By Dan King - Newcastle United Digital Editor
Reading Under-21s 4 (Ugwu 2, D'Ath, Samuel)
Newcastle United Under-21s 2 (Bigirimana pen, Armstrong)
England under-16 international Adam Armstrong scored on his Barclays Under-21 Premier League debut but Newcastle opened the new campaign with a 4-2 defeat at the Madejski Stadium.
Gozie Ugwu had fired Reading ahead inside the first ten minutes as the Royals made a bright start in front of first team boss Nigel Adkins.
But Gael Bigirimana - back in action after an extended summer break - quickly equalised from the penalty spot after Jake Cooper's handball.
It was short-lived, however, as Ugwu cut inside and finished well and it was 2-2 inside the opening 20 minutes.
After that breakneck start, there were no more goals in the first half although Jake Taylor brought a good save out of Jak Alnwick before Olivier Kemen limped off to be replaced by Brandon Miele.
Then, on the stroke of half-time, Macaulay Gillesphey blazed over the bar for Newcastle.
In the second period, Dom Samuel twice threatened for Reading and Adam Campbell came close for the visitors, then the dangerous Samuel shot just wide for the Royals.
Ugwu was unfortunate not to claim the matchball when his long-range piledriver was narrowly off target but Lawson D'Ath was on hand to score what proved to be the winner after a goalmouth scramble.
And in the dying seconds, after Henly had made a superb save to deny Jamie Sterry an equaliser, Craig Tanner and Ugwu combined to tee up Samuel to clinch it.
Reading Under-21s: Jonathan Henly, Shaun Cummings, Shane Griffin, Jake Cooper, Pierce Sweeney, Aaron Tshibola (Craig Tanner 67), Lawson D'Ath, Jake Taylor, Gozie Ugwu, Dom Samuel, Jordan Obita
Subs not used: Stuart Moore, Aaron Kuhl, Matt Partridge, Tarique Fosu
Newcastle United Under-21s: Jak Alnwick, Jamie Sterry, Remie Streete, Curtis Good, Macaulay Gillesphey, Jonathyn Quinn, Gael Bigirimana, Olivier Kemen (Brandon Miele 38, Steven Logan 71), Alex Gilliead (Tom Heardman 81), Adam Armstrong, Adam Campbell
Subs not used: Jonathan Mitchell, Macauley Booth
Photograph courtesy of Aaron Noonan