Reading 1 - 2 Preston North End: Daniel Johnson strikes to earn Preston a win at Reading



Posted Sunday, May 01, 2016 by PA

Preston secured their first Championship victory in six attempts thanks to a stoppage-time effort from Daniel Johnson in the 2-1 win at Reading.

Jermaine Beckford had given Preston a deserved lead early in the second half but Stephen Quinn equalised for Reading with four minutes left.

Johnson then struck with a low drive to give Preston all three points in the dying moments.

Neither side had won in their previous five games, which was illustrated in their mediocre mid-table positions.

Reading had at least ended a run of four successive defeats with a 1-1 draw at Queens Park Rangers last time out.

And they welcomed back defender Paul McShane and Danny Williams, who had served three-match bans for their on-pitch altercation in the 2-1 defeat at Middlesbrough.

After a subdued opening, Reading fashioned the first chance. But after good work and a penetrative pass from Williams, Deniss Rakels' powerful effort was deflected wide.

Jake Cooper then nodded home from an Oliver Norwood free kick but was clearly offside and the "goal" was rightly disallowed.

From then on, Preston dominated the half, with Ali Al-Habsi in constant action.

The Oman international kept out attempts from Paul Gallagher, Calum Woods and Joe Garner in quick succession.

Beckford should then have done better from close range, after a fine run by Johnson, but his delayed shot was blocked by the retreating Reading defence.

After an error by Cooper, who slipped over, Beckford had a clear path to goal. But his cheeky attempted chip over Al-Habsi was parried by the agile keeper and then gathered safely.

Preston continued to threaten, with Reading barely able to muster an attack of note. Woods drove just wide and Al-Habsi made as stunning save to deny Johnson.

Reading manager Brian McDermott needed to make change at half time and did so, with 17-year-old academy midfielder Josh Barrett replacing the ineffective George Evans.

It had an immediate effect, with Barrett spraying around a series of passes and at last offering Reading some imagination.

From one of Barrett's passes, Rakels found himself free in the Preston area. But he took one touch too many and Preston keeper Chris Kirkland made a good save at his near post.

However, having enjoyed their best spell of the match, Reading fell behind in the 56th minute.

It was totally avoidable, with McShane and Al-Habsi leaving Johnson's pass for each other and allowing Beckford to nip in between them to lob easily over Al-Habsi.

Reading responded brightly, with Yann Kermogant heading wide and a Barrett cross-shot just drifting wide.

Quinn levelled in the 86th minute, drilling in his first goal for the club from just outside the area, but Johnson struck as the game moved into stoppage time with a nicely placed shot to secure Preston's victory.

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