Reading beat Preston North End 2-1 leaving the Lilywhites deep in relegation trouble.Advertisement
The hosts took the lead after 20 minutes through a Jimmy Kebe header but PNE cancelled it out when Reading’s goalkeeper Alex McCarthy scored an own goal.
From that moment on the Royals controlled the game and substitute Hal Robson – Kanu got the winner 10 minutes from time.
PNE made one change from the side that beat Swansea with Adam Barton coming in for the injured Ricardo Gardner.
Midfielder Barry Nicholson was forced to fill in at right back while stand in captain Billy Jones moved to left back.
The game started off slowly and neither side looked like scoring but Reading broke the deadlock with the first chance of the match.
Iain Turner missed a cross from Reading’s top scorer Shane Long and Kebe was on hand to head home from close range at the back post.
PNE finally woke up after the goal, Adam Barton and Keith Treacy both had half chances for North End but couldn’t find the equaliser.
At half time with just one shot on goal it was obvious that PNE had to change something and they switched to a 4-4-2 formation with Eddie Johnson up front alongside Hume.
The tactical change worked well and the Lilywhites came into the game. Just 10 minutes into the second half PNE got back on level terms.
A Keith Treacy free kick found the head of Johnson but the American’s header hit the post. Luckily the ball hit McCarthy and rolled into the back of the net.
PNE were to enjoy more luck before the half was out.
A Jobi McAnuff corner evaded Turner and Zurab Khizanishvili hit the ball at goal. It looked to be heading in but Ian Ashbee was on the line and he cleared the danger.
The ball hit Ashbee’s hand and should have been a penalty and a red card but the referee didn’t see it.
PNE may have been beginning to think it was their night but the Royals got the goal they deserved with just 10 minutes left.
Brian McDermott put Robson–Kanu on for McAnuff and the Welsh substitute scored what turned out to be the winner with his very first touch.
The goal sapped the life from PNE and Reading came close to scoring again when Long missed a good chance when he was through one on one.
North End thought they’d grabbed an equaliser when substitute Nathan Ellington put the ball into the back of the net. But the goal was disallowed as Ellington had fouled a defender.
The Lilywhites are still eight points off the drop and need to win away to Portsmouth on Saturday.
PNE: Turner 7, Nicholson 7, Khumalo 6, Morgan 6, Jones 7, Barton 6 (Ellington 6), Ashbee 6, Carter 5, Johnson 6 (Hayes n/a), Treacy 6 (Parry 6), Hume 6. Unused subs: Lonergan, Wright, Coutts, Russell.
Reading: McCarthy 6, Griffin 6, Khizanishvili 7, Ingimarsson 6, Harte 6, Kebe 7, Tabb 6 (Leigertwood 7), Karacan 7, McAnuff 7 (Robson – Kanu 7), Howard 8 (Manset 7), Long 7. Unused subs: Andersen, Pearce, Antonio, Church.