The Royals got themselves three goals to the good through Lucas Joao (2) and John Swift, before Daniel Johnson and Cameron Archer reduced the deficit for PNE.
North End were off song for much of the afternoon, with them on the back foot from the second minute when Reading scored their first goal.
Here are the PNE player ratings from the Championship clash, Daniel Iversen the starman after making a string of saves
Andrew Hughes impressed on the left side of North End's defence.
1. Daniel Iversen 8
Without the Danish keeper’s saves, North End would have lost this game by more. Three saves came in a short spell early in the second half, while he saved well from Joao in the first. Photo: Mick Walker/Camerasport
2. Sepp van den Berg 5
Slipped below his usual standards, both at centre-back and when moved to right-back during the first half. Photo: Camerasport
3. Patrick Bauer 5
Shaky day at the back, beaten a bit too easily by Joao for the second goal. Spent the last few minutes up front as PNE pushed for a third. Photo: Mick Walker/Camerasport
4. Andrew Hughes 8
North End’s best outfield player. HUghes started on the left side of a three then looked good at left-back after the change in system. Photo: Camerasport