Matt Miazga scored a last-gasp winner for Reading, with virtually the last touch of the game at the Madejski Stadium.
It looked like the game was heading to a goalless draw, which would have been a fair result, until the American struck from inside the box in the seventh minute of stoppage time.
Manager Alex Neil had made two changes to the side that had defeated Barnsley in the last game before the international break; returning full backs Darnell Fisher and Andrew Hughes replacing Alan Browne and Joe Rafferty in the starting XI.
And it was Hughes who created the first opening, less than three minutes, in, his deep cross from the left finding the chest of Tom Barkhuizen at the back post, but the ball didn’t fall at the forward’s feet, it went through to Rafael Cabral in the Reading goal.
The hosts had a chance on 17 minutes and Mark Bowen’s new man were awarded a free kick 25 yards out after David Nugent was adjudged to have fouled Andy Yiadom. Former Chelsea midfielder John Swift whipped in a shot, but Declan Rudd got two hands to the effort to push it wide.
Just after the half’s mid-point a brilliant PNE move saw Nugent sending Barkhuizen down the right, into the box, but after dragging the ball through the legs of Matt Miazga, the No.29 couldn’t make a good connection on the shot which rolled through to the goalkeeper.
Another excellent passing move produced a chance five minutes into the second period as the ball was worked out to Fisher on the right, who delivered a cross deep to the back post where Nugent rose and headed powerfully, but straight into the arms of Cabral, anywhere but at the keeper and it would have been a goal.
Just before the hour mark Alan Browne and Josh Harrop replaced Nugent and Gallagher for the Lilywhites, with Maguire moving into the central striking role, with Jayden Stockley added ten minutes later.
Seven minutes of stoppages were added with a number of head injuries suffered during the second half and it began with a Hughes ball from the left finding Browne running in at the back post, but he had to stretch to get in a shot and it found the outside of the right-hand post.
But with virtually the last touch of the game the home side grabbed the points. A free kick was fired into the box, which was initially saved by Declan Rudd, but it came out to Miazga, who fired a half-volley into the bottom left-hand corner of the goal.
Reading line-up: Cabral, Morrison, Miazga, Moore (c), Swift, Obita, Ejaria, Yiadom, Meïté (Loader, 70), Pelé (Adam, 84), Puşcaş (Baldock, 70). Subs not used: Walker, McIntyre, Blackett, Richards.
PNE line-up: Rudd, Fisher, Hughes, Pearson, Bauer, Davies, Barkhuizen (Stockley, 69), Gallagher (c) (Browne, 58), Nugent (Harrop, 58), Johnson, Maguire. Subs not used: Ripley, Rafferty, Ledsson, Potts.
Attendance: 14,135 (1,012 PNE fans)
Referee: Mr D Whitestone