Reading roared into a four-goal lead before Leeds regained some pride but with just two wins from their last 15 games, Brian McDermott's men are surely confined to another season outside the top flight.
Reading, on the other hand, underlined their promotion credentials and are undefeated in their last four away matches.
Adkins said: "They were three very valuable points.
"We were excellent in the first half and deservedly went in one-up.
"We expected Leeds to come at us in the second half but we went on the front foot to score three quick goals.
"Then a goal goes in to lift them and it's immediately followed by a wonder goal from Rudy Austin.
"The place was bouncing then and we showed great character to defend because they really went for it."
The kick-off was delayed by half an hour after congestion on the M62 but the delay had no effect on Reading, whose pace and precision passing had Leeds repeatedly at full stretch and unable to bring Royals keeper Alex McCarthy into the action until he gathered Alex Mowatt's header just before the break.
But it was a disastrous seven-minute spell early in the second half that had Leeds fans demanding to know what was going on as Royston Drenthe, Nick Blackman and Hal Robson-Kanu helped themselves to goals.
Drenthe's left foot free-kick was sublime, substitute Blackman was allowed a free header and Robson-Kanu's goal had Leeds in total disarray.
Matt Smith left the bench to bring Leeds to life, latching on to Pearce's downward header to score at the foot of a post, before Austin rifled a spectacular goal from 30 yards to offer a crumb of comfort.
- Sports & Recreation