READING FC fell to their fourth defeat in six Championship games after losing to Sheffield Wednesday at Madejski Stadium.

Royals boss Paul Clement was hoping to lift spirits with a first league win of the season heading into a fortnight’s international break.

But it was Jos Luhukay’s Owls who prevailed to secure their first Championship victory on the road.

Reading remain in a major rut and have won just three times in 28 league games in 2018.

A change of manager that saw Clement replace Jaap Stam in March has done little to improve results.

Clement brought in nine players in the transfer window, has rotated his squad and tweaked formation in recent weeks.

But Reading cannot seem to shake themselves out of their current slump and are heading for a second successive relegation battle unless things quickly change.

Clement’s men were behind from the 12th minute today when Adam Reach netted before Lucas Joao made it 2-0 to the Owls 14 seconds into the second half.

Liam Moore pulled one back with a thumping header on 64 minutes, but the Owls held on for the win.

Clement made six changes to Tuesday night’s side dumped out of the Carabao Cup by Watford reserves.

Vito Mannone, Andy Yiadom, Sone Aluko, David Meyler, Mo Barrow and Sam Baldock all came back into the team, while Liam Moore kept the captain’s armband from fit-again Chris Gunter having penned a new five-year deal yesterday.

Liam Kelly, John Swift, Marc McNulty and Tyler Blackett were named among the subs as Clement searched for a solution to this midfield problems.

It was a decent start for the hosts who saw Yakou Meite fire over after Wednesday only half cleared Aluko’s free-kick.

But the Owls hit back a minute later when Lucas Joao showed superb control before his rasping drive from the edge of the area was tipped over by Mannone.

And the visitors were soon in front after Reach put them ahead in the 12th minute.

Barry Bannan and Atdhe Nuhiu linked up well and Reach was left in too much space to sweep a left-footed shot past Mannone and into the corner from the edge of the box.

The visitors now had the luxury of a lead to sit on and Reading struggled to find a way through from there.

They won a couple of corners, only to see a superb delivery by Aluko expertly headed away by Owls skipper Tom Lees midway through the first half.

Then Gunter won a free-kick on the half-hour mark, Leandro Bacuna swung it in but Meyler’s glancing header drifted narrowly wide of the far post with Cameron Dawson rooted to the spot.

Royals were lacking penetration in the final third – but almost snatched an equaliser a minute before the break.

Baldock’s smart pass sent Barrow away, but Dawson came off his line quickly to save the Royals winger’s shot with his chest to keep his side in front.

Reading would have retained hopes of coming back into the match going into the interval.

But they were soon facing an even tougher task after conceding a second goal just 14 seconds into the second half.

Owls kept the ball from the restart and, when Reading’s defence backed off, Joao lined up a shot and bent the ball around Mannone from outside the area.

It was a hammer blow for the shellshocked hosts as they started another defeat in the face.

They created a decent chance a few minutes later when Bacuna drilled a shot at Dawson who was happy to punch it clear.

Clement’s men had no choice other than to pile bodies forward – and it almost cost them a third goal on the counter-attack.

Owls broke from deep in a four-on-four situation that ended with Mannone beating away Nuhiu’s angled drive with his outstretched arm.

Clement had little choice but to make a triple substitution on the hour in a desperate bid to find a way back, with Josh Sims, McNulty and Kelly replacing Aluko, Barrow and Meyler.

And within four minutes his side were back in it thanks to Moore’s superb header.

Royals’ captain peeled off his marker and met Bacuna’s corner with a thumping header from 12 yards that looped over Dawson and into the top corner.

Suddenly, Royals’ fans began to believe the comeback was on as the decibel level rose.

Bacuna fired a free-kick from the left narrowly over Dawson’s bar at the game’s three-quarter mark.

Wednesday survived that spell and saw a Matt Penney effort deflect wide off Gunter’s boot.

Then Jordan Thorniley made a vital last-ditch tackle to dispossess Kelly 10 yards out at the other end.

Royals were screaming for a penalty with five minutes to go when Sims’ cross struck Bannan, but referee Gavin Ward waved play on.

McNulty also saw an opening in time added on, but Dawson got down quickly to save his low drive from the edge of the area.

Reading: Mannone; Yiadom, Ilori, Moore (c), Gunter, Aluko (Sims 60), Bacuna, Meyler (Kelly 60), Barrow (McNulty 60), Baldock, Meite. Subs not used: Walker, McShane, Blackett, Swift. Booked: Sims 87.

Sheff Wed: Dawson, Palmer, Pelupessy, Bannan, Thorniley, Lees ©, Nuhiu, Joao (Fletcher 87), Matias (Forestieri 81), Reach, Penney. Subs not used: Wildsmith, Fox, Hutchinson, Baker, Lee. Booked: Penney 19.

Referee: Gavin Ward.

Attendance: 14,352 (Sheff Wed 1,933).