QPR suffered a Boxing Day defeat at Reading, going down to a stunning second-half strike from John Swift.
In a closely-fought affair, Swift’s effort from the edge of the area proved to be the difference between the two sides.
It was a tough result to take for Mark Warburton’s men as they saw Ebere Eze have an effort cleared off the line while substitute Ilias Chair struck the underside of the crossbar at the Madejski Stadium. In the 89th minute, Reading keeper Rafael Cabral somehow clawed Hugill's close-range strike to safety.
Warburton made one change from the side that drew 2-2 with Charlton five days ago, bringing in Bright Osayi-Samuel for Nahki Wells, who took up a place on the bench.
Joe Lumley began between the sticks behind a back four, from left to right, of Ryan Manning, Grant Hall, Toni Leistner and Todd Kane.
Geoff Cameron and Luke Amos sat in front of the back four while the trio of Osayi-Samuel, Ebere Eze and Marc Pugh took up more advanced positions.
Jordan Hugill led the line for Rangers.
The Royals had taken 18 points from 11 games under Mark Bowen prior to this game, recording an impressive 3-0 win over Derby County on their last outing.
It’s a run of results which has lifted them out of the relegation zone and it was the hosts who enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the opening stages.
After some neat build-up play, they created the first chance of the evening on eight minutes when Ovie Ejaria forced a fine save from Joe Lumley before John Swift’s follow-up produced another excellent stop from the Rangers keeper.
Chris Gunter was next to go close but his curled effort from the edge of the box sailed over the crossbar.
On 32 minutes Hugill headed wide following good work down the right by Osayi-Samuel before Kane centred.
It came at a time where QPR were beginning to enjoy their own sustained spells of possession but, in truth, chances were at a premium at both ends of the pitch.
But just a minute later, Hugill thought he had netted the opener when he latched onto Osayi-Samuel’s cross from the right but the R’s striker was adjudged offside by the referee’s assistant.
Rangers continued on the front foot and on 39 minutes, Hall came agonisingly close when he got on the end of Eze’s corner from the right but the skipper’s header from eight yards bounced just wide of the upright.
Moments later, an impressive run from Eze was brought to an abrupt end in the box by Reading’s Liam Moore but the referee was quick to wave away visiting appeals for a penalty.
Warburton’s men certainly finished the first half the stronger of the two sides but seven minutes after the restart, the hosts were ahead when John Swift fired a stunning strike beyond Lumley from 20 yards.
The ball fell to the Reading midfielder following a corner from the left and he took his chance in some style.
It was a huge blow for the R’s and Warburton wasted little time as he looked to get his side back in the game, replacing Pugh with Ilias Chair.
Lucas Joao went close to doubling the host’s lead in the 62nd minute but could only direct his close-range header over the crossbar, much to his own dismay.
Moments later, Eze and Osayi-Samuel combined brilliantly in the Reading box, with the former sliding the ball beyond goalkeeper Rafael Cabral, but Reading defender Moore was in the right place to hack the ball clear.
Rangers were becoming a growing threat in the final third of the pitch but were grateful to Lumley for an excellent save to deny Joao in the 65th minute as he palmed the ball to safety.
Matt Smith, on loan from Manchester City, replaced Cameron with just over 20 minutes remaining as the R’s battled to get back on level terms.
And they nearly did so with an incredible strike from Chair who advanced towards the edge of the box before seeing his curled effort crash down off the underside of the crossbar. Hugill pounced on the rebound but his effort was parried to safety by Cabral.
Wells came on for the final ten minutes at the expense of Osayi-Samuel and in the final moments Hugill looked certain to grab a leveller but Royals stopper Cabral pulled off a miraculous stop to deny him.
Rangers were camped in the Reading half for the final stages but were somehow unable to find what would have been a deserved equaliser.