Reading edged into the second round of the Carabao Cup with an unconvincing 2-0 victory over League One Gillingham.
Midfielder Liam Kelly struck twice in the last 19 minutes, with only his second and third goals for the club.
Reading reached the fourth round of the competition last season, where they lost 2-0 at Arsenal, but were forced to field an inexperienced line-up due to a series of injuries.
Their side, with an average age of just under 23, created little in the opening exchanges.
But they gradually improved and Andy Rinomhota, after being released by Josh Barrett, sent a low effort skidding just wide while Sam Smith nodded over from Kelly's deep cross.
After a tame first half, Reading substitute Modou Barrow added a touch of class to proceedings, with a neat turn and shot, but his attempt flew just over the Gillingham crossbar.
As the game opened up, home goalkeeper Anssi Jaakkola saved well from a fierce Tom Eaves shot and Liam Moore wastefully nodded a free header into the arms of Gillingham keeper Thomas Holy.
The breakthrough arrived in the 71st minute when Pelle Clement fed an inside pass to Kelly for the Irishman to scoop home a fine first-time effort over the helpless Holy.
Kelly then settled it in the 86th minute with another clean strike, this time in off a post, after good work by Barrow.