A SUPERB John Swift hattrick was undone by costly defensive errors as Reading FC threw away a two-goal cushion to draw 3-3 with Queens Park Rangers.

Swift cancelled out a Michael Morrison own goal in the first half before taking the game to the visitors in the second with two well-taken goals.

But Royals once again collapsed at the back as late strikes from Andre Gray and Stefan Johansen ensured the visitors did not make the short trip home empty-handed.

Velkjo Paunovic made three changes to the side which was humiliated 4-0 by Huddersfield before the international break.

Ghana international Baba Rahman was handed his debut after penning a season-long loan move from Chelsea while ex-Barcelona man Alen Halilovic was given his first start.

Midfielder Ovie Ejaria made his long-awaited comeback to first-team action following injury and contracting COVID-19 while Andy Rinomhota, Danny Drinkwater and Scott Dann were all missing from the squad.

The in-form visitors got off to a fast-paced start at Select Car Leasing stadium as Moses Odubajo saw his long-range effort thwarted by Rahman.

Mark Warburton’s side took the lead with just 10 minutes played as Royals once again failed to deal with a set-piece.

A free-kick from the right sparked a game of pinball inside the penalty area before Morrison scored an unfortunate own goal.

Royals tried to come up with an immediate reply when George Puscas was slipped through on goal but the Romanian international just mistimed his run and was flagged offside.

The 25-year-old had another chance to test keeper Seny Dieng seconds later but he blasted his shot over the crossbar.

New signing Rahman was in the thick of the action again with 33 minutes played as he whipped a dangerous-looking cross towards Puscas but QPR dealt with the danger.

And Rangers’ dominance was undone moments later when Halilovic’s searching, lofted pass landed directly at the feet of John Swift. Royals’ star man took a calm touch before slotting the ball beyond Dieng to level the scores.

The visitors thought they had regained their advantage on the stroke of half-time when a cross from the right fell to an unmarked Charlie Austin inside the box.

However, his shot was expertly blocked by Andy Yiadom who had done brilliantly to recover.

Royals looked far more threatening in the early stages of the second half as Halilovic tried put an audacious 25-yard strike narrowly wide of the target.

Skipper Liam Moore then came to the rescue as Austin once again found himself free in the danger area with 50 minutes played.

Striker Puscas was screaming for a penalty after being tackled from behind by ex-Royals academy star Rob Dickie but referee Geoff Eltringham rightly dismissed the appeal.

And the home side completed the turnaround after 64 minutes as Swift once again came up with the goods for his fifth goal of the season.

The midfield maestro turned superbly inside the area after being picked out by Tom Dele-Bashiru before lashing a shot into the bottom corner.

Swift very nearly turned provider on 75 minutes when his clever cut-back fell kindly to Puscas, who really should have done better with the chance.

Reading’s talisman, who in truth was simply too hot for the visitors to handle, bagged the first hat-trick of his career to double his side’s advantage three minutes later.

Liam Moore drove down the left flank before whipping a low cross towards Swift who cleverly guided the ball into the bottom corner with his weaker left foot.

But with the game seemingly put to bed, Queens Park Rangers got themselves back in with a shout when second-half substitute found himself unmarked in the area to bundle the ball into the back of the net.

Paunovic looked to steady the ship and replaced Puscas with defender Tom Holmes late on Royals looked to claim their second win of the season.

But his tactics were ripped apart when Rafael’s parry fell at the feet of Stefan Johansen who blasted the ball into the bottom corner to make it 3-3.