By Karan Gadhia – Sports Editor
PNE started their Championship season on the wrong foot as they lost 1-0 to Reading FC at the Madjeski Stadium.
John Swift’s goal in the first half was enough for the hosts to secure all three points despite North End improving after the break.
Emotions were running high this afternoon as it was the first home game for the hosts since Academy Manager Eamonn Dolan passed away.
Simon Grayson initially set his side up in a 3-5-2 formation but the system wasn’t working very well with the team under a lot of pressure at the start.
In their first real attack of the game, PNE had the ball in the back of the net through Jermaine Beckford but the goal was disallowed because Joe Garner was adjudged to have handled the ball in the build-up.
But ten minutes before half-time the Royals took the lead when Garath McCleary crossed in a corner low into the box that Swift fired past Anders Lindegaard.
Grayson made a change of personnel and changed his system to a 4-4-2 which worked better than the first half.
North End had more chances and two penalty claims denied early in the first half.
Daniel Johnson intercepted a lazy pass in the Reading half and shot low only to be denied by a great save by Ali Al Habsi.
At the other end Deniss Rakels doubled the lead for the hosts but was denied by Lindegaard at full stretch.
North End’s best chance of the game came through Paul Gallagher who latched onto a rebound but his effort was saved by Al Habsi who recovered well.
Despite throwing everything at Reading in the final minutes they could not find an equaliser.
Next up for PNE is the visit of Hartlepool United at Deepdale in the EFL Cup on Tuesday.