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PNE manager Alex Neil frustrated by defeat at Reading

Preston North End boss Alex Neil had to again speak about missed opportunities as his side slipped to defeat against Reading.

An early goal condemned them to a 1-0 loss at the Madejski Stadium, with Neil left to rue a blank scoring column despite having 17 shots and the greater share of possession.

PNE boss Alex Neil at Reading

PNE boss Alex Neil at Reading

It had many of the hallmarks of the previous two defeats to Sheffield Wednesday and Derby.

North End slipped to 11th place as a result of events in Berkshire, with them now trailing the play-off places by six points with five games left.

Neil said: "We didn't do enough today, we conceded that first goal which was crucial.

"From that point onwards - certainly in the second half - we completely controlled the game and created enough opportunities to get back in it and even win.

Greg Cunningham at the final whistle

Greg Cunningham at the final whistle

"That is the most frustrating thing for us that we couldn't find a solution to break them down."

Neil had started with Sean Maguire on the bench, admitting that the striker had looked jaded in the two games since the international break.

Louis Moult played up front and hit the post with a first-half free-kick, Maguire replacing him at half-time and himself striking the woodwork with a header.

Neil said:"Sean had looked tired, he's played a lot of football after coming back from a bad injury.

PNE players take part in a minute's applause at Reading in memory of Ray Wilkins

PNE players take part in a minute's applause at Reading in memory of Ray Wilkins

"He also played two thirds of a season before he joined us, so he's just been a bit fatigued - we ask a lot of him playing in that position.

"So we gave Louis an opportunity to start.

"What I will say is that I didn't think the whole team performed particularly well in the first half, I didn't think Reading were much better to be honest.

"We hit the post and had a great chance with a header which Alan Browne misses.

"Reading had the goal and one chance which Declan Rudd palms round the post.

"We can play better than that and I made a couple of changes to try and address some issues.

"I thought we improved a lot in the second half but for all our opportunities and possession we didn't score.

"Goals change matches and we haven't scored enough goals lately."