Scunthorpe manager Alan Knill admits Reading's opening goal in their 2-0 win at Glanford Park crushed the Iron`s spirited resistance.
The Royals rode out the first-half storm where Scunthorpe, who beat Championship leaders QPR 4-1 at the weekend, posed the greater goal threat and created a series of decent openings, with striker Joe Garner at the hub of their best moves.
However, Shane Long swept home Jimmy Kebe's low cross in the 57th minute and then won a penalty which Ian Harte converted to send the Iron closer to relegation.
"Up to the first goal it was even and I thought we played pretty well in the first half," said Knill, whose side now face a massive clash against relegation rivals Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park on Saturday.
"We played OK but didn't really push on and it looked like we were waiting for something to happen. The first goal killed us and the penalty straight after meant it was game over."
Yet Knill is refusing to throw in the towel just yet, he added: "We just need to stop making mistakes at the back."