READING FC’S first pre-season outing ended in a disappointing defeat as they lost 2-1 against non-league opposition Eastleigh FC.

Royals were behind in the first-half after their defence was carved open too easily for Paul McCallum to slot past Anssi Jaakola.

Eleven changes at half-time saw a brighter display in the second period and Royals looked to have rescued themselves through a late Leandro Bacuna goal.

But Eastleigh refused to go down without a fight and Reading’s poor defending was punished by Ben Williamson with 86 minutes gone.

New signings Andy Yiadom and David Meyler were handed their first chance to impress Paul Clement as they made the starting XI Silverlake Stadium.

Sam Smith missed the trip through injury and Yann Kermorgant also missed out, meaning there was a place on the bench for young Danny Loader.

Yakou Meite, who returned from a season-long loan in France started up-front while there was also a place in the matchday squad for Callum Harriott, who has been out of action since December 2016.

A new-look Royals dominated possession in the opening stages but struggled to create any goal-scoring chances.

The hosts almost carved an opener with 10 minutes played when a long-distance drive sailed marginally wide of Jaakola’s far-post.

And Reading’s dominance was dramatically cut short against the run of play when Mark Yeates slipped in Paul McCallum to slot past Jaakola after 14 minutes on the clock.

Modou Barrow thought he had levelled the scoreline for Reading moments later when he pounced on a neat John Swift pass, but his effort was chalked off for offside.

Liam Kelly’s inch-perfect cross-field pass to Chris Gunter nearly fashioned a chance for Royals, but Meite’s shot from inside the box was well blocked by a defender.

Sone Aluko picked out fleet-footed Meite inside the box with 27 minutes gone but the Frenchman was well denied by Mark Childs.

Pace-merchant Barrow fashioned himself another chance shortly after when he darted beyond two Eastleigh defenders before crashing a shot against Childs’ upright.

Aluko, who came under fire for much of last season, then had his head in his hands with 40 minutes gone when his long-range drive flew both high and wide of the goal.

Vice-skipper Gunter linked up well with Barrow on the left-hand side and a neat one-two in the box almost created a golden opportunity for an equaliser, but for a late Eastleigh block.

Seconds later, Barrow burst through again but his left-footed drive drifted just wide of the post just seconds before the half-time whistle.

Boss Clement made 11 changes at the break with the likes of Harriott, Loader, Andy Rinomhota and Tyler Blackett all entering the fray.

George Evans filled in as a make-shift centre-back while Andy Rinomhota replaced Yiadom in the right-back position.

Teenager Loader led Royals in attack while Harriott and Adrian Popa, who recently returned from a loan spell in Saudi Arabia, started on the wings.

Popa was screaming for a penalty within seconds of the re-start when the ball looked to have come off of a defender’s arm inside the box, but the referee waved his protests away.

Young Rinomhota looked lively down the right and nearly fashioned a chance when his looping cross fell just behind the on-rushing Dave Edwards.

The hosts thought they had doubled their lead when a fizzed-in cross from the left-hand side fell just inches away from Chris Zebroski.

Clement looked infuriated from the sidelines as Royals continually struggled to carve out any clear-cut opportunities at Silverlake Stadium.

Harriott squandered a gilt-edged opportunity midway through the second half when he missed a free header following a delightful Rinomhota cross.

Royals followed Clement’s instructions though and soon ramped up the tempo as Welshman Edwards broke through one-on-one with the keeper, only to be denied.

Teenager loader struck the post after Harriott’s wicked delivery into the box after 78 minutes.

But Royals finally got themselves back in the game when Leandro Bacuna’s low strike from inside the box crashed off of the far-post and trickled across Childs’ goal line.

Clement’s side began to make the most of a tiring Eastleigh outfit and nearly doubled their lead when Rinomhota’s cross was hooked away from within the six-yard area.

But Reading’s hard work was undone when their defence was carved open to allow Ben Williamson to score a tame header after Vito Mannone fumbled the initial strike.

Reading FC: Jaakola (Mannone,45), Yiadom (Blackett,45), Gunter (Bacuna,45), Meyler (Edwards,45), McShane (Ilori,45), Moore (Rinomhota,45), Aluko,(Popa,45) Kelly (Evans,45), Meite (Loader, 45), Swift (Clement,45), Barrow (Harriott, 45)

Subs not used: Ward