Bristol Rovers were booed off by their own fans as Reading eased their own relegation worries with a 2-0 win at the Memorial Stadium.

First-half goals from Sam Smith and Lewis Wing were enough to secure victory as Rovers stretched their record-breaking run of games without a goal to seven.

Smith put Reading on course for an ultimately comfortable victory in the eighth minute with his 13th goal of the season.

His close-range header beat Jed Ward’s despairing dive after Tyler Bindon flicked on Amadou Mbengue’s long throw.

Ward denied Harvey Knibbs with a fine save before Wing doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time when his 25-yard free-kick found the top left-hand corner.

Rovers boss Matt Taylor saw his team raise their game after the break as veteran striker Chris Martin and winger Scott Sinclair joined the fray.

Substitute Brandon Aguilera went close for the hosts but was denied by goalkeeper Joel Pereira as Reading banished any lingering relegation worries.

Ruben Selles hailed his goalscorers after Reading beat basement boys Carlisle 3-1 in Sky Bet League One.

Sam Smith, who earlier hit a post, opened the scoring before Harvey Knibbs’ double at Brunton Park.

Playmaker Knibbs bagged a brace in the corresponding fixture when the Royals hammered the struggling Cumbrians 5-1.

For Knibbs it was his 14th and 15th goals of a fruitful campaign.

Jon Mellish’s second-half header was in vain as Paul Simpson’s side slumped to a ninth loss in 10.

Selles said: “I always think the strikers, when they play for my teams, they have a lot of jobs to do – the first is to score goals of course.

“Sam missed the first one by an inch when he hit the post then he scored. We’re happy with his performance and he needs to keep working like that.

“He (Knibbs) just needs to continue doing what he’s doing.

“It all depends on where he wants to go. The team is putting him in positions to score goals and to lead assists.

“It’s about him continuing to perform well and working hard.

“Hopefully in the next 10 games he can score more goals and get more assists.”

Relegation-threatened Carlisle were once again outclassed and boss Simpson admitted his side struggled to cope with the Royals.

He said: “I agree, they’re a very good side. I knew they were a good side. I tried to play them down a little bit on Thursday, but I expected it to be a tough game.

“The pace that they had and the way they’re able to play, they’re as good a side I’ve seen here this season.

“We struggled. We struggled against the pace. We had to change the pace and try to sure it up. When you do that, it opens up areas where they can exploit you.

“The massive thing I’ve seen at League One level is the athleticism of the opposition we’re coming up against. We can only aspire to bring that type of player into the football club because that’s where we’ve fallen short this season.

“They’re strong, they’re quick. Yiadom, Wing, Azeez, they’re good footballers. I said before the game that I felt for the players, staff and fans for what’s happening at the club.

“But if they keep that group of players together they’ll be a real threat next season.”

Harvey Knibbs was at the double as Reading fired themselves five points clear of the Sky Bet League One relegation zone with a fine 3-1 victory at basement boys Carlisle.

Playmaker Knibbs bagged a brace in the 5-1 drubbing when the the two sides met back in November.

And he repeated the trick with goals in neither half after Sam Smith put the visitors ahead at Brunton Park.

The Royals went close to an opener when Knibbs slipped Smith, whose effort hit a post, through on goal.

But the visitors hit the front moments later as Smith coolly slotted beyond on-rushing Harry Lewis in the 17th minute.

Captain Andy Yiadom unlocked the door for the second as he raced to the byline and cut back for Knibbs to tap home 10 minutes before half-time.

And dangerman Knibbs doubled his tally 12 minutes after the restart as he pounced on a teasing Femi Azeez cross for the third.

Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan almost had a fourth when his strike was tipped over by Lewis.

Jon Mellish pulled one back as he headed home Jordan Gibson’s cross with 20 minutes to go.

But it was a mere consolation as Paul Simpson’s crumbling Cumbrians slumped to a ninth defeat in 10.

New Port Vale manager Darren Moore was “bitterly disappointed” with the closing stages of the 2-0 League One defeat at Reading as late goals led to Moore’s second successive defeat since taking charge.

Vale offered little throughout a scrappy affair and Reading’s constant second-half pressure paid off through Lewis Wing, in the 76th minute, and Harvey Knibbs seven minutes later.

Vale, now eight games without a win, lie two points from safety but have games in hand over most of the teams above them.

Moore, who succeeded the sacked Andy Crosby last week, said: “I was bitterly disappointed with those last 16 or 17 minutes.

“It was a lapse in concentration that’s once again undone us this evening and we have to be better than that.

“It’s those small percentages that can decide a game and you have to be better at them, in order to drag the game by the scruff of the neck and get that positive result that we need.

“I’m disappointed because we didn’t deserve that tonight but, at the same time, we’ve only got ourselves to blame.

“There was a lot of positives, though. We had just one day to work on our shape, we had two classroom sessions, and the boys applied themselves absolutely spot on.

“Reading didn’t really cause us too much trouble in their rotations and play. We kind of saw a lot of those things off.

“In terms of us with the ball, I was pleased with the back to the middle to the attack.

“If there is one small criticism, it is probably getting those bodies in (to the penalty area) and finishing off what we had maintained throughout the game.

“We needed to commit those bodies forward to get that final contact on the ball. And it will come.”

Reading are now six points clear of the relegation zone.

“It was a good way to respond after Saturday (when they lost 4-1 at leaders Portsmouth),” said manager Ruben Selles.

“We spoke after the game and for me, that game did not reflect the way that we played and the way that we performed. Tonight reflects more the way that we play.

“It took us 15 to 20 minutes to adjust things because it was just Darren’s second game and he changed the formation that Vale usually play.

“We were prepared for a different scenario so early on it was more competitive than we first expected.

“But we adjusted after that and, after half-time, we fully adjusted in the second half. We then dominated the game.

“We stayed patient, we built up the game. When the game is open, we can be very dynamic.”

New Port Vale manager Darren Moore suffered his second successive defeat since taking charge when his relegation-threatened side lost 2-0 in their rescheduled League One match at Reading.

In a scrappy first period, Reading produced the best attempt when Vale keeper Connor Ripley had to make a fine save from Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan.

The home side’s constant second-half pressure eventually paid off with late goals from Lewis Wing and Harvey Knibbs.

Vale’s original fixture at the SCL Stadium on January 13 was abandoned after only 16 minutes, with the score at 0-0, when around 1,000 home fans invaded the pitch in protest at Reading owner Dai Yongge.

Andy Crosby, at the helm for the abandoned game, was sacked earlier this month and replaced by former Huddersfield boss Moore, whose first match ended in a 3-2 defeat at Cheltenham on Saturday.

Vale, without a win in their seven previous outings, produced little in the opening half and Reading should have gone in front when a free header from Ehibhatiomhan forced Ripley into an agile close-range stop.

Reading pushed for the winner in the second half, with Vale hanging on grimly, and the ever-alert Ripley was finally beaten when, following a goalmouth scramble in the Vale area, Wing powered home a fierce low drive in the 76th minute.

Seven minutes later, Knibbs pounced after another chaotic scramble for his 13th goal of the season.

Barnsley head coach Neill Collins praised the “fantastic finish” of top scorer Devante Cole that helped his side on their way to a 3-1 League One victory at lowly Reading.

Reading went in front in the fourth minute through Harvey Knibbs, with his ninth goal of the season, but Herbie Kane levelled before the break from a penalty.

Cole gave Barnsley the lead 10 minutes from time with a powerful 25-yard drive – his 12th goal of the campaign – and Max Watters settled the issue in the 87th minute.

“Devante first steadied himself then it was a fantastic finish, especially for all our travelling fans,” Collins said.

“That gave us the opportunity to win the game and then we had the same bit of quality from Fabio Jalo to put the ball across for Max to finish.

“We actually started the game well but then we found ourselves 1-0 down from Reading’s first attack off a set-piece.

“I don’t think that knocked us too much, I think our players looked quite a threat at times.

“But when we got back into the game, when we got our goal, we then probably had our worst spell until half-time. After that, we pushed on well to win the game.

“It was quite open at times but I thought we made use of that really well and got two fantastic goals to win it.

“There was a lot to be pleased with and I’m glad we were able to come from behind and win. It’s something we’ve been threatening to do.

“We’ve come from behind to draw but not quite got it over the line to win. Today we did that.”

Reading remain off the bottom of League One only thanks to a better goal difference than Cheltenham.

Manager Ruben Selles said: “We started well, scored first and then had a chance to score a second through a header from Tyler Bindon.

“Then we conceded a penalty, which was an unfortunate one, so we go in at 1-1 at half-time.

“In the second half, we made a few mistakes – especially with Barnsley’s second goal. We should have defended it better.

“And then in the moments that we try to make substitutions and go for the game, we just let it go to 3-1. We need to continue working on those moments.

“We made a couple of bad decisions. I think we can do better.

“But we still showed that we are competitive and that we can compete against any opponent. We just need to be able to do it for 100 minutes.”

Reading manager Ruben Selles admitted his side could still do better after their 5-1 thrashing of Carlisle lifted them off the bottom of League One.

An own goal from Carlisle skipper Sam Lavelle had given Reading the lead and although Luke Plange quickly levelled, a double from Harvey Knibbs gave the hosts a healthy 3-1 lead at the break.

Carlisle improved in the second half but fine finishes from Lewis Wing and Femi Azeez late on sealed Reading’s second league win in succession.

“The result was good and to score that amount of goals is always difficult in football matches,” Selles said.

“But I still think that we can do better. I still think that the worst part of our games is that, after we score the first goal, then we need to control things more.

“Yet we are in a much better position than we were a month ago. Those moments in which we have conceded, we didn’t do that today or last weekend [in the 2-1 win at Wycombe].

“As a collective, the team looks like we are all learning to manage those moments. We have the potential to score goals and compete against any team in League One.

“In the end, it was a pleasure to have a calm last part of the game.

“We knew that when the other team was trying to chase, we knew that we would be able to find the spaces to counter-attack.”

Carlisle are now without a win in four league games.

“My impression from watching back the first-half goals, we just haven’t done the real basic things properly,” manager Paul Simpson said.

“We were trying to be clever in midfield instead of just turning Reading around.

“We were not clearing our lines, we were missing tackles, we were not communicating.

“I don’t think that you need to be a really good footballer to do all those things better than we did tonight. And we just got punished for it.

“I thought that we started the game brightly. It looked as though it was a game in which we had an opportunity to get something out of. But we allowed it to run away from us.

“I thought that we started the second half brightly as well. To be fair, though, their fourth goal [by Wing] was a really good strike.

“But their fifth goal was really simple. A straight run down the middle and we allowed it to happen.

“So it all ends up being a massive disappointment for us. But we’ve just got to move on.

“Defensively, in the first half, it worried me. Without a doubt. There was just too many simple mistakes, you just can’t do those things.”

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