Chris Coleman's first home game in charge of Sunderland ended in disaster as Reading's revival continued with a 3-1 victory at the Stadium of Light.
Jaap Stam's Royals made it one defeat from their last seven matches by seeing winger Modou Barrow score twice in the 68th and 71st minutes after David Edwards had already given them the lead eight minutes after half-time.
Sunderland did liven up when Lewis Grabban hit his 11th goal of the season with a penalty won by Joel Asoro with 14 minutes remaining, but the damage had already been well and truly done.
The Black Cats, deep in relegation trouble and who had to play the second half with 10 men following Callum McManaman's sending off for a second caution before the break, have now gone a staggering 21 games without winning on Wearside.
Even in the short space of time Coleman has been in charge he has encountered his fair share of injury problems and he suffered another in the pre-match warm-up - well before McManaman contributed in his own special way too.
Paddy McNair, due to start in the middle, had to be withdrawn from the starting line-up after injuring himself beforehand, so Darron Gibson had to be introduced as a late replacement.
It was hardly the sort of thing Sunderland, looking for the same set of players to build on the victory at Burton a week earlier, needed to deliver the result that would have lifted them out of the bottom three.
And after a bright start by the hosts, when George Honeyman curled an effort from distance wide of the far post, it was Reading who looked more dangerous on the attack.
Yann Kermorgant, lively in the final third, powered an effort over the bar while his low cross to the near post was somehow turned over by Edwards when it looked easier to score.
The rest of the half was more about the referee Keith Stroud. He could easily have dished out a second caution to Lee Cattermole, less than three minutes after his first, for a trip on Sone Aluko before he did reach for his red card deep into first half stoppage-time.
When Adam Matthews delivered a dipping cross from the byline it looked like it might drop over the line on its own, but McManaman's attempts to make sure saw him use his arm to find the net.
On top of his needless challenge deep in the Reading half on Barrow earlier in the half, McManaman trudged off the pitch and into the dressing room early - and Coleman's goal celebrations were cut short.
After that it was no surprise when Reading took the lead in the 53rd minute. Aiden McGeady cheaply lost possession in the visitors half, and the counter-attack ended with Aluko's effort deflecting into the path of Edwards to slide in and finish.
Then Barrow struck his two goals inside three minutes to put the game safe. After volleying inside goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter's near post, he added a second with a cool finish following a flick from Kermorgant.
The introduction of Swedish teenager Asoro improved Sunderland in the closing stages. He won the penalty, after testing Mannone, for Grabban to convert with quarter of an hour remaining. It was Reading, though, who marched on.