Championship: Reading 1 QPR 0
PUBLISHED: 19:52 30 March 2018 | UPDATED: 19:52 30 March 2018
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Jake Bidwell saw a stoppage-time penalty saved as QPR’s four-match unbeaten run in March came to an end at Reading, where new Royals manager Paul Clement made a winning start as his 10-man side eased their Championship relegation fears.
Sone Aluko’s fine individual goal in the first half secured the Royals’ first victory in 10 matches, moving them six points clear of the bottom three.
Although QPR dominated much of the game, they failed to take advantage of a series of chances – even during the last nine minutes after Reading had substitute Yann Kermorgant sent off for a second bookable offence.
And deep into stoppage time, Reading goalkeeper Vito Mannone saved a penalty from QPR defender Bidwell.
Clement was appointed last Friday, signing a three-year contract to replace Jaap Stam, who left the club by mutual consent.
It was Clement’s first job since being sacked by Swansea in December and in the driving rain, which made the surface greasy, Reading survived a scare in the opening moments.
Mannone slipped over when attempting to make a clearance but was fortunate that no QPR player could take advantage of the loose ball.
Reading made much of the early running, with winger Aluko often to the fore and he saw his 20-yard free-kick deflected behind, then set up Tyler Blackett for a long-range effort that drifted wide.
But Aluko got it right in the 13th minute, giving Reading the lead with his third goal of the season as a mazy run from near the halfway line ended with an explosive drive that flashed past QPR keeper Alex Smithies.
The visitors responded well and twice went close to equalising as Conor Washington volleyed wide, after good work by Pawel Wszolek, and Paul Smyth was similarly off target after a poor punch by Mannone.
Although QPR controlled much of the remainder of the first half, Reading held firm at the back.
Joel Lynch did touch home a Luke Freeman drive, wrong footing Mannone, but was deemed to be offside.
Reading proved the more enterprising at the start of the second half and briefly threatened, when Blackett’s far-post header from a John Swift corner was deflected behind.
But QPR finished strongly, with substitute Matt Smith nodding over from a Bidwell cross and Smyth forcing a superb fingertip save from Mannone.
Kermorgant was sent off for a clumsy foul on Darnell Furlong, his second yellow in an 11-minute spell after coming on in the 62nd minute.
In stoppage time, QPR gained a penalty when Dave Edwards foolishly lunged in on Wszolek.
But Mannone made a fine save to keep out Bidwell’s well-struck spot-kick to secure Reading’s much-needed win.
QPR: Smithies, Furlong, Onuoha, Lynch, Bidwell, Cousins (Luongo 74), Scowen, Smyth (Eze 74), Freeman, Wzzolek, Washington (Smith 58). Unused subs: Ingram, Manning, Robinson, Sylla.