READING FC crashed out of the FA Cup after a comprehensive 3-1 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday in the fourth round.

Royals were undone by some woeful defending as Atdhe Nuhiu scored either side of the break before George Boyd's third secured the home side's place in the next round tonight.

Jaap Stam's visitors were gifted an own goal by Wednesday keeper Cameron Dawson two minutes from time, but it was scant consolation on a horrible night at Hillsborough.

This was a clash between two struggling Championship sides, and on this evidence Reading appear to be in serious trouble.

Eighteenth in the table, no wins in eight league games including five defeats and without a Championship goal in three matches speaks for itself.

And disgruntled supporters have now kissed goodbye to a decent cup run and the opportunity to add some cheer to a depressing campaign that has firmly become a battle for survival.

With time running out in the January transfer window and with Royals shackled by Financial Fair Play rules, the prospect of finding a quick fix appears very unlikely indeed.

That leaves Stam to fight on with with a squad low on confidence and unable to turn opportunities into goals following glaring misses from Dave Edwards when the score was 0-0 and Jon Dadi Bodvarsson when it was 1-0.

Stam was missing the services of Paul McShane, John Swift and Omar Richards all with hamstring injuries.

He handed starts to Roy Beerens, Pelle Clement and Garath McCleary, while Anssi Jaakkola returned between the sticks to continue his run in the competition.

Stam also went with two strikers as Yann Kermorgant sat behind Bodvarsson in a bid to boost his side's firepower.

But it was central midfielder Edwards who squandered a one-on-one chance in the fifth minute.

He was sent clean through by Leandro Bacuna's clever pass but couldn't find a finish to beat Owls keeper Dawson.

In a first half of limited opportunities, it would end up being a pivotal moment.

Reading struggled to create much else until Kermorgant linked up with Bodvarsson in the 23rd minute only to volley wide.

Six minutes later they found themselves trailing to the Owls' controversial opener after Bodvarsson had coughed up possession.

The hosts quickly countered, Nuhiu beat the offside trap as he collected Morgan Fox's pass before slotting past an exposed Jaakkola for a vital lead.

Reading were convinced Nuhiu had strayed offside as he raced through, but their protests fell on deaf ears.

Owls searched for a second as Fox forced a decent save from Jaakkola.

But Royals threatened eight minutes before the break, Moore surging forward then finding Bodvarsson who sadly lost his footing as he sliced his shot over the bar.

Stam's men were behind at the interval, but had played some decent stuff, particularly in the opening quarter when Edwards failed to convert a gilt-edged chance.

And Wednesday were perhaps fortunate to go in with 11 men after Marco Matias escaped with a yellow for an ugly challenge on Bodvarsson in the 16th minute.

The hosts were also lucky to remain in front when Royals wasted another clear-cut chance seven minutes after the restart.

Bodvarsson found himself free at the far post after Kermorgant and Edwards let McCleary's pass run to the Icelandic striker.

But the confidence that led to a hat-trick against Stevenage was nowhere to be seen as Dawson saved his shot from eight yards out.

And, as is the way when you're in a rut, Royals conceded a sloppy second just a minute later.

McCleary failed to clear his lines and was dispossessed by Matias who then crossed for Nihiu to fire past Jaakkola.

Stam's men almost grabbed a lifeline on the hour mark when Bacuna's effort from outside the box hit the outside of the post with Dawson stranded.

And, just as they had earlier, Wednesday issued an immediate response by scoring a third one minute later.

They were helped by some atrocious defending as neither Moore nor Tiago Ilori took responsibility to clear an Adam Reach cross and Boyd was quick to punish by firing home.

Boyd nearly added a fourth with 15 minutes to go when he was thwarted by Jaakkola from a long ball from Dawson then Matias fired narrowly wide just a minute later.

With the game already lost, Stam made two more changes 11 minutes from time and sent on fit-again Smith and George Evans for Kermorgant and Bacuna.

Jaakkola, though, had to be alert to prevent Metias from netting as the clock ticked down.

And almost out of nowhere Royals pulled one back in the 85th minute.

Dawson tipped Mo Barrow's deflected cross-shot onto the post and the ball span across the line before hitting the Owls keeper a second time and rolling into the net.

It was the scrappiest of goals, but it was all Reading had to take from a night when further questions will be asked about Stam's future.

Sheffield Wednesday: Dawson, Hunt, Ferrão Venâncio, Loovens, Pudil (Palmer 63), Fox, Boyd, Pelupessy, Reach (Jones 71), Matias (Rhodes 88), Nuhiu. Subs not used: Butterfield, João, Wildsmith, Wallace. Booked: Pelupessy 6, Matias 16.

Reading: Jaakkola, Gunter (c), Moore, Ilori, Bacuna (Evans 79), Beerens, Clement, Edwards, McCleary (Barrow 66), Kermorgant (Smith 79), Bodvarsson. Subs not used: Mannone, Aluko, Blackett, Kelly. Booked: Ilori 84.

Referee: John Brooks.

Attendance: 14,848.