Preston frustrate Reading
Lonergan keeps promotion chasers at bay
Last Updated: 07/02/09 5:22pm
Lonergan: Kept Reading at bay
Reading's poor run of form in front of goal continued after a frustrating 0-0 draw at home to Preston North End.
Steve Coppell's promotion chasers have now scored just once in four games and that was an own goal by Wolves defender Neill Collins.
And, with leaders Wolves losing at Coventry, Reading failed to capitalise as Preston keeper Andy Lonergan kept the hosts at bay.
Coppell's side were also held to a goalless draw at QPR last weekend but started strongly and were only denied an early opening goal by a fantastic double save from Lonergan.
Preston defender Sean St Ledger made a mess of a header and winger Jimmy Kebe was lurking to stab the ball clear.
He advanced into the area to crack in a shot at the near post but it was tipped around by the diving Lonergan.
Stephen Hunt took the corner and picked out Kalifa Cisse at the far post but his powerful header was again well held by Lonergan.
Preston captain Paul McKenna then had the first sight of goal for the visitors but his 25-yard drive was well blocked by the charging centre-back Michael Duberry.
That was a rare attack for Alan Irvine's side though and moments later the Royals again should have scored.
Kevin Doyle clipped a first-time ball over the top and Leroy Lita smashed in a half-volley but again Lonergan did brilliantly to parry the ball away.
North End posed a threat on the break and midfielder Barry Nicholson wasted a decent chance when he failed to keep a header down after good work down the left from full-back Eddie Nolan.
The hosts wanted a penalty as the half came to an end when Youl Mawene appeared to clear Kebe's cross-shot off the line with his hand but nothing was given by referee Mike Jones.
Lita and Doyle both blasted early strikes over the crossbar as Reading turned up the pressure at the beginning of the second period.
Lita - keeping his place in the starting line-up despite the return to fitness of Noel Hunt - then saw a header from a Stephen Hunt free-kick collected by Lonergan as the Royals continued to toil in search of a goal.
Noel Hunt, Shane Long and Czech Republic midfielder Marek Matejovsky were all summoned from the bench to try to create the breakthrough for Reading but it was North End's barrel-chested forward Jon Parkin who had the best chance to win it.
Substitute Chris Brown burst into the area on the left and cut the ball back for Parkin but the former Stoke man lost his composure to blast a left-footed shot high and wide.
Sky Bet Championship
Sat 7th Feb
Sheff Utd1 - 2Sheff Wed
Birmingham1 - 1Burnley
Norwich1 - 2Bristol C
Swansea3 - 0Ipswich
Blackpool2 - 3Doncaster
Plymouth0 - 3Derby
N Forest2 - 2QPR
Reading0 - 0Preston
Coventry2 - 1Wolves
Sky Bet Championship
|4||Queens Park Rangers||34||60|
|7||Brighton and Hove Albion||34||53|