Preston North End moved up to fifth in the Championship as they beat Reading to clinch their third consecutive league win.
After a first half short of chances at either end, Preston took the lead courtesy of Ched Evans’ superb header from Robbie Brady’s swinging ball into the box.
Reading levelled with 20 minutes remaining as Lucas Joao made no mistake from the spot after Brady brought down Andy Yiadom.
Evans struck the winner having collected the ball just outside the box before he fired low past Reading keeper Joe Lumley.
The result moves Preston up three places and into the Championship’s top six, continuing their winning run, while Reading remain 11th following a fifth defeat in seven games.
Preston came into the match off the back of a poor defensive run on their travels, conceding eight goals in their past four away Championship games, but they kept Reading out in a drab first 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 goal.
Brady was involved as Preston broke the deadlock early in the second half as he curled a ball in from the right which Evans did well to glance into the bottom left-hand corner.
Preston’s lead lasted just 20 minutes as Joao fired his penalty past Preston goalkeeper Freddie Woodman but there was drama to come as the game wound down.
Evans, who had scored his first goal in 35 appearances earlier on, bagged his second of the evening following some superb work down the right wing from Ben Woodburn, who laid the ball off for Evans to hit his decisive low shot.
- 22LoumBooked at 56minsSubstituted forFornahat 59′minutes
- 12BabaSubstituted forGuinness-Walkerat 81′minutes
- 11MeiteSubstituted forLongat 59′minutes
- 2CarrollSubstituted forLucas Joãoat 59′minutes
- 9Lucas João
- 44PottsBooked at 90mins
- 18LedsonBooked at 77mins
- 8BrowneSubstituted forMcCannat 81′minutes
- 11BradyBooked at 23mins
- 10JohnsonSubstituted forWoodburnat 64′minutes
- 9EvansBooked at 80mins
- 19RiisSubstituted forMaguireat 74′minutes
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 centre of the goal. Assisted by Junior Hoilett.
Ched Evans (Preston North End) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul 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.
Foul by Thomas Holmes (Reading).
Ched Evans (Preston North End) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tyrese Fornah (Reading).
Substitution, 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.