John Swift strike earns Jaap Stam winning start as Reading boss against Preston
Jaap Stam made an encouraging start as Reading manager as his side registered a 1-0 Sky Bet Championship victory over Preston at the Madejski Stadium.
Reading could have won more comfortably, but were let down by wayward and had to settle for one goal - from former Chelsea midfielder John Swift in the first half - to secure the win.
Stam was appointed to his first managerial post in June, replacing the sacked Brian McDermott.
The former Manchester United, AC Milan and Holland centre-back has been busy since his arrival, signing eight players, but lost influential midfielder Oliver Norwood, who played for Northern Ireland at Euro 2016, to Championship rivals Brighton in midweek.
Preston boss Simon Grayson had also enjoyed a fruitful summer, bringing in seven new players, and saw his squad produce an unbeaten pre-season campaign, with four wins and two draws.
The hosts, who finished a disappointing 17th last term, made the early running, with debutant Roy Beerens swinging at - and missing - a fine cross from Garath McCleary.
Preston, 11th last season, saw little possession in the early stages and, after a brief spell of pressure going forward, were forced to defend grimly.
Reading upped the tempo, especially on the flanks. Danny Williams released Chris Gunter and, after a dummy from Deniss Rakels, Swift - another home debutant - scuffed his shot wide.
Preston's five-at-the-back formation was struggling to contain Reading. Rakels headed wide from a Beerens cross and McCleary fired a weak effort at goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard.
The visitors' resistance ended in the 35th minute, courtesy of a slick move clearly designed on the training pitch.
McCleary drilled a low corner into the area and Swift, rushing in unchecked, thumped home a superb first-time effort past Lindegaard.
After conceding 82 per cent possession in the first half, Preston had to improve after the break - and they did.
Daniel Johnson scampered away down the left wing and cut to the byline but was denied by a strong block from Joey van den Berg.
Van den Berg then erred - almost in costly fashion - when playing a poor ball out of defence.
Johnson latched on to it and ran through alone. But, although his fierce shot was straight and true, the previously quiet Reading goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi made an agile save.
Reading lacked the intensity of their first half but should have increased their lead in the 65th minute.
Swift played in a perfect pass from the right flank for Rakels, but his resultant shot was tame and straight at the diving body of Lindegaard.
Swift twice more had half-chances, only to squander them, and Preston defender Paul Huntington almost sliced a cross from Callum Harriott into his own net.
But Reading were good value for the win.