55 then Reading replaced Chalobah with Oliver Norwood on 58.
The visitors continued to attack and Evans hacked away ahead of Cox going for McCleary's centre six minutes later.
Seconds later Michael Hector, who scored against Wolves earlier in the season, was inches away with a free header that flew just wide from Norwood's corner.
Wolves brought on Dicko for Evans on 63 in a bid to win the game in a switch that saw Edwards and Afobe drop deeper and Dicko as the central striker.
But it had little effect as the visitors really started to take the game to them.
Norwood was proving a thorn in Wolves' side and he tested Kuszczak with a dipping, swerving free kick on 64 that the keeper was forced to tip over.
Wolves just couldn't clear their lines and McCleary cut inside Batth before curling a shot well over the top.
But the goal Reading had been threatening finally came in the 70th minute - and it was a well-worked one too.
Williams sidefooted home in off the inside of the post after McCleary headed back Hal Robson-Kanu's centre at the far post.
Wolves responded with a double substitution as Henry and Price replaced Van La Parra and Edwards.
But Reading continued to look the better side and after a rare Wolves broke down, they broke a speed through Nick Blackman, who replaced Robson-Kanu on 73, with a stinging angled low drive palmed away by Kuszczak.
And there was no way back for the hosts as they once again failed to create enough chances as they lost in the league for the first time since Bournemouth on December 6.
[comments_cta header="What do you think?" text="How big a dent is this to Wolves' momentum?" button="Log in and start commenting"]