The FA Cup Third Round banana skin was avoided at the Lamex Stadium, but it needed a workman-like performance from the Royals to deny Stevenage an upset and ensure Reading's name remains in the hat for the Fourth Round draw on Monday.
"We needed to dig in deep, work hard to not concede and look to come out and score that goal," Royals boss Jaap Stam began.
"Coming out, on the ball, we could have shown more quality. But we showed good work rate in defence, kept a clean sheet and we're still in the cup.
"We knew from the start they were going to be making it difficult for us by playing balls up front, winning second balls, playing direct and trying to chase us.
"And the oppsotion worked very hard and they will make it difficult for a lot of teams if they play like that week in, week out.
"A lower league team, when they play at home, they want to get the result. They put a lot of effort into it - and we had to match them or work even harder, and show some quality on the ball when you go forward. But even that is difficult sometimes - when the ball keeps on going up in the air it's difficult to control the game.
"They played quite direct on a difficult pitch, so we had to get stuck in and work hard. In FA Cup football, you know anything can happen, but now we need to play again and hopefully we can get the result back at home.
"And another game isn't a problem - we enjoy playing games. And we have been playing a lot of games in a short space of time so one extra game won't be an issue.
"And we're still in it. So although we haven't got the win we wanted, there is no damage done."