READING FC celebrated a first win under Jose Gomes thanks to a deserved victory over nine-man Nottingham Forest.

John Swift’s 23rd minute strike and a late Jack Robinson own goal proved to be the difference on a day when Royals could have won by a bigger margin.

But given this was their first Championship win in 11 matches, there were few complaints at the final whistle.

Forest played the majority of the second half without their full compliment of players after Daniel Fox was sent off for a second yellow just after the hour mark following a melee on the pitch.

They also lost Tendayi Darikwa to a straight red card on 83 minutes after a studs-up challenge on teenage substitute, Danny Loader.

However, Gomes’ men had the upper hand for most of the game as Royals notched a first league win since November to move up to 22nd in the table and only two points from safety.

Gomes made four changes from the side that lost at Manchester United in the FA Cup.

Fit-again striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson stepped back in, Leandro Bacuna returned from suspension and Mo Barrow got the nod out wide.

Gomes also handed a debut to Liverpool loanee Ovie Ejaria on the left of midfield, with Callum Harriott, Liam Kelly, Garath McCleary and Loader the men to miss out.

Ejaria was immediately involved in the action and was involved in Reading’s first chance of the game in the second minute.

Bodvarsson won possession deep in Forest territory and whipped over a cross which Ejaria met with powerful header that flew over the bar.

And the visitors were perhaps fortunate to keep 11 men on the field when Daniel Fox was booked for a crunching challenge on John Swift that possibly warranted red.

However, Forest responded with a decent spell that saw Daryl Murphy head into Anssi Jaakkola’s arms from a corner in the 13th minute.

Then a minute later Andy Yiadom made a superb last-ditch tackle on Murphy as the Forest striker was about to pull the trigger no more than six yards out.

Yet Reading remained the more dangerous side and they broke the deadlock midway with a dazzling team goal midway through the first half.

Bacuna’s pass from deep split Forest open, with Swift taking the ball on before finding Barrow.

Royals’ winger got around his marker and pulled the ball back from the bye line, with Swift continuing his run into the box and sweeping a first-time effort past Costel Pantilimon and into the far corner.

Ironically, it was Swift’s first league goal since a brace against Forest in November 2017.

The midfield schemer was involved again eight minutes before the break when teeing up Ejaria, but the loanee’s shot from outside the box flew down Pantilimon’s throat.

Moments later Ejaria linked up with Bodvarsson, but the striker’s final ball into the box was cut out by Pantilimon as Reading pressed for a second.

Then Barrow went close with a long range shot that Pantilimon pushed around the post when the Reading star had other options available.

Barrow also fired into the side netting as Royals ended the half well on top and deservedly in the lead.

Forest threatened soon after the restart, with Murphy hooking an effort over the top with his back to goal.

Bacuna responded by blazing over at the other end before Swift’s free-kick was tipped over the bar by Pantilimon.

Joe Lolley then tested Jaakkola with a grasscutter from 20 yards out.

But the game’s complexion took a dramatic twist just after the hour mark when a major flare up saw Forest reduced to 10 men.

Murphy’s crunching challenge on Swift near the left touchline led sparked ugly scenes on the pitch and a flurry of yellow cards given to the Forest striker and teammates Robinson and Fox.

It was Fox’s second booking of the day resulting in an early bath, while Reading’s Liam Moore and Andy Yiadom were also yellow carded for their part in the fracas.

Royals looked to press home their numerical advantage, with Lewis Baker almost scoring after coming on.

Bodvarsson teed up the on-loan Chelsea midfielder but he couldn’t keep his shot down with Pantilimon off his line.

Fellow sub McCleary was then a whisker away from making it 2-0 with a low drive from outside the box and with Forest there for the taking.

But Forest’s day turned from bad to worse as they lost their heads in the closing stages.

They were reduced to nine men seven minutes from time when Darikwa flew into Loader right under the nose of referee Oliver Langford who immediately brandished a red.

And to rub salt into Forest wounds, Royals doubled their lead in the 87th minute when Yiadom’s cross hit Robinson and rolled past Pantilimon.

That, though, was no more that Reading deserved as the Gomes’ revolution gets into full swing.

But it doesn’t get any easier for Royals who face a trip to Derby County next weekend.

Reading FC: Jaakkola, Richards (Baker 67), Ilori, Moore ©, Yiadom, Rinomhota, Bacuna, Barrow, Swift, Ejaria (McCleary 74), Bodvarsson (Loader 82). Subs not used: Walker, Gunter, Aluko, Blackett. Booked: Richards 32, Moore 61, Yiadom 61.

Nottingham Forest: Pantilimon, Fox ©, Guedioura (Yates 84), Colback, Murphy (Grabban 64), Osborn, Cash, Robinson, Lolley (Goncalves 68), Yacob, Darinkwa. Subs not used: Carvalho, Steele, Goncalves, Janko, Appiah. Booked: Fox 8 & 62, Colback 38, Murphy 61, Robinson 61. Red card: Fox 62.

Referee: Oliver Langford.

Attendance: 15,034 (Nottingham Forest 2,093).