By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Club Reporter
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 1 (Cabaye 35)
Reading 2 (Le Fondre 71, 77)
Yohan Cabaye scored his third goal of the season but could not prevent Reading coming from behind to snatch a 2-1 win at St. James' Park on Saturday.
The Frenchman curled home a brilliant first-half free-kick to give the Magpies an advantage at the interval which they fully deserved for almost entirely dominating the opening 45 minutes.
But the Royals hit back after the break with substitute Adam Le Fondre grabbing a quickfire brace to earn the visitors their first away win of the season.
United could have been out of sight by half-time but for the heroics of Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici and will look to those missed chances as they reflect on another disappointing home defeat.
Reading set their defensive stall out early on, as United enjoyed plenty of possession in the opening exchanges but were unable to break the stubborn visitors down.
The Magpies' best chance came on 14 minutes when Cabaye pulled the trigger from 20 yards, only to see his effort smothered well by Federici.
Cabaye - making his first start since 11th November following groin surgery - was clearly in the mood to make up for lost time, and immediately saw another strike, this time from a tight angle, kept out by Reading's stopper.
He then turned provider, cutting in off the right flank to dink a cross onto the head of Cisse, whose looping header was brilliantly tipped away to safety.
Arguably though, the best chance of the half fell Reading's way and came in the 27th minute.
Breaking at rapid pace following a Newcastle corner at the other end of the pitch, Danny Guthrie fed Garath McCleary wide on the right, who raced past Mathieu Debuchy before slipping a low cross into the path of the unmarked Pavel Pogrebnyak.
The big striker snatched at his chance, however, and slid an effort wide when he should have at least hit the target.
Normal service was resumed minutes later but again the hosts could not find a way past Federici - twice.
First, Cisse stung the keeper's palms with a fierce volley after a free-kick was only half-cleared, before Federici pulled off an outstanding stop to keep out the same player from near point-blank range following a Debuchy delivery.
But he could do nothing to keep out Cabaye's opener in the 35th minute. Marveaux had been bundled over 20 yards out, and the French international stepped up to curl the resulting free-kick perfectly into the top corner.
Coming out for the second half trailing, Reading would have to show more of an attacking intent than in the first period, and they almost snatched a fortuitous equaliser just minutes after the restart.
Full-back Ian Harte whipped a free-kick into the danger zone and Jonas Gutierrez, stretching, diverted it inches past the upright.
But it didn't take long for Newcastle to get back on the front foot, and Shola Ameobi curled off target from the edge of the area before Cabaye threatened from distance.
Midway through the half, Royals boss Brian McDermott introduced striker Adam Le Fondre from the bench in place of midfielder Danny Guthrie, and his bold switch was instantly rewarded.
Jimmy Kebe received the ball wide on the right and raced towards the by-line before delivering a low cross which Le Fondre bundled home from close range.
Cabaye nearly responded straight away with an overhead kick from the edge of the area that was narrowly off-target, and that was his final moment before being replaced by Gael Bigirimana.
But less than seven minutes after coming on, Le Fondre bagged his second of the afternoon to turn the match on its head.
Kebe kept a deep cross alive with a clever far post header, and former Rotherham man Le Fondre was on hand to sweep home Leigertwood's scuffed shot past the despairing dive of Tim Krul.
There was always going to be one last chance for the hosts and it fell to Cisse with three minutes remaining. Debuchy's cross was nodded on by substitute James Perch into the path of the unmarked striker at the far post.
But Cisse swivelled and somehow blazed high over the bar when you would have expected the Senegal international to slot home with ease.
And that was it as United suffered another Tyneside defeat.
Newcastle United (4-2-3-1): Tim Krul; Mathieu Debuchy, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Davide Santon; Vurnon Anita (Gabriel Obertan 80), Yohan Cabaye (Gael Bigirimana 74); Shola Ameobi, Sylvain Marveaux (James Perch 65), Jonas Gutierrez; Papiss Cisse
Reading (4-2-3-1): Adam Federici; Stephen Kelly, Alex Pearce, Adrian Mariappa, Ian Harte; Mikele Leigertwood, Danny Guthrie (Adam Le Fondre 70); Garath McCleary (Hope Akpan 64), Jobi McAnuff (c), Jimmy Kebe; Pavel Pogrebnyak
Subs not used: Stuart Taylor, Chris Gunter, Sean Morrison, Jem Karacan, Noel Hunt
Referee: Andre Marriner (West Midlands)
Bookings: Newcastle - Williamson (56), Debuchy (79); Reading - Guthrie (65), Kelly (67), Kebe (90)
Attendance: 49,411 (1,068 Reading)