Despite Newcastle losing their opening two fixtures, there was no doubting that this would be a massive test for Reading. It was almost an uphill battle five minutes in when Dwight Gayle bundled the ball into the net, but his Superman punch into the net was eventually spotted by the officials and the goal was disallowed. But twenty minutes in, the goal came - Matt Ritchie's free kick rebounded in the box to Isaac Hayden, who fired low past Ali Al-Habsi.
The Royals slowly grew into the game and started to carve out chances of their own. Roy Beerens came close as he hit the bar with a wonderful curling effort from the corner of the box, but on the stroke of half-time parity was restored. John Swift was felled in the box by Ciaran Clark, and Garath McCleary sent Matz Sels the wrong way to make it 1-1.
Unfortunately that euphoria was wiped out quickly after the half-time break, as Chris Gunter was booked for his part in a grappling incident which saw a penalty awarded to the Magpies, Ritchie duly stepping up and firing past Al-Habsi who couldn't quite reach his powerful effort.
The heads didn't drop for Reading though - Danny Williams had the ball in the back of the net but Roy Beerens had touched the ball in an offside position in the build-up. Despite pushing for that second equaliser, it was the Magpies who got the goal to decide the match, Gayle curling home a free-kick from 25 yards. He'd add a second in the 90th minute, tapping in to add barely-deserved gloss to the victory.
A 4-1 defeat for the Royals - not a result that was unexpected, but the scoreline didn't at all reflect Reading's part in the match; unfortunately a combination of luck and class conspired against Reading on Wednesday night. It doesn't get any easier for Jaap Stam, as we host Brighton on Saturday. We'll have plenty more, including a full match report and analysis, later in the week.