Lining up for the first time under Jaap Stam in the English Championship, the hosts set up in a typical 4-3-3 that has featured prominently in pre-season. Roy Beerens and Joey van den Berg took to the pitch as debutants, the latter as a centre-back while George Evans filled the hole left by Oli Norwood's departure in the week.
The first-half was a clear mismatch between the teams, and pleasingly it was Reading on top, although Preston had the ball in the net early on, with a handball ruling out Jermaine Beckford's strike.
It was John Swift who opened his, and Reading's, account for the campaign on the 37th minute with a tidy training ground routine, Garath McCleary rolling in a quick corner to the midfielder who placed it home. The Royals would dominate proceedings and hold a 1-0 lead, and 80% of possession, at the break.
Making changes for the second-half, the Lancastrians improved and forced Ali Al-Habsi into a couple of saves in front of a fresh face in Y26...
I stand corrected, it's just got better.. Tiger making his way up Y26! pic.twitter.com/QALXU3xJ7X— The Tilehurst End (@TheTilehurstEnd) August 6, 2016
A worrying moment for the Royals came as Jordan Obita was forced off with either cramp or a calf strain, although the silver lining was a debut for academy product Tennai Watson, the 33rd graduate to appear for the first-team on a day when the North Stand was officially unveiled as the Eamonn Dolan Stand.
Somewhat backs to the wall, the Royals nonetheless held firm and stole a march on the 2016/17 campaign with three points. In the all-important table, Reading lie 7th, just missing out on a play-off spot by virtue of the Roman alphabet.