Callum Connolly's early strike was enough for Blackpool to inflict defeat on Reading in the opening day of the Championship.

A match dominated by the visitors for large spells, the hosts held on to ensure the Royals were winless in more than a decade of league action at Bloomfield Road.

Four stars made their Reading debuts at Bloomfield Road, with Joe Lumley; Jeff Hendrick; Nesta Guinness-Walker and Tyrese Fornah starting for Paul Ince’s side.

Shane Long, to the delight of the travelling supporters, made his second debut after more than a decade away.

It took just two minutes for the hosts to test debutant Lumley, with a cross swung in from the left, which deflected off a Tangerine shirt and out for a Royals throw. However, this was to be a sign of what was to come in the early knockings as Michael Appleton’s side drummed home the advantage of having hordes of supporters baying for blood behind each net. Bowler went close on five minutes, forcing Lumley into a strong save, and he did so again on 10 minutes, only for the rebound to be smashed in by Connolly and the lead snatched by side from the North-West.

Tom Ince came close to levelling, with the midfielder picking the ball up in his own half and driving a strike over the bar, along with a deflection. Ovie Ejaria did similar, finding Hendrick whose threaded pass to Yakou Meite was gathered by Dan Grimshaw in the opposite net. Tom Holmes found the same space above the goal shortly after, firing a strike high after a succession of corners were recycled.

Fighting their way back into the game, the first half always had an air of control from Blackpool as a relatively new team were taking time to gel and adjust to one another.

The spirit and tenacity continued into the second period, but they lacked flair. It could’ve been game over before the second half had a chance to get going as Bowler cut in and curled a shot onto the post within just 10 minutes. But the clip of the woodwork seemed to spark something in the Royals players as it was all them for most of the remaining 35 minutes. Playing balls up to Meite and building, wingers were busy firing crosses across the box, but it just was not falling to anyone in blue and white.

The introduction of Long lifted spirits off the field but failed to drag the ball over the goal line.

Finishing the game on top, Ince’s men begin the season with defeat despite a positive performance, with the visit of Cardiff City next up on Saturday.