Reading FC Match Report: 2020/2021 Season - Championship


Reading: --
Preston: Scott Sinclair (64), Emil Ris Jakobsen (68), Brad Potts (90)

Reading suffered their second successive defeat against a feisty Preston side who have now won four away games in a row. The three goal margin of victory flattered North End but Reading only have themselves to blame for this disappointing result. Had Lucas Joao taken one of the two gilt-edged second half chances which came his way before Preston’s opening goal, it might have been a very different story. It was an indifferent performance from the Royals and Preston took full advantage. After taking the lead on sixty-four minutes they added two further goals on the break with long balls forward after winning possession deep in their own half. Reading are still three points clear at the top of the league but they will need to improve quickly if they are to stay there.

With Moore, currently in outstanding form, missing due to an injury picked up at Coventry, Reading looked less secure at the back. Preston pressed hard from the kick off, and Reading were sloppy in their passing and looked uncomfortable playing out from the back. Unable to retain possession, Reading elected to play long balls out from the back. Although Joao is strong in the air, Yakou Meite was missed up front and the ball just kept coming back. Reading struggled gain a foothold in the game for over twenty minutes. In spite of their dominance the visitors failed to register a shot on target in that period. Midway through half Reading managed to string some passes together and came closest to opening the scoring. The busy Aluko found Joao with an excellent cross who drew a very good save from Rudd with a well-directed improvised header. Referee John Brooks lacked authority and was put under pressure by the Preston players allowing some fairly obvious fouls go unpunished as Reading began to mount some pressure in the Preston defence. (Later this resulted in losing control of the game.) A moment of brilliant individual skill enabled Aluko to create a chance for himself in the six yard box. His shot was saved by Rudd although I am not too sure how much the Preston ‘Keeper knew about it.

Two minutes in to the second half McIntyre, caught the wrong side of Jakobsen, conceded a penalty when he slipped and clattered into the Preston striker. It was clumsy challenge rather than calculated. Johnson tried to play mind games with the penalty which backfired badly for him. After crouching over the ball and staring at Raphael for a long time he walked away before making an elaborate skipping run up and scuffing his feeble shot at Raphael’s legs. It was a real let off for Reading. The game was now far more open as Reading looked menacing going forward and began to show the form which took them to the top of the league. Olise shot over after a slick move had cut through the Preston midfield. Joao won the ball on the half way line and raced through unchallenged but crucially delayed his shot and was denied by a well-timed last ditch tackle. A minute later an Esteves cross found Joao at the far post but his header was poorly timed and flashed past the post. As so often happens when a team misses good chances to take the lead, they are punished. On this occasion punishment came from a ball poked through the Reading defence by Rafferty to Sinclair who, looking suspiciously offside, slid the ball past Raphael.

Reading went at Preston and looked likely to find an equaliser but four minutes later fell further behind when Jacobsen beat McIntyre to a route one ball from Ledson. To be fair to McIntyre he was deceived by an unfavourable bounce which resulted in the ball falling kindly for the Preston striker before firing past Raphael. Referee Brooks had a poor game allowing too much foul play to go unpunished. A scuffle broke out in the centre of the pitch when Browne ran off with ball after Reading had been awarded a free kick. Sameda ran after him a and cuffed him around the back of the head. Sameda went unpunished and Browne was booked. Reading were now chasing the game and McIntyre completed a miserable afternoon for himself and Reading when he was too slow to recover from another long ball over the top and Barkhuizen raced a way to set up Potts with a tap in for Preston’s third.

John Wells

This Championship game took place 268 days ago in the 2020/2021 season.