EVERTON suffered only their second Premier League defeat of the season, as Reading came from behind to beat David Moyes' side 2-1 at the Madejski Stadium.
Leading through Steven Naismith's early strike, and having dominated the first 45 minutes, the Blues failed to find any kind of rhythm in the second half. Adam Le Fondre levelled for the home side, and then converted a penalty after a foul on him by Seamus Coleman.
Moyes was forced into two changes from the side which had beaten Southampton last weekend, with skipper Phil Neville joining Kevin Mirallas on the absent list. It meant a first Everton start for Thomas Hitzlsperger in midfield, with Naismith on the right hand side in support of Nikica Jelavic.
The visitors were quickly on the front foot, and had two good chances inside the opening three minutes, with Adam Federici denying Phil Jagielka from close range and Jelavic bouncing a volley over the bar when he might have done better.
It was to prove only a temporary reprieve for Reading, as some shocking defending from their centre halves Sean Morrison and Kaspars Gorkss allowed Jelavic to hook in a cross from the byline that Marouane Fellaini chested down, for Naismith to prod past Federici from close in.
The home side looked nervy at the back, but could have been level within a minute as Adam Le Fondre beat Tim Howard to a hopeful ball forward. The striker, though, clipped his effort over the bar as John Heitinga got back to cover the goalline.
Steven Pienaar had a decent chance on 22 minutes, after Jelavic had dispossessed the hapless Morrison. The South African's shot, however, went well wide.
Hitzlsperger tested Federici with a trademark long-ranger on 36 minutes, with the Reading 'keeper then thwarting new England cap Leon Osman soon after. Jelavic then saw his goal-bound volley strike Morrison's arm, with referee Martin Atkinson deeming the contact to be accidental.
Jagielka had a header cleared off the line by Jay Tabb as the visitors dominated the first half without ever having to get out of second gear.
Reading, dreadful for 45 minutes, responded with a strong start to the second half, with Mikele Leigertwood heading a Nicky Shorey corner off target before Le Fondre nipped in front of Coleman to head home a Shorey free kick after 52 minutes.
Everton were stunned, and penned back in their own half. A breakaway should have led to a good chance on 59 minutes, but Pienaar's pass to Hitzlsperger lacked care, and Morrison blocked.
At the other end Howard was alert to deny Le Fondre, who then curled another effort off target from 25 yards.
A last-ditch tackle from Coleman denied Le Fondre after a Reading counter attack on 73 minutes, as Moyes' men struggled to find their rhythm. Federici saved at the feet of Osman after a mazy run.
Then, with 12 minutes remaining, Reading were awarded a penalty as Coleman barged Le Fondre in the back. The Royals striker took the spot kick himself and drove it down the middle for 2-1.
Fellaini headed against the post moments later as Everton sought a way back into a match they had controlled for so long. Alas, there was no way back, with substitute Apostolos Vellios heading the final chance of the afternoon off target.
READING: Federici, Gunter, Shorey, Gorkss, Morrison, Tabb, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Robson-Kanu, Le Fondre (Hunt 82), Roberts
Substitutes: Taylor, Mariappa, Cummings, Harte, McCleary, Pogrebnyak
Cards: Roberts, Gorkss, Hunt
Goals: Le Fondre (52, 79pen)
EVERTON: Howard, Coleman, Jagielka, Heitinga, Baines, Osman, Hitzlsperger (Vellios 82), Naismith (Oviedo 79), Fellaini, Pienaar, Jelavic
Substitutes: Mucha, Duffy, Distin, Kennedy, Junior
Goals: Naismith (9)
Referee: Martin Atkinson