Reading boss Steve Coppell was relieved after seeing his side climb to eighth in the Premiership as they claimed their second successive home win.
Ousmane Dabo earned City's second red card of the season when he was sent off for violent conduct after 80 minutes in what appeared a harsh decision by referee Howard Webb after he led with his arm in an aerial challenge with Steve Sidwell.
Coppell told Sky Sports: 'It was margins throughout the game.
'We were thankful to score the goal and that gave us the incentive to hang on in the second half.'
The Royals narrowly lost two away games after winning their opening match against Middlesbrough and Coppell believed tonight's victory offered a measurement of their progress.
'It's just difficult to know where we are at with just four games gone.
'It was difficult to be conclusive after three games but this has shown we can compete.'
Following their weekend trip to Sheffield United, three of Reading's four following games see them take on Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal - something Coppell is relishing.
He said: 'We are loving it, enjoying it. You work so hard to be up against these players and go to these stadiums. We are going to try and enjoy it anyway.'
Coppell's opposite number Stuart Pearce was disappointed although he refuted a suggestion that City were being targeted by referees following Ben Thatcher's challenge on Pedro Mendes.
Pearce told Sky Sports: 'Firstly, I think it had nothing to do with Ben Thatcher.
'Secondly Ousmane is very disappointed.
'I only saw it in real time so we'll have a look at it.'
City defender Micah Richards reacted angrily to being substituted and Pearce was quick to point out who is boss.
'I'll educate him. I want to see spirit in all my players but you have to learn a lot in this game and learn a lot quickly and it's up to me to educate my young players.'
With regard to the game, the City boss believed his side had not got what they deserved.
'We are disappointed. I thought it was the best we played this season.
'But that is the margins in the Premiership if you don't take your chances, we passed it around well but you have to take your chances.'