Ten-man Stevenage shipped their first points of the League One season as they went down to Reading.

An incident-packed first half saw Nathan Thompson sent off for Stevenage after 22 minutes, the defender picking up two yellow cards, Kane Smith injured and Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan head the Royals into a stoppage-time lead.

The Reading man doubled his and his team's lead before the hour mark and they could have scored a third on a number of occasions, eventually settling for a 2-0 win.

Krisztian Hegyi was in back in goal as Steve Evans continued his heavy rotation of the goalkeeping position.

Jake Forster-Caskey and Jamie Reid, his first start of the year, were the others to come in while Taye Ashby-Hammond, Alex MacDonald and Ben Thompson dropped to the bench.

There they were joined by new signing Harrison Neal and Elliott List, his first time on the team-sheet since the opening day of last season.

There was still only six subs though, Nick Freeman and Josh March both missing altogether.

And their woes continued in the opening quarter of the game.

Nathan Thompson received his first booking on five minutes, rather harshly too when a 50-50 with Sam Hutchinson ended with the Reading man needing treatment.

The harshness factor was then doubled down on when he accidentally clipped the heels of Harvey Knibbs, the foul decreed worthy of another booking and off he went.

The problem was he was already being played in a strange right-back role, having been forced there by an injury to Kane Smith, a pull or a strain ending the former Hitchin man's afternoon.

He had been replaced by Neal, giving the Sheffield United loanee a debut, and Thompson's dismissal brought MacDonald on, Reid the man sacrificed.

All of this spurred Reading and their team of youngsters on and they had a couple of chances.

Dan Butler made a superb block to deny one effort although Mamadi Camara should have done better with the rebound, putting it straight at Hegyi.

Carl Piergianni then nicked the ball off the toes of Tyler Bindon as he prepared to shoot.

The home side did make a breakthrough four minutes into stoppage time, Ehibhatiomhan heading home from a Charlie Savage corner but the way he shook off his marker, Finley Burns, won't please the backroom staff.

And the odd thing about the lead was until the goal, Stevenage had the best four chances.

Jordan Roberts had two bites off the cherry after a superb first touch, but he put the second over the top from a good position.

It was almost deja vu on the edge of the area, his second chance there hit low and requiring a fine stop down to his right from David Button.

In between those the Royals keeper had performed a perfunctory stop to send an Aaron Pressley header onto the post and out.

The final attempt fell to Forster-Caskey as he stole in to meet a MacDonald cross unmarked.

He could only put his header from eight yards into the keeper's hands though.

There was a calm and measured chat between the Boro boss and the official as the half ended but Evans would have been required to earn his corn at the break.

His message would surely have been along the line of more of the same because the thought would have been chances will come.

He did make one alteration though, Ben Thompson coming on for Louis Thompson, but hope seemed to be extinguished when Reading doubled their lead.

Amadou Mbengue got away down the Reading right and although he was under pressure from Butler, he was able to get a shot away.

Hegyi got down to parry it away to his right but it ran loose to Ehibhatiomhan who simply stroked the ball into the empty net.

The striker almost had a third a bit later on but by that time there was a resigned look about Stevenage.

Their only real chance came to Neal but he volleyed wide with 10 minutes to go

Reading though should have wrapped up the three points with at least one more goal but Femi Azeez and Paul Mukairu both missed absolute sitters in the closing stages.

Ehibhatiomhan did put the ball in the net for what would have been his hat-trick after Hegyi had fumbled a shot.

He was offside though.

Those moments though were just small crumbs of comfort for Boro who now have a week to shake this off and come back stronger for the visit of Portsmouth on Saturday.

Match details

Stevenage: Hegyi, Butler, N.Thompson, Piergianni, Forster-Caskey, Roberts (Hannam, Smith (Neal 11), Burns, Reid (MacDonald 24), Pressley, L.Thompson (B.Thompson 46).

Sub (not used): Ashby-Hammond, List.

Booked: N.Thompson 5, 22, Reid 9, MacDonald 25, Neal 69

Sent-off: N.Thompson 22


Reading: Button, Knibbs (Azeez 38), Savage, Ehibhatiomhan, Hitchinson, Bindon, Mbengue (Elliott 72), Camara (Makairu 59), Abbey, Vickers (McIntyre 72), Carson (Yiadom 72).

Subs (not used): Boyce-Clarke, Dean.

Goals: Ehibhatiomhan 45+4, 57

Booked: Abbey 54


HT: Reading 1 Stevenage 0

Added time: 17

Referee: Anthony Backhouse (Brampton, Cumbria)

Attendance: 11,674 (including 578 from Stevenage)