Preston North End manager Alex Neil says a goalless draw with Reading was the right outcome after late penalty drama

Preston North End boss Alex Neil felt it would have harsh on his side had Reading capitalised on a late penalty given their way.

Sunday, 24th January 2021, 4:30 pm
Updated Sunday, 24th January 2021, 4:34 pm

The Championship clash ended in a goalless draw - the first 0-0 at Deepdale for nearly two years - but the Royals had a chance to win it in the 82nd minute when Joe Rafferty was adjudged to have fouled Lucas Joao in the box.

Rafferty only started the game as a last-minute replacement for Andrew Hughes who was being troubled by a shoulder injury suffered in the midweek win at Birmingham.

It was Joao who stepped-up to take the penalty and put it wide of Daniel Iversen's goal.

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Preston North End manager Alex Neil has a word with referee Geoff Eltringham and one of his assistants at the final whistle

Neil said: "We started the game extremely well for the first 15-20 minutes we were very bright.

"Reading probably looked more dangerous from set-plays and free-kicks but defensively I thought we looked really strong.

"The penalty I have seen back a couple of times and it looked a tough one.

"The initial contact looked to come from Joao but probably not enough to be a free-kick for us.

"But the more the move develops it looks more and more like a penalty.

"I'm not sure though as a defender how you get out of the way of the way of a 6ft 3in striker who has a grip of you.

"I can understand why he gave the penalty though, maybe we we have to be a bit smarter in those situations.

"I don't think Reading would have deserved to win had they scored the penalty, I would have been extremely frustrated had that been a decisive goal."

Neil admitted that from an attacking sense, North End had not been at their best.

Their two chances on target came in the first half through Scott Sinclair and Emil Riis.

"Going forward we lacked a little bit of cutting edge," said Neil.

"We put bodies forward - there was an attack in the second half when we had both full-backs pushed up on the touchline and they caught us two v two on the break.

"So it wasn't as if we didn't commit people forward.

"What we didn't have was enough guile to damage them.

"Or best opportunities came when we got crosses in and we didn't get down the sides of them enough.

"There was the one when Brad Potts put a shot over the bar from a cross, then the one when the keeper saved from Emil Riis."

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