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First Team News

A Match To Remember: Reading

22 January 2021

Tom Barkhuizen scored twice to help North End keep alive their Championship Play-Off hopes by beating Reading in our game we look back to from 2017.

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That afternoon Barkhuizen gave the Lilywhites the lead when he curled in from the edge of the box after good work by Daryl Horgan in what proved to be the winner of the EFL’s goal of the month award.

Irish winger Horgan then doubled the advantage, slotting in at the second attempt after his first shot had been saved.

Barkhuizen volleyed in the hosts' third after the break from Horgan's free-kick, as PNE moved within six points of the play-off places.

Reading stayed fifth in the table, but were then only four points above seventh-placed Fulham following the Cottagers' 3-1 win at leaders Newcastle.

The Royals had a penalty appeal turned down early on when John Swift went down in the box, and they were denied the opening goal when Chris Maxwell produced a fine save to keep out Garath McCleary's long-range effort.

North End controlled the game from then on, with Barkhuizen having scored four goals in three starts for Simon Grayson's side since arriving from Morecambe in January 2017.

The Lilywhites had then won four straight league games at Deepdale, while Reading had lost three successive away games for the first time under manager Jaap Stam.

Preston North End boss Simon Grayson said afterwards: "I'm obviously delighted when you beat somebody who are in the Play-Off positions 3-0, keep a clean sheet, with very good individual performances and could have had a lot more goals if we'd taken our chances.

"It's enhanced our opportunity of trying to catch the teams above us. We've always said over the last few weeks, we'll just see where it takes us. We've got nine games to go, I think if we win the next nine then we might have a chance but we've got some tough games from now until the end of the season."

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"Wherever we finish, we'll have had a great season because they're an honest bunch of players and we'll keep fighting till the end and see where it takes us."

Reading boss Jaap Stam added: "Everybody knows where we are, if you want to stay there, you need to defend and play in a certain way with a certain aggression and it's not only now towards the end of the season, it's the whole season because this is a tough league.

"It's very difficult to stay in the top six. All the teams, they want to stay up there, they want to do well, we do as well. I'm not interested in other teams, I'm focusing on our team, what we need to do and what we need to improve.

"If we keep on winning then we still can end up there and we need to be aware of that as well."

PNE line-up: Maxwell, Clarke, Boyle, Huntington, Cunningham, Horgan (Browne, 62), Johnson, Pearson, McGeady, Barkhuizen (Robinson, 76), Hugill (Beckford, 88). Subs not used: Lindegaard,
Makienok, Spurr, May.

Reading line-up: Al Habsi, Gunter, McShane (Oxford, 73), Blackett, Obita, Swift, van den Berg, Mutch (Williams, 33), Grabban (Beerens, 77), Kermorgant, McCleary. Subs not used: Evans, Meite, Popa, Jaakkola.

Referee: Mr Scott Duncan

Attendance: 10,787

iFollow PNE cannot broadcast the live video of the game this weekend – except for season ticket holders – due to the Sky Sports coverage, but you can still listen to radio commentary, available for £2.50, with Jonathan Breeze and Paul McKenna on air from noon on Sunday. Click here now to sign up for an audio match pass.


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