Unlucky Royals Go Down At Preston

Last updated : 27 October 2002 By Rob Cooper

Alan Pardew's battling side certainly felt that they should have come away with some reward for a courageous performance.

But it proved to be just one of those days in front of goal as Nicky Forster, Andy Hughes, Matthew Upson and Anthony Rougier amongst others missed golden chances.

The home side were under a lot of pressure from the Royals early on but somehow weathered the storm.

Andy Hughes, returning to the side after a back injury, almost opened the scoring in the third minute when his fifteen-yard drive zipped wide of the post.

Nicky Forster went as close as Reading would come all afternoon not long afterwards, after bursting through the Lilywhites defence his stupendous drive that had David Lucas totally beaten pinged off the underside of the bar and away.

Former Manchester United trainee David Healy was causing the visitors defence some trouble at the other end, but he narrowly failed to find the target with two chances, a header and a shot.

The Royals continued to dominate the game but against the run of play Richard Cresswell opened the scoring for Craig Brown's side, nodding American international Eddie Lewis' cross past Marcus Hahnemann.

Following the goal the home side went into the ascendancy, playing some of their best football of the afternoon and dominating the game for the first time.

Alan Pardew had his goalkeeper to thank as he prevented his side from going two goals down. Hahnemann kept out Eddie Lewis' blistering twenty-five yard effort with a full-length diving stop.

But Reading didn't give up the chase and were disappointed to see Anthony Rougier and Matthew Upson agonisingly close to getting contact on the ball with the goal at their mercy.

The home side dealt with the Royals attacking threat much better in the second half, limiting them to very few chances.

However, Ricky Newman could have levelled things in the early in the second period but his miskicked shot found it's way into the arms of Lucas.

In an attempt to restore some parity Alan Pardew threw on James Harper and Jamie Cureton and switched his formation to a more attack-minded 3-5-2 line-up.

Preston dealt with the Royals attack valiantly and did well to repel all that was thrown at them. Jamie Cureton shot a late free kick wide, typical of Reading's misfiring afternoon.

Pardew will hope his side can get back to winning ways on Tuesday when they play host to Bradford City.