It might have been a nerve jangling afternoon for Brendan Rodgers but not in his most optimistic wishes could he have hoped for a better start.
His backroom staff were still sorting themselves out in the dugout when Polish striker Grzegorz Rasiak climbed at the far post to head the ball in from close range.
It was Rasiak's name on the scoresheet, but the credit had to go to Jobi McAnuff for his surging run which was finished by the perfect cross.
Chris Coleman had named four defenders under 23 and it showed. Reading could well have added to their lead and really only had themselves to blame for not doing so.
Gylfi Sigurdsson shot wide just three minutes later, Ryan Bertrand saw an excellent run end with a save from Dimi Konstantopoulos before Simon Church failed to hit the target.
Slowly Coventry began to get some sort of hold on the game and could well have pulled level.
Reading did not look comfortable with anything thrown into their area and Coventry were quick to realise it.
A series of long throws from Aron Gunnarsson and corners from Michael McIndoe tested them. Freddy Eastwood had one hooked shot saved, Gunnarsson blasted over and Ben Turner saw his close-range effort well blocked by a defender.
But they couldn't make it count and after the break, Reading issued the perfect response.
Nine minutes after the interval, Martin Cranie's rather aimless defensive header fell to McAnuff and he blasted a stunning shot into the top corner of the net.
That looked to be it, but Coleman brought on Leon Best in the 57th minute and the game suddenly changed. Jack Cork hit the bar when Adam Federici pushed his volley away from goal and the keeper then made a very good save to deny Clinton Morrison who had been put through by Best.
But in the 63rd minute, Eastwood managed to find the net when he let fly with a low 25-yard effort which scorched into the net.
That looked to be enough for Coventry to launch a comeback but their hopes were dashed in the 71st minute when Rasiak relieved the pressure by poking the ball over the line after it rebounded off a post.