Preston 1-0 Reading: Joe Garner goal enough for home side
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 12/12/15 6:25pm
Joe Garner's third goal of the season was enough to seal a 1-0 win for Preston at Deepdale against managerless Reading.
The Lilywhites forward's second-half penalty was all that separated the sides and means Preston have lost only once in their last 10 games.
Royals' interim boss Martin Kuhl brought in Jonathan Bond, Paul McShane, and Hal Robson-Kanu, while Simon Grayson kept faith with the same 11 that beat Burnley last weekend.
Reading midfielder Oliver Norwood had the game's first chance when he drifted centrally and fired a long-range fifth-minute curling effort towards goal but Jordan Pickford was untroubled.
Adam Reach should have given Preston an eighth-minute lead after controlling a long ball forward but fired a thundering effort against the post from just outside the box.
As the lively start continued, Gareth McCleary slipped in Matej Vydra but Pickford was quick off his line to collect the 21st minute loose ball with the Czech international sniffing.
Moments later after a neat turn by Will Keane, Daniel Johnson fired from the edge of the box which ricocheted through a crowd and trickled agonizingly wide.
The pacy McCleary once again showed his prowess on the wing by delivering a dangerous 25th-minute cross for Vydra which Pickford calmly collected.
From Johnson's 28th-minute right-wing free-kick, the ball found its way to Paul Gallagher but his effort flew high into the stands.
Just after the half-hour, Reading hot shot Nick Blackman saw his free-kick deflected wide from distance, while Gallagher's effort 10 minutes later curled around the Royals wall but straight into Jonathan Bond's arms.
Shortly after the break, Bond showed brilliant lightning reactions to deny Reach twice in quick succession with low saves to preserve the deadlock.
Garner won a 52nd-minute penalty when he darted into the box from the left and was bundled over clumsily by McShane, and the Preston frontman picked himself up to confidently slot home.
Eager to add to his tally, the confident Garner floated along the edge of the area to unleash a 65th-minute shot which sailed over.
Blackman should have levelled moments later after latching onto Williams' weighted pass to go one-on-one but the forward fired over with the goal gaping.
Garner was inches away from adding his second after latching onto Gallagher's sublime 71st-minute free-kick but watched his header sail wide.
As the Royals looked for an equaliser, Vydra's 74th-minute attempt from the edge of the area was pushed behind by Pickford.
Lilywhites defender Marnick Vermijl darted into box to thunder a 77th-minute effort across the face of goal as Preston sought to double their advantage, but Garner's earlier strike proved to be enough.