Lucas Joao brace gives Reading survival hopes a boost in Preston win

Stoke City v Reading – Sky Bet Championship – bet365 Stadium
(Image credit: Barrington Coombs)

Lucas Joao bagged a brace as Reading bolstered their survival hopes with a 3-2 win at Preston.

The Portuguese striker netted twice inside the first 20 minutes before John Swift put the Royals in total control.

But the visitors switched off following their third and allowed Daniel Johnson to pull a goal back two minutes later.

Cameron Archer scrambled home with 16 minutes to go to set up a tense finish, but a beleaguered Reading side were able to stand firm as they claimed their first win in 13 matches.

Joao had got the visitors off to a flyer when he slotted home at the second attempt after his first effort had been saved by Daniel Iversen.

Emil Riis Jakobsen had a shot blocked from Ben Whiteman’s corner as Preston looked for a quick response.

Patrick Bauer headed behind for a corner as Joao prepared to connect with Swift’s cross, but he got on the end of another Swift pass minutes later to double the Royals’ advantage with a brilliant finish into the roof of the net.

Michael Morrison and Thomas Holmes combined well to keep out Scott Sinclair on the half-hour mark.

Brad Potts was replaced by Liam Lindsay on 35 minutes, before Iversen made a good reaction save to keep out Joao’s volley.

Riis Jakobsen blazed over just before the break after good pressing by Sinclair won the ball back from Holmes.

Whiteman made way for Ryan Ledson at half-time as Ryan Lowe looked to turn the game around, but Iversen was forced to turn Swift’s free-kick away for a corner as the visitors continued to set the pace.

Andrew Hughes cleared a Morrison effort off the line a minute later after Swift caused more bother with a good cross.

Swift then extended Reading’s lead on 55 minutes after he curled home to finish a fine team move.

But they switched off two minutes later when Johnson scored from the edge of the box with the help of a deflection.

Swift went close with an in-swinging free-kick on 71 minutes as Reading began to enjoy themselves.

However, Archer got Preston back into it after he got the finishing touch following a goalmouth scramble.

Sinclair shot just over on 79 minutes after Alan Browne played him in, before Ched Evans headed wide from a Sepp Van Den Berg cross.

Sinclair then headed narrowly wide as another Van Den Berg caused trouble on the stroke of full-time.

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