BURNLEY'S bad fortune at the Madejski Stadium continued as Jason Roberts struck to rub salt in to the wounds.
The Reading striker, signed from Blackburn Rovers, scooped the ball over Lee Grant in the 13th minute - leaving the Clarets with just one win in Berkshire in 11 attempts.
But the scoreline didn't tell the full tale as Eddie Howe's side were dominant in all areas of the pitch. Passing and moving freely from back to front the visitors created the first opening of the Championship clash when Josh McQuoid glided past Royals full-back Matthew Connolly before floating a cross in to Charlie Austin who struck the bar with his header.
The Clarets continued to manipulate the space but they were caught out before the quarter-of-an-hour mark. Reading skipper Jobi McAnuff, a threat throughout the evening, beat Kieran Trippier to the byline and squared the ball for Roberts, unmarked on the penalty spot, to clip the ball over Grant.
That put the hosts in the ascendency, especially with statistics outlining that the Royals hadn't been beaten at home having taken the lead all season.
Jay Rodriguez saw an effort flash past the post, though Federici had it covered, and then a disagreement between Ross Wallace and Roberts added the necessary spice to the occasion. The pair both entered the referee's book as a result of their verbal torrade. In fact, after the incident, Darren Deadman dished out cards like confetti with eight players entering the book throughout the night.
Clarets captain Chris McCann should have done better as he sliced his volley wide from the edge of the box as Howe's men pressed for the equaliser. The Clarets had the cutting edge though Jimmy Kebe provided the bite for the home side; Burnley having to be wary with his pace and trickery on the break.
And it was the ever-impressive winger that almost provided the opening for Reading's second after being dragged down by Michael Duff. Grant spilled Ian Harte's resulting set-piece, Roberts had his effort blocked before Ben Mee embellished the character and attitude of the Clarets as he put his head on the line to steer Noel Hunt's strike wide.
After the interval Austin, who squandered the early chance to give the Clarets the lead, missed another opportunity to bring the visitors level. The former Reading youth player latched on to Rodriguez's nod down, neat Kaspars Gorkss for pace, but was thwarted by the outstretched body of Adam Federici when one-on-one.
Rodriguez was in trouble soon after, due to over-exuberance rather than malice, when yellow-carded for a rash challenge on Mikele Liegertwood but went close to equalising, thumping a header against the upright from Trippier's corner.
After a goal-line scramble prompted handbags Howe opted to go for the jugular - Martin Paterson and Danning Ings replacing Austin and McQuoid respectively.
Kebe threatened again, forcing Trippier to head his looping header off the line, but the Clarets continued to force the momentum, with a delightful brand of one-touch football.
Paterson lashed an effort wide of the angle with Federici a mere spectator and Rodriguez sliced wide in the closing stages after working the opening with Paterson. But despite pressing and penning the hosts back, the Clarets profligacy returned to haunt them.
It was a defining result - Brian McDermott maintained his 100% record against the Clarets to move the Royals within a couple of points of the automatic places while Burnley lost their grip on the play-off pack.