Preston North End 1-0 Reading - 19-Aug-2017 : Match Report

19 August 2017
Jordan Hugill boosts Preston to second win of season

Jordan Hugill's first-half strike was enough to earn Preston their second win of the season as Reading fell 1-0 at Deepdale.

Alex Neil's side missed a catalogue of chances to build on that lead but were never seriously tested by the Royals.

Preston have now won four of their last five meetings with Reading and have lost just one of their last 13 home league games.

The hosts came close to opening the scoring after eight minutes when Josh Harrop's corner was flicked on at the near post and came to centre-back Ben Davies, who guided a volley just over from 12 yards out.

And they nearly took the lead again two minutes later when Ben Pearson, back from suspension, surged through the heart of the Reading defence and poked a shot at goal only to be denied by a smart save from Vito Mannone.

It took just 11 minutes for Pearson, who was sent off against Leeds and picked up 16 yellow cards last season, to enter the book again as he brought down Leandro Bacuna.

Preston deservedly took the lead after 22 minutes. Tom Barkhuizen's cross from the left was brilliantly attacked by Sean Maguire, whose header put it on a plate for Hugill to control on his chest before hammering home from six yards.

Reading were forced to make two first-half substitutions and the second, Joseph Mendes, had Reading's first chance within a minute of his arrival. He met Pelle Clement's free-kick after 35 minutes but his glancing header was well held by Chris Maxwell.

On the stroke of half-time, Preston should have doubled their lead on the break but Mannone parried Maguire's strike before Barkhuizen curled over from 18 yards.

And Barkhuizen threatened again shortly after the break, picking the ball up 20 yards out and firing low to Mannone's right, but the former Arsenal keeper pushed it wide.

Reading had conceded 15 goals in their last five away league games prior to this match and were cut apart by Preston again on 55 minutes as Maguire put Barkhuizen through before Hugill lashed wide from 12 yards.

Jaap Stam's side were struggling to hang on as Maguire and Daniel Johnson both had great chances inside the Reading box on 65 minutes, but last-ditch blocks kept Preston out.

Reading pushed in the closing stages, launching several balls into the box, but they failed to force a save from Maxwell as Preston secured back-to-back home wins.

Source: PA