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Report | Royals edge five-goal thriller to win at Deepdale

Three times Reading led and they held on to secure their first league win of the season at Preston's expense.

15 September 2018

The Royals picked up their first win of the season at Deepdale in a topsy-turvy affair that saw five goals scored! Three times Paul Clement's men led and victory was secured thanks to Leandro Bacuna's late strike

  • Baldock breaks the deadlock midway through the first half with drilled effort
  • Johnson levels with a wickedly deflected effort that wrongfoots Walker
  • Ilori bundles the ball home from close range after a good low cross from Aluko
  • Josh Earl's low drive into a crowded box is deflected home by Robinson for 2-2
  • Josh Sims comes off the bench to cross to Leandro Bacuna for the winner!

Sam Walker was named as the man between the posts for the Royals, making his league debut for Paul Clement's men at Deepdale. John Swift also returned to the eleven, while Böðvarsson was back in the squad after illness and Academy graduate Andy Rinomhota also named on the bench.

Tom Barkhuizen dragged a difficult chance wide in the second minute after a low cross from the left had squirmed across the Royals' box, but the opening ten minutes were largely uneventful as both teams took time to assess their opponents.

Walker was down well to save a skidding Callum Robinson shot at the base of his left post and the follow-up was lashed across goal but away from danger. And soon after Darnell Fisher's cross from the right was arrowed over by Barkhuizen on the turn as North End began to dominate.

At the other end, Aluko found Yiadom with a crossfield ball and the full-back cut inside, skipped past two challenges and fed Aluko once more. He controlled it but hooked a bouncing ball over the crossbar from 20 yards out.

The woodwork came to Reading's rescue with 17 minutes played; Robinson's tasty cross into the middle from the left was met by the head of Barkhuizen who beat Walker with a powerful header that cannoned into the inside of the left upright.



But somewhat against the run of the play, it was the Royals who took the lead. John Swift challenged for an aerial ball and it was allowed to drop for Swift who cushioned the ball down with his chest. He lofted a ball over the Preston back line and Baldock stole in, scurrying in on goal and drilling a shot at goal which goalkeeper Declan Rudd could only get half a glove to.

Buoyed by the goal, the Royals pressed for another. Méïté forced Rudd into a parried stop at his near post on the half hour. 

But the hosts were level courtesy of a wicked deflection. A low cross from Earl was hacked clear to Johnson who drove into a busy penalty area and it took a telling deflection off one of the bodies in the box and past a helplessly wrongfooted Walker in the Royals goal.

The home side almost had a second moments later when Gunter was dispossessed and Robinson was fed through, but his toe towards goal bobbled inches wide of the bottom right corner and wide.

Barkhuizen darted down the left and got past Ilori next, but Moore was in the right place at the right time to block his powerful shot at goal.

As we entered the last five minutes of the first half, Paul Huntington directed a difficult header too high to trouble Walker.

But Reading came close with a lovely move that saw Swift and Yiadom connect with Kelly who dummied well to go past the last man and then force a good save from Rudd with a left-footed effort from a narrowing angle. Yiadom tried to recycle it on the left but he fell to ground inside the area and was booked for simulation as referee Darren Bond waved away appeals for a penalty.

Good defending from Ilori prevented a cross from the right reaching Moult in the middle but two minutes of injury time elapsed with the scores level.

Half-time: Preston 1-1 Reading

The second half began with speculative appeals for handball as a cross from the right hit Moore's arm from close range. A follow up cross from the right was swept goalwards by Gallagher who was denied by a smart Walker save.

At the other end, Aluko scuttled in from the right side and lashed a shot over the crossbar from the edge of the Preston area.

And the Royals retook the lead with the second half only seven minutes old. Aluko's short corner to Swift was cheekily backheeled back to Aluko who was able to dribble to the byline and cut a low cross into the middle where Ilori was on hand to bundle it home from close range.



The home side made a double substitution and Walker was down well to gather in a downward Huntington header from a corner.

Just after the hour, Méïté turned his man on the left flank but his left-footed cross from the byline was cut out before it could cause too much concern in the Preston box.

The Reading wall did its job on 68 minutes as Barkhuizen arced a well-struck set piece towards goal but Méïté's head glanced it behind for a corner which was comfortably headed clear by Ilori.

A long throw from Barkhuizen caused problems in the Royals box and the ball eventually dropped for Earl whose driven effort was well saved by Walker who remained big at his near post. 

Reading broke from the subsequent corner and so nearly grabbed a third; Aluko sending Kelly away down the right and the mdifielder crossing early into the middle for Swift, but a last gasp touch from a Preston leg took it away from the Reading man and behind for a corner.

But Preston drew level with less than a quarter of an hour left. A low drive from Earl on the left side looked to be touched home by Robinson in the middle and appeals for offside against Robinson were dismissed.

But Josh Sims' first contribution after coming on was to assist a third for the visitors. Breaking through Bacuna and then Kelly, the latter fed Sims on the right side. He burst past his man to reach the byline and cross low into the middle where Bacuna was on hand to tap it past Rudd from yards out.

Gunter supplied a floated cross from the right but Preston did enough to head it clear of both Bodvarsson and Baldock in the middle. While at the other end Walker was behind a shot from Robinson from distance.

Burke unleashed a fizzing left-footed effort from 25 yards out which Walked was down quickly to smother to his left.

As four additional minutes were signalled, Walker was behind another shot from distance, this time holding cleanly onto a drive from Barkhuizen. And Reading held on without too much pressure from the hosts in the dying stages, claiming three valuable points at Preston's expense.

Full-time: Preston 2-3 Reading

Preston North End: Rudd, Fisher (Harrop 56), Earl, Clarke (c), Davies, Robinson, Johnson, Gallagher (Nmecha 56), Huntington, Barkhuizen, Moult (Burke 80).
Subs: Maxwell, Storey, Hughes, Barker.
Goals: Johnson (32), Robinson (77)
Yellow: Earl

Reading: Walker, Gunter, Yiadom, Moore (c), Ilori, Bacuna, Kelly (Rinomhota 90), Méïté (Böðvarsson 75), Aluko (Sims 79), Swift, Baldock.
Subs: Jaakkola, McShane, O'Shea, McNulty.
Goals: Baldock (23), Ilori (52), Bacuna (81)
Yellow: Yiadom

Attendance: 10,849 (288 away)
Referee: Mr D Bond


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