Reading 5 Carlisle United 1: Carlisle were thrashed by League One's bottom side and lost Joe Garner to injury on a grim night in Berkshire.

Garner limped off after just nine minutes at Reading and then Paul Simpson's side suffered their heaviest defeat of the season.

A Sam Lavelle own goal, two from Harvey Knibbs and two more for Lewis Wing and Femi Azeez saw Reading dominant, with Luke Plange's first-half effort thin consolation for United.

With the Piatak family watching from the directors' seats, Carlisle's dire showing further highlighted the scale of rebuilding needed to save their League One status.

It was their heaviest third-tier defeat since April 2014 with the Blues still third bottom of the table, now three points from the safety line.

Manager Simpson made two changes to his line-up, with Garner back from suspension and Jack Robinson also getting his first league start of the season.

They came in for Plange and Corey Whelan, while Alfie McCalmont was back from a ban and among the subs.

Yet things were troubled for Carlisle from a very early stage as Garner went down in pain after a challenge.

Both physios came to give treatment but the striker could not continue and was helped off the pitch, Garner moving gingerly as Plange took his place.

Robinson, on the left, nearly opened something up before Reading fashioned the best chance yet on 14 minutes, breaking from a United corner and Azeez going through, only to pull his finish wide under pressure from Dylan McGeouch.

Owen Moxon went close with a low attempt from outside the box but Reading then found a way through on 26 minutes when a backheel put Jeriel Dorsett to the left byline and Lavelle's attempt to cut out the low cross only succeeded in diverting the ball inside Carlisle's left-hand post.

United's reply was immediate, a well-worked move on the right seeing McGeouch spread the ball left to Robinson, whose deflected cross was volleyed neatly home by Plange.

But two minutes after the sub's second goal of his Carlisle spell, they were behind again.

United appealed for a handball decision on the left but it did not come and, after Azeez broke forward for Reading, Lavelle cut out his low cross but Knibbs was there to bundle it home.

And the hosts' No7 punished Carlisle again in the 40th minute when, after Lewis Wing turned and reversed a pass into his path, he evaded defensive attention to beat Tomas Holy with a low shot into the bottom left corner.

United had been opened up too easily again, and Sam Smith almost added a fourth when he was denied by Holy from a tight angle on the left.

Carlisle looked for a way back before half-time but Robinson's volley, comfortably saved by David Button, was the best they could muster..

And Reading nearly added a fourth in seven added first-half minutes, Josh Emmanuel timing his interception well to prevent Knibbs converting a cross.

Simpson sent on Ryan Edmondson for McGeouch at the break in a bid to turn things around, and a brief United flurry at the start of the second half almost led to a goal back.

Moxon shot wide from the D before an Emmanuel cross forced Button to turn the ball over his bar.

From Moxon's resulting cross, Edmondson's powerful header was goalbound but Dorsett cleared it off the line.

Plange then failed to make the most of a Robinson cross before, at the other end, Wing's shot was blocked by Barclay.

Button got down solidly to save an Armer shot from United's next attempt with the comeback looking elusive beyond the hour mark.

Dan Butterworth was introduced for Armer but Carlisle, whose 556 fans barely stopped singing all night, continued to lack any potency.

And their faint hopes of a fightback were killed stone dead by a superb Wing strike from outside the box on 79 minutes.

The flag then stayed down as Azeez ran clear onto a pass from sub Ben Elliott and he smashed the chance past Holy to complete the rout - and leave United reflecting on a miserable night, as they equalled their worst margin of defeat under Simpson on their first league meeting with Reading for 41 years.

Reading: Button, Dorsett (Mbengue 74), Yiadom (Holmes 86), Abbey, Craig (Ehibhatiomhan 84), Bindon, Mukairu (Elliott 74), Wing, Knibbs, Azeez, Smith (Savage 84). Not used: Pereira, Carson. 

Goals: Lavelle 26og, Knibbs 32, 40, Wing 79, Azeez 83. 

Booked: Dorsett. 

United: Holy, Barclay, Lavelle, Armer (Butterworth 72), Robinson, Emmanuel, Mellish (McCalmont 82), McGeouch (Edmondson 46), Moxon, Gibson (Maguire 82), Garner (Plange 9). Not used: Breeze, Whelan. 

Goal: Plange 29. 

Booked: Armer. 

Ref: Charles Breakspear. 

Crowd: 8,455 (556 United fans).