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Match Reports

Match Report: PNE 2 Reading 1

10 April 2023

A Tom Cannon strike and a dramatic stoppage-time winner from Brad Potts earned Preston North End a 2-1 victory over Reading at Deepdale.

North End, who were the dominant side all afternoon, took a deserved lead in the 56th minute as Cannon fired home on the end of an Álvaro Fernández cross.

Against the run of play, the relegation-threatened visitors equalised thanks to Kelvin Ehibhatiomhan’s header, but Potts stepped up in the second minute of stoppage-time to earn three points and bring PNE level on points with the top six.

Ryan Lowe made two changes from the victory over Queens Park Rangers on Good Friday, with Robbie Brady and the injured Alan Browne being replaced by Fernández and Josh Onomah – the latter making his first PNE start.

It was North End asking all of the questions in the first half but without reward, with the first chance coming just five minutes in when Potts headed Andrew Hughes’ cross just wide after a clever dart towards the near post.

Potts then nearly had an assist to his name on 19 minutes when he poked the ball through to Cannon, who slammed a first-time effort an inch the wrong side of the post.

The in-form striker did the same just after the half-hour mark, this time being found by the influential Fernández, before cutting inside and hitting just off target.

It was all PNE but Reading did create a decent opening in the 33rd minute when Nesta Guinness-Walker used the height of Andy Carroll inside the area, but the striker could only head wide.

Normal service was resumed a minute later, though, as North End kept looking for their opener. Potts saw a powerful effort blocked behind for a corner and, from the resulting set piece, Andrew Hughes couldn’t believe Lucas João managed to get in front of his fierce right-footed strike from eight yards.

North End did find a breakthrough, though, on 56 minutes with a fantastic team move. Onomah – who was heavily involved all day – slotted the ball through for Fernández who in turn found Cannon in space inside the area, and he fired home for his seventh goal for the club.

There was a scare for PNE at the other end just three minutes later when the visitors found the back of the net, but Scott Dann’s effort was chalked off for offside.

Joe Lumley was soon called into action by a long-range Potts effort, before then producing a better stop to deny Cannon who showed a superb turn of pace and fired towards the near post, which the goalkeeper managed to tip wide.

Woodman himself had to come up with a similar save to keep out Jeff Hendrick, before he was beaten in the 83rd minute as a long throw was flicked into the back of the net by Ehibhatiomhan.

North End very nearly scored with just two minutes left on the clock as Potts fired a close-range effort at goal, which Lumley somehow kept out with a strong left hand.

Potts still had time to be the hero, though, as Hughes headed a deep free-kick back into the centre and there was the No.44 to head home and earn a late three points and cause bedlam in the home end.

PNE line-up: Woodman; Storey, Lindsay, Hughes; Potts, Whiteman, Onomah (Woodburn, 72), Johnson (C), Fernández; Cannon, Parrott (Brady, 89). Subs not used: Cornell, Bauer, Ledson, Diaby, Slater.

Reading line-up: Lumley; Sarr, Holmes (Azeez, 71), Dann; Yiadom, Loum (Fornah, 71), Hendrick, Casadei, Guiness-Walker; João, Carroll (Ehibhatiomhan, 71). Subs not used: Boyce-Clarke, Mbengue, Abrefa, Craig.

Attendance: 15,092 (436 Reading fans).

Referee: Mr J Busby.

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