READING FC’s losing start to their pre-season campaign continued with a 4-2 defeat at AFC Wimbledon.

Paul Clement gave 22 players a run-out in Saturday’s clash but it was the League One Dons who claimed the victory in the scorching heat.

A first appearance for new signing John O’Shea and fit-again Omar Richards were among the positives for Clement to take from an entertaining game.

But Royals have now lost their opening two friendlies after a 2-1 defeat at Eastleigh a week earlier and will be desperate to end the disappointing run this Saturday when they face Fulham.

There were chances at both ends in the early stages with Sone Aluko dragging an effort just wide for the visitors before Royals keeper Vito Mannone saved Deje Oshilaja’s header.

Reading midfielder Liam Kelly also went close with a 25-yard effort before the first of several drinks breaks during the day.

But it was Neal Ardley’s Dons who looked the more refreshed as Joe Pigott narrowly missed the target from a free kick.

Royals failed to heed the warning as the hosts broke the deadlock on 35 minutes when former loanee Kwesi Appiah stabbed home from a poorly-defended corner.

Things got even worse for Clement’s men as they conceded a second goal shortly before the break – Mannone making a smart initial save only for Pigott to sweep him the loose ball from close range.

Reading Chronicle:

David Meyler in action against AFC Wimbledon.

It needed a brilliant save from Mannone to keep it at 2-0 before Royals nearly pulled one back, Yakou Meite jinking past Dons keeper Tom King only to lose possession before he could shoot.

Clement made 11 changes at the interval and Reading showed more urgency when play restarted.

Their high-tempo approach quickly produced a goal, Adrian Popa powering a header past Don’s change keeper Joe McDonell from a Tyler Blackett cross.

Mo Barrow was inches away from an equaliser when he fired just wide after another strong run from Blackett.

But Royals did make it 2-2 shortly before the hour mark, Sam Smith heading home after McDonnell had spilled a teasing cross.

However, the heat began to take its toll on the visitors as Dons made four late changes and benefitted from an injection of youth.

The home side regained the lead in the 74th minute when Kosta Sparta crossed for Academy product Egil Kaja to confidently finish past Anssi Jaakkola in the Reading goal.

Smith threatened to make it 3-3 with a shot that was blocked as the clocked ticked down.

Reading Chronicle:

Andy Yiadom looks for a way past a Wimbledon opponent.

But Dons quickly added a fourth with an excellent strike from another Academy graduate, Kane Critchlow, six minutes before the end.

Royals defender Liam Moore did see a header expertly saved by McDonnell in the closing stages, but Dons held on for the victory.

Clement will be desperate to ends Reading’s losing streak when they take on Fulham at Aldershot Town’s ground this Saturday (1.30pm ko).

Royals’ first team squad will then depart on a tour to Austria next Monday, playing friendlies against Turkish club Besiktas on Tuesday and Rubin Kazan next Friday.

AFC Wimbledon first half: King, Sibbick, Meades, Nightingale, Oshilaja, Soares, Egan, Pinnock, Barcham, Pigott, Appiah. Second half subs: McDonnell, Trotter, Streete, Bellikli, Sparta, Kalambayi, Kaja, Wood, Crichlow, Ashley, Burey.

Reading first half: Mannone, Gunter, Richards, Ilori, O'Shea, Kelly, Bacuna, Aluko, Harriott, Swift, Meite. Second half: Jaakkola, Yiadom, Blackett, Moore, Meyler, Edwards, Evans, Clement, Popa, Barrow, Smith.