Manchester City seemed to commandeer the copyright for dramatic last-second winning goals in the manner in which they won the title last season and, as the most memorable year in the club's history draws to a close, there is every sign that they will continue to use precisely that formula in attempting to retain their title in the new year.
For the fourth time in 18 league games to date this season, City waited beyond the 87th minute before producing the goal that brought them all three points, an astonishing statistic and one that has kept the defending champions within touching distance of neighbours, and league leaders, Manchester United.
Without those efforts, points would have been dropped against West Brom, Fulham, Tottenham and, now, last-placed Reading, and what has undoubtedly been a testing season for Roberto Mancini's side might have been bordering on the disastrous.
The latest effort was arguably the most dramatic, and controversial, of the lot with Gareth Barry rising above his marker Nicky Shorey in the third of four minutes added by referee Mike Dean to head David Silva's cross past Adam Federici in the Reading goal.
It was an effort which infuriated the Reading players and bench, who voiced their frustration at the fourth official on the touchline, and, while it was no more than City deserved for their overwhelming advantage in possession and enterprise, it was a tough result for the opposition, who were looking to end a run of six consecutive defeats.
Mancini admitted that his heart may not be strong enough to cope with much more drama of this sort but, given the manner in which City won the title against QPR on the concluding day of last season, perhaps he should not be altogether surprised at the nature of his team's title defence.
"I'm very happy but we've had a lot of games like today," said Mancini. "My heart is not strong enough to take it!
"That win could probably be the difference come the end of the season. I hope so. Our attitude is good. We kept our concentration until the very end.
"We wanted to win this game and we kept going until he very last second. This game is important but when you play well, like we did in the first half, if you have a chance to score, you must score. This can change a difficult game."
Opposite number Brian McDermott could feel aggrieved and not only for the timing and dubious nature of the winning goal. After 75 minutes, a rare counter attack by his team ended with a cross from Pavel Pogrebnyak which seemed to firstly be handled by City defender Matija Nastasic, and then missed by Jay Tabb who was impeded by home debutant Karim Rekik.
"It was an absolute joke. We've had that a few times this season," said McDermott of the two - three - decisions that went against his team. "I said to the referee at the end, he'll be gutted he missed that (Barry foul). The ref said he hung in the air but you can hang in the air all day if you're hanging on somebody's back! It was an absolute certainty.
"And he knocked Tabb out of the way, we should have had a penalty. We've had a few of those recently but we I have to just look at the positives."
The positives were considerable for McDermott. For all City's superiority, Federici was curiously underemployed as too many bright attacks in and around the Reading area wove into blind alleys or fizzled out with misplaced final passes.
The goalkeeper saved well from Carlos Tevez after a magnificent touch from Sergio Aguero allowed him a near-post shot after 15 minutes and, again, smothered effectively after Barry steered a header directly at him from Tevez's 34th minute cross.
But as the anxiety of City's players and, particularly, the home crowd grew after the interval, the occasional opening presented itself to the visitors, although too often it fell to the unimpressive Jimmy Kebe who failed to deliver telling crosses.
In response, City brought on Edin Dzeko, responsible for much of City's late productivity off the bench this season, who almost connected with a Pablo Zabaleta cross from close range then headed just wide from a Silva corner.
"I told the guys before the game that Reading might have conceded a lot of goals in the last few games but they are playing well," said Mancini, hinting that his players may have been slightly complacent in their approach. "I told them it would be a difficult game and I think they will find more games like this between now and the end of the season."
And, it is safe to assume, there will yet be several endings like this to come.