Championship
PrestonPreston North End0ReadingReading2

Preston North End 0-2 Reading: Lilywhites slip out of play-off places

Lucas Joao celebrates scoring for Reading
Lucas Joao has now scored six goals in 18 appearances in the Championship for Reading this season

Reading shocked promotion-chasing Preston North End with two goals in four first-half minutes to secure victory at Deepdale.

John Swift opened the scoring for the visitors, placing Tyler Blackett's cut-back beyond Preston goalkeeper Declan Rudd.

And four minutes later Blackett was on hand again, playing in Lucas Joao to calmly doubled the Royals' lead.

Alex Neil's side pushed hard for a reply but were repeatedly denied by Royals keeper Rafael Cabral as they succumbed to their first defeat in five games.

Preston had lost their four previous league matches against Reading going into the fixture, but nearly went ahead after seven minutes with Brad Potts seeing his first-time shot saved by Cabral.

Mark Bowen's Royals seized the initiative, though, with their double strike against the run of play and were nearly 3-0 up when Joao's tap-in was flagged for offside after Oviemuno Ejaria had struck a long-range effort against the post.

Billy Bodin nearly reduced the deficit either side of half-time, first smashing a volley over the bar from Andrew Hughes' tantalising cross and then forcing Cabral into a stunning save from 25 yards in the 47th minute.

Cabral was kept busy, saving Tom Clarke's powerful header with his feet, and keeping out a Sean Maguire header from a Paul Gallagher cross late-on.

The result meant Preston dropped out of the play-off places on goal difference, while Reading rose to 14th in the Championship table.

Preston North End manager Alex Neil said:

"The only difficulty that we had was that we couldn't score.

"I think if you look at the statistics and the way the game was played it was a smash and grab. They have come here and made themselves hard to beat.

"We probably created more chances today than any of the games that we have played at home."

Reading boss Mark Bowen said:

"I'm delighted, it's the fourth clean sheet in a row.

"It's the third win in a row, and the manner of it is good, coming to a really difficult place with the best defensive record in this league. I thought the goals we scored were through really slick, crisp passing.

"But these players are a group of players who are ready to work and push up this table."

Line-ups

Preston

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 1Rudd
  • 5ClarkeSubstituted forStockleyat 69'minutes
  • 23Huntington
  • 6Davies
  • 16Hughes
  • 4Pearson
  • 8Browne
  • 39Bodin
  • 44PottsSubstituted forGallagherat 60'minutes
  • 10HarropSubstituted forBarkhuizenat 60'minutes
  • 24Maguire

Substitutes

  • 2Fisher
  • 7Bayliss
  • 12Gallagher
  • 18Ledson
  • 20Stockley
  • 25Ripley
  • 29Barkhuizen

Reading

Formation 4-3-3

  • 33Cabral Barbosa
  • 2Gunter
  • 4Morrison
  • 6Moore
  • 24Blackett
  • 10SwiftSubstituted forMcClearyat 74'minutes
  • 26AdamSubstituted forRinomhotaat 65'minutes
  • 29Tuncará Gomes
  • 19MeiteSubstituted forObitaat 83'minutes
  • 31Lucas João
  • 14Ejaria

Substitutes

  • 1Walker
  • 5Miazga
  • 8Rinomhota
  • 11Obita
  • 12McCleary
  • 18Boyé
  • 21Olise
Referee:
Jarred Gillett
Attendance:
13,680

Match Stats

Home TeamPrestonAway TeamReading
Possession
Home73%
Away27%
Shots
Home21
Away12
Shots on Target
Home5
Away3
Corners
Home8
Away1
Fouls
Home12
Away5

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Preston North End 0, Reading 2.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Preston North End 0, Reading 2.

  3. Post update

    Attempt missed. Jayden Stockley (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Ben Davies.

  4. Post update

    Attempt missed. Tom Barkhuizen (Preston North End) left footed shot from outside the box is high and wide to the left following a corner.

  5. Post update

    Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Liam Moore.

  6. Post update

    Attempt blocked. Sean Maguire (Preston North End) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked. Assisted by Tom Barkhuizen with a cross.

  7. Post update

    Offside, Reading. Jordan Obita tries a through ball, but Lucas João is caught offside.

  8. Post update

    Foul by Jayden Stockley (Preston North End).

  9. Post update

    Michael Morrison (Reading) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  10. Post update

    Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Jordan Obita.

  11. Post update

    Foul by Billy Bodin (Preston North End).

  12. Post update

    Andy Rinomhota (Reading) wins a free kick on the right wing.

  13. Post update

    Attempt saved. Sean Maguire (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Paul Gallagher.

  14. Post update

    Hand ball by Jayden Stockley (Preston North End).

  15. Substitution

    Substitution, Reading. Jordan Obita replaces Yakou Meite.

  16. Post update

    Attempt missed. Ben Davies (Preston North End) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Paul Gallagher with a cross following a corner.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Chris Gunter.

  18. Substitution

    Substitution, Reading. Garath McCleary replaces John Swift.

  19. Post update

    Hand ball by Sean Maguire (Preston North End).

  20. Post update

    Corner, Preston North End. Conceded by Liam Moore.