READING FC clinched their first Championship win of the season after a five-goal thriller at Deepdale.

Royals were pegged back twice by Preston as goals from Sam Baldock and Tiago Ilori were cancelled out by Daniel Johnson and Callum Robinson strikes.

But Leandro Bacuna grabbed the decisive winner eight minutes from time to secure three desperately-needed points for the visitors.

The victory was Reading’s first in the league since beating Preston at home on April 7.

And a first away Championship win since January also lifted Paul Clement’s men off the bottom of the table and ended a run of three successive defeats at Deepdale.

Clement was confident Reading’s fortunes were about to change going into the clash following a fortnight’s international break.

And despite a turbulent fortnight that included the shock departure of sporting director Brian Tevreden, Royals’ boss proved to be spot on.

Clement changed his goalkeeper with Sam Walker replacing the injured Vito Mannone for his league debut and Anssi Jaakkola as back up on the bench.

Modou Barrow missed out through injury, while John Swift, Sone Aluko and Liam Kelly were restored to midfield.

Preston, searching for a first win since the opening day, created the first chance in the second minute when Tom Barkhuizen shot wide from a decent position.

Walker then made a meal out of a Robinson effort from outside the area, with Preston unable to capitalise on the follow-up.

Royals responded with Sone Aluko smacking a shot over the crossbar after a promising counter attack.

But Clement’s men were fortunate not to fall behind when the hosts hit the woodwork with 18 minutes gone.

Robinson sent over a superb cross and Barkhuizen rose above the Reading defence, only to see his powerful header hit the inside of the post with Walker well beaten.

Royals cashed-in on the lucky break by taking a 23rd minute lead.

Swift was the architect as he dispossessed Johnson in midfield before dinking a beautiful pass over the last defender into the path of Baldock, who calmly slotted past Declan Rudd for his second of the season.

Reading were buoyed by the goal and saw Swift fire over the bar then Yakou Meite sting Rudd’s hands with a powerful strike.

But their lead was soon wiped out when Preston grabbed a flukey equaliser on 31 minutes.

Liam Moore made a vital block, but Johnson picked up the scraps and shot from outside the area, the ball deflecting off Moore again and wrongfooting Walker before rolling into the net.

Now Preston’s tails were up and Robinson was inches away from putting his side ahead moments later after poor defending from the visitors.

However, Royals ended the first half on the front foot and went close again in the 41st minute.

Kelly collected the ball inside the area and beat two defenders only to see his shot saved by Rudd.

To compound their frustration, Andy Yiadom retrieved the loose ball and went down in the area following a challenge by Josh Earl, only for referee Daren Bond to turn down Reading’s penalty appeals and book the full-back for diving instead.

Royals burst out of the blocks after the restart and saw Aluko miss the target after neat work from Kelly.

They survived a penalty appeal of their own soon after when a cross appeared to strike Moore’s hand, but Bond did not want to know.

Walker was called into action again when he punched a Paul Gallagher shot clear.

But the visitors got their noses back in front in the 52nd minute after a well-worked corner routine.

Aluko and Swift linked up before the former fizzed over a cross which Ilori converted from six yards at the near post.

Preston boss Alex Neil responded by making a double change four minutes later then saw Paul Huntington and Tom Clarke both head straight at Walker from Robinson deliveries.

And Walker came to Reading rescue again soon after with a crucial save to deny Earl during a spell of dominance from the hosts.

Reading, though, remained a threat with Swift was an inch away from tapping in a Kelly cross after a slick counter attack.

Yet they were soon back on level terms after Preston equalised once again on 76 minutes.

Earl showed quick feet before sending over a cross-shot which Robinson tucked home at the back post for 2-2.

But Clement’s men refused to lie down and were back in front within six minutes.

The visitors broke from the edge of their own area and Josh Sims, who only came on moments earlier, drove to the bye line before crossing for Bacuna to fire past Rudd from close range.

Preston piled on the pressure un the closing stages, with substitute Graham Burke testing Walker and Earl heading wide from a good position.

But Reading held on for a priceless victory that finally gets their league campaign up and running.

Royals return to Madejski Stadium on Wednesday when they host Norwich City (8pm ko).

Preston: Rudd, Fisher (Harrop 56), Earl, Clarke, Davies, Robinson, Moult (Burke 80), Johnson, Gallagher (Nmecha 56), Huntington, Barkhuizen. Subs not used: Maxwell, Storey, Hughes, Barker. Booked: Earl 90.

Reading: Walker, Gunter, Yiadom, Moore, Ilori, Bacuna, Kelly (Rinomhota 90), Swift, Meite (Bodvarsson 75), Aluko (Sims 79), Baldock. Subs not used: Jaakkola, O’Shea, McShane, McNulty. Booked: Yiadom 41.

Referee: Darren Bond.

Attendance: 10,849 (Reading 218).