Preston North End moved up to fifth in the Championship as they beat Reading to claim their third straight league win.
After a first half of chances at both ends, Preston took the lead thanks to Ched Evans’ superb header from Robbie Brady’s swinging ball into the box.
Reading leveled with 20 minutes remaining when Lucas Joao made no mistake from the spot after Brady brought down Andy Yiadom.
Evans struck the winner after collecting the ball just outside the box before firing low past Reading goalkeeper Joe Lumley.
The result moves Preston up three places into the Championship’s top six, continuing their winning run, while Reading remain in 11th place after a fifth defeat in seven games.
Preston came into the game on the back of a poor defensive run on their travels, conceding eight goals in their last four Championship away games, but they kept Reading out in a dismal opening 45 minutes.
Neither side offered much before the break and seemed to cancel each other out, with Brady forcing a good save from Lumley just before half-time as Preston registered the first meaningful shot on target.
Brady was involved as Preston broke the deadlock early in the second half when he curled in a ball from the right which Evans did well to glance into the bottom left corner.
Preston’s lead lasted just 20 minutes when Joao fired his penalty past Preston goalkeeper Freddie Woodman, but there was drama as the game wound down.
Evans, who had scored his first goal in 35 appearances earlier, scored his second of the night after some great work down the right from Ben Woodburn, who laid the ball away for Evans to hit his decisive low shot.
Reading boss Paul Ince told BBC Radio Berkshire:
“[We were] lethargic, cranky, tired. There wasn’t much between the two teams, it was a boring game, boring to be honest. At half time it was 0-0 and I thought a goal would win it.
“I told the players ‘it’s our last game at home for four weeks, we’re losing balls non-stop in the middle of the park with sloppy passing’, our decision-making was terrible. That wasn’t the team we saw on Tuesday.
“Are they tired? Of course they’re tired, they’ve had three games in six days and it’s the same players being asked to do it. Is that an excuse? Yes, it could be.”
Preston North End manager Ryan Lowe told BBC Radio Lancashire:
“It was fantastic. I think the lads were fantastic in everything they did. The first half I thought we gave the ball away but we picked it up at half-time and the lads were on the same page and knew they were going to have to keep the ball better.
“I’m delighted for Ched Evans, it’s been a while but two have come. I thought his performance on Tuesday and today was fantastic.
“He’s a solid professional and I’m happy he’s getting those goals. As a former striker, when you haven’t scored for a while it’s a burden on you.”
- 22LoomBooked in 56 minSubstituted forFornahon 59′minutes
- 12BabaSubstituted forGuinness-Walkeron 81′minutes
- 11MeiteSubstituted forLongon 59′minutes
- 2CarrollSubstituted forLucas Joãoon 59′minutes
- 9Lucas João
- 1Forestry worker
- 44PottsBooked in 90 minutes
- 18Led sonBooked in 77 min
- 8BrowneSubstituted forMcCannon 81′minutes
- 11BradyBooked in 23 min
- 10JohnsonSubstituted forWood burningon 64′minutes
- 9EvansBooked in 80 min
- 19RiceSubstituted forMaguireon 74′minutes
- 20Wood burning
- David Webb
Match ends, Reading 1, Preston North End 2.
Second half ends, Reading 1, Preston North End 2.
Attempt missed. Sean Maguire (Preston North End) right footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Ben Woodburn with a headed pass.
Brad Potts (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Brad Potts (Preston North End).
Lucas João (Reading) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Attempt missed. Jeff Hendrick (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.
Attempt blocked. Thomas Holmes (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Tyrese Fornah.
Attempt saved. Tyrese Fornah (Reading) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the center of the goal. Assisted by Junior Hoilett.
Ched Evans (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Ugly by Tom McIntyre (Reading).
Attempt missed. Tom Ince (Reading) left footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Lucas João.
Sean Maguire (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Ugly by Thomas Holmes (Reading).
Ched Evans (Preston North End) wins a free kick in their own half.
Foul by Tyrese Fornah (Reading).
Change, Preston North End. Alistair McCann replaces Alan Browne.
Substitution, reading. Nesta Guinness-Walker replaces Abdul-Rahman Baba.
Ched Evans (Preston North End) is shown the yellow card for excessive celebration.
Goal! Reading 1, Preston North End 2. Ched Evans (Preston North End) right footed shot from the right side of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Ben Woodburn.
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