VITO Mannone saved an injury-time penalty as Paul Clement’s reign as Reading FC boss got off to a winning start.

The Italian beat away Jake Bidwell’s spot-kick after Dave Edwards had tripped Pawel Wszolek in the box to send Royals fans wide after a first victory in 10 Championship matches.

Sone Aluko had given the hosts a 13th minute lead with a 25-yard screamer into the top corner.

But Clement’s men were forced to defend for large periods and saw out the final 10 minutes with 10 men following substitute Yann Kermorgant’s dismissal for two yellow cards.

It was only their second victory in 19 league games and fourth at home this season as they extended their lead over the relegation zone to six points.

And a combination of resolute defending and Mannone’s heroics at the death also earned Royals their first clean sheet in 13 games.

Reading Chronicle:

Sone Aluko smacks one into the top corner to give Royals the lead against QPR.

Clement made four changes from the side that lost 3-2 at Norwich City last time out in Jaap Stam’s final game in charge.

Mannone got the nod ahead of Anssi Jaakkola in goal, while Edwards, Joey van Den Berg and Chris Martin also came back in.

Pelle Clement and Sam Smith were dropped to the bench while illness kept Liam Kelly out of the squad altogether.

Rangers boss Ian Holloway also made four changes and saw his side come under early pressure, with Aluko’s free-kick hitting the wall and going over and Tyler Blackett firing well wide from distance.

But Reading’s patience paid off when they took a 13th minute lead thanks to Aluko’s sensational solo goal.

Royals’ winger collected the ball near the halfway line before turning Bidwell inside out, racing forward, cutting in from the right and slamming a left-footed shot into the top corner from all of 25 yards for his third of the season.

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New boss Paul Clement gives instructions from the touchline.

Reading, though, soon took their eye off the ball as their own net began to lead a charmed life.

Rangers could easily have levelled a minute after falling behind, but Conor Washington dragged his shot wide from 10 yards out when unmarked.

Then three minutes later Mannone flapped at a free-kick before Paul Smyth volleyed over an unguarded net.

Royals regrouped and began playing more decent stuff and with an urgency that was often lacking during the latter days of Stam’s reign.

But Liam Moore needed to be at his very best when standing up tall to block Wszolek’s effort on the half-hour mark, and five minutes later Chris Gunter did exactly the same to thwart Luke Freeman.

But the visitors finished the half strongly as Joel Lynch’s cross flashed across the face of Mannone’s goal but just too far for Washington to convert.

Then three minutes before the break they had a goal disallowed to add to their frustration.

A corner fell to Freeman outside the area and the QPR midfielder drilled a shot into the corner, but the ball took a slight deflection off Lynch in an offside position.

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John Swift holds the ball up against QPR.

Royals would have been relieved to hear the half-time whistle and they were more organised after the break.

Josh Scowen skied a free-kick into the stands for the visitors, but some superb Swift deliveries from set-pieces nearly brought their reward, but for some desperate defending from Holloway’s men.

Yet they almost drew level in the 64th minute when substitute Matt Smith headed Bidwell’s cross an inch wide of the far post with Mannone rooted to the spot.

Three minutes later Mannone came to his side’s rescue by tipping Smyth’s 20-yard rocket over the crossbar with Royals living dangerously.

Holloway went for broke and threw on all his attacking options with 16 minutes to go with Eberechi Eze and Massimo Luongo replacing Smyth and Jordan Cousins.

And moments later Eze’s shot from 25-yards skidded narrowly wide to Mannone’s relief.

They were nervy times for the home faithful, and it soon got worse when Kermorgant was sent off for two bookings in the space of 10 minutes.

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Chris Martin is challenged by QPR's Joel Lynch.

The Frenchman replaced Martin on 61 minutes, was booked for preventing a quick free-kick in the 70th minute then received a second yellow card for a bad foul on Darnell Furlong in the 80th minute to leave Royals a man short for the closing stages.

And just when the finishing line was in sight, Royals conceded a soft penalty in the 90th minute when Dave Edwards tripped Wszolek as he was running away from goal.

But there was one more twist in this extraordinary match as Mannone beat away Bidwell’s spot-kick to send the home fans into raptures.

Even then Royals were forced to dig even deeper and defend a couple of last-gasp corner which they managed to scramble away before Darren Coote blew the full-time whistle.

Such was the relief among the Reading players they stayed out for several minutes to applaud the fans and let the felling of a rare home victory – and a vital three points – sink in before the preparations begin for Tuesday night’s trip to Aston Villa (7.45pm ko).

Reading FC: Mannone, Gunter (c), Ilori, Moore, Blackett, Van den Berg (Bacuna 55), Edwards, Swift (Evans 84), Aluko, Barrow, Martin (Kermorgant 61). Subs not used: Jaakkola, Holmes, Clement, Smith. Booked: Martin 21, Kermorgant 70, 81. Red card: Kermorgant 81.

QPR: Smithies, Furlong, Onuoha ©, Lynch, Freeman, Cousins (Loungo 74), Washington (Smith 58),  Scowen, Wszolek, Smyth (Eze 74). Subs not used: Ingram, Manning, Robinson, Sylla. Booked: Bidwell 57, Freeman 69.

Referee: Darren Coote.

Attendance: 20,273 (QPR 3,243).