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Preston North End 0-0 Reading: Joao’s missed penalty costs Royals chance to go third

QPR v Reading

Lucas Joao missed the target with a penalty in the 82nd minute as Reading wasted the chance to go up to third in the Championship table with a goalless draw away at Preston North End.

The visitors created the better of the chances with a flurry of opportunities early in the second half but were unable to break the deadlock.

The Royals were handed the chance to take the points when Joao won a penalty late on, but he missed the bottom corner and hit his shot wide.

Reading stay in fifth position in the table after they recorded their 11th clean sheet of the campaign.

The Royals were hoping for revenge after they suffered a shock 3-0 home defeat to Preston earlier in the season.

Sone Aluko came into the starting eleven to replace Michael Olise, who was named among the substitutes after he was subbed off with a shoulder injury in the 3-0 win last Tuesday against Coventry City.

The hosts got out of the traps quickly and had a shot at goal inside the first minute as Scott Sinclair latched onto Riis’ knockdown and forced the first corner of the game as Rafael parried his shot behind.

Preston continued to dominate the ball in the opening 10 minutes, but without testing the Royals’ defence too often.

after a slow start, Reading began to grow into the game and started to stamp their influence of the game and threatened from a few set-pieces with the delivery of John Swift.

Having scored a spectacular free-kick against Coventry, Swift tried his luck from a similar distance, but Iversen pushed the shot away from goal.

Brad Potts had the next chance of the match as he swiveled in the box to work space for a shot from a tight angle but fired his effort high over the bar.

Swift showed his threat again from another free-kick which he connected with superbly but hit the side netting as his effort whistled just the wrong side of the post.

Another Swift set-piece, this time from the right-wing, was met by Paul Huntington who got his head on the ball to take it away from Lucas Joao who was lurking in the box and ready to pounce had the defender not got a touch.

Another dangerous free-kick position came the way of Reading after Ovie Ejaria’s quick feet were too much for the Preston defence to handle.

But having set his sights, Swift surprisingly left this effort to Aluko, who ballooned a shot high over the target.

Both sides traded chances at the end of the half but to no avail, as Iversen saved Josh Laurent’s long-range strike before Rafael kept out Emil Riis’ shot from point-blank range, before Tom McIntyre managed to clear after a goalmouth scramble as the half ended goalless.

Lucas Joao used his strong build to shrug off a defender and race at the Preston defence, before laying the ball off for Ovie Ejaria who tried to find a gap at the near post but was kept out by Iversen.

The Royals worked a familiar corner routine which saw McIntyre score against Luton Town, but this time his effort sailed onto the top of the net after he connected with Aluko’s outswinger.

An early spell of chances in the second-half saw Reading press for the breakthrough as Aluko tried his luck from the outside the box on his weaker right foot, but hit a testing effort as Iversen got fingertips to tip it over the crossbar.

Veljko Paunović made his first switch in the 77th minute as Alfa Semedo came on in place of Aluko.

Having had the better of the second half, Reading were given the chance to take the points as they were awarded a penalty in the 82nd minute.

Lucas Joao was pulled down by Rafferty as he looked to connect at the back post from Swift’s cross, and after the referee had waved play on, he changed his decision after the linesman notified the ref that there had been a foul.

Joao stepped up to the spot but fired his spot-kick wide of the mark as a huge chance to boost Reading up the table were wasted.

The game ended without a goal as Reading were left frustrated having missed a big chance to take the points late in the game.

Reading are in front of the Sky Sports cameras once again, when they host Bournemouth at the Madejski Stadium on Friday evening (8pm kick-off).

Preston: Iversen, Davies, Browne (c), Hughes, Whiteman, Ledson, Riis, Molumby, Huntington, Sinclair, Potts
Subs: Ripley, Fisher, Rafferty, Johnson, Gallagher, Bayliss, O’Reilly, Barkhuizen, Evans 

Reading: Rafael, Holmes, McIntyre, Morrison (c), Richards, Rinomhota, Laurent, Swift, Ejaria, Aluko, Joao
Subs: Southwood, Esteves, Gibson, Semedo, Tetek, Onen, Olise, Camara, Baldock

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