Promotion-chasing pair Reading and Bournemouth meet in Friday night’s live Championship action.
“A chunky 8/12 (67%) of outings at their Berkshire base have seen Over 2.5 Goals backers collect and a repeat is trading at 2.14”
Lucas Joao missed a late penalty as Reading were held to a frustrating goalless draw at Preston in Sunday afternoon’s Championship contest. The Royals’ top scorer swept his spot-kick inches wide of the left-hand post after he had been brought down by Joe Rafferty, the golden opportunity in a match that featured few clear-cut chances at Deepdale.
Preston had the best opportunity in a hard-fought first half but Reading goalkeeper Rafael Cabral was down quickly to block. Ovie Ejaria forced the hosts’ stopper to turn his close-range strike around the post as Veljko Paunovic’s charges improved after the break without finding a way through as they extended their unbeaten streak to five matches, to stay fifth.
Speaking post-match, Paunovic said: “We’re disappointed and frustrated but I always use these disappointments to channel it into the next game and next opponent in a positive way. The team played very well in the second half.” Michael Olise could return to the starting XI here, while Yakou Meite and Andy Yiadom are back in the squad after injury.
Bournemouth progressed to the FA Cup fifth round in midweek as goals from Joshua King and Jack Wilshere secured a 2-1 success at home to League Two outfit Crawley. Wilshere, starting for the first time in his second spell with the Cherries, curled in the opener from 20 yards as Jason Tindall’s team dominated proceedings from the off at Dean Court.
Crawley were briefly level but King’s placed effort was enough to see the hosts through. Whilst the margin of victory may have been narrow, Bournemouth were far superior to their opponents from the first whistle, monopolising possession with the quality of Wilshere, Arnaut Danjuma and King leading to 29 efforts at goal, 10 of which were on-target.
Without a Championship contest last week, Tindall named a strong starting XI and was pleased with his team’s performance, only rueing the side’s lack of a killer instinct on the night, saying: “I felt we thoroughly deserved the result and created a number of really good opportunities. It was disappointing that we didn’t take more of the chances.”
Reading have proven to be one of the more watchable sides in the second-tier. The Royals fired only a fifth blank in 25 matches under Veljko Paunovic’s charge on Sunday, recording just five shutouts in their last 18 league dates. A chunky 8/12 (67%) of outings at their Berkshire base have seen Over 2.5 Goals backers collect and a repeat is trading at 2.14
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