Yann Kermorgant's 89th-minute strike snatched a late 1-0 win for Reading at Cardiff in the Sky Bet Championship.
The striker finished off Jordan Obita's cross to claim the Royals' first win since the opening weekend - and their first away from home in the league since April.
It sealed another frustrating performance at home for Bluebirds boss Paul Trollope, who has won just one of his first six games in charge.
Cardiff skipper David Marshall was left out of the team, with a bid from Hull accepted and the player given permission to talk to the Premier League side.
The hosts also sold deputy goalkeeper Stephen Moore to Sheffield United earlier in the week - and with Ben Amos not arriving until Friday on loan from Bolton, it was left to third-choice Ben Wilson to make his Championship debut.
Opposite number Ali Al-Habsi was the busier in goal when the action started, denying long-range efforts from Jazz Richards and Anthony Pilkington inside the opening 15 minutes.
Lex Immers headed wide from Pilkington's cross while Matthew Connolly directed Peter Whittingham's corner straight at the Reading keeper.
Royals boss Jaap Stam handed debuts to Tyler Blackett, signed from his former club Manchester United, and Liam Moore in his defence.
His side looked to catch Cardiff on the counter-attack with Garath McCleary causing problems.
Lee Peltier was fortunate not to be booked for pulling back the forward as he threatened to race clear, before the Bluebirds player hobbled off with a hamstring injury.
Kermorgant had a low driving effort blocked by Aron Gunnarsson from a rare Reading corner, before Immers was again off target before half-time.
Pilkington won a corner that Whittingham delivered perfectly to the unmarked Sean Morrison - but the centre-back was wide with a free header from eight yards.
Cardiff were almost made to pay for their wastefulness in the 65th minute, when Wilson spilled a high ball under pressure from striker Kermorgant
It handed Roy Beerens a clear sight of goal but Richards was on hand to clear off the line.
By now Reading were steadily growing into the game and sensed a chance to steal all three points.
Danny Williams turned and fired wide from the edge of the box before Kermorgant headed McCleary's corner powerfully wide.
However the striker was on target eight minutes later to finish a burst by substitute Obita down the left flank, steadying himself before firing in his first goal of the season from 20 yards.
Reading then survived a late penalty appeal after Cardiff striker Frederic Gounongbe went down in the box under Paul McShane's challenge - referee Andy Woolmer waving away the home appeals.
Source : PA