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It's Preston
It's Preston
Tuesday, 13th Jan 2004 00:00

Preston Confirmed As Swans Opponents

Swans To Face Preston in The Cup

The Swans tonight found out their opponents for the 4th round of the FA Cup when Preston won their third round replay at the Madjeski Stadium.

After a pulsating 3-3 draw 10 days ago at Preston, the home side would have fancied their chances but it was Preston who advanced to a fourth round date at the Vetch on January 24.

Elsewhere in the FA Cup - Kidderminster were unable to build on their impressive draw with Premiership Wolves losing 2-0 at Molinueax in the replay. However, there are jubilations for Northampton Town who will now face Premiership champions Manchester United in the 4th round after overcoming 1st division Rotherham away 2-1 in their replay. There was also a win for third division Scunthorpe - 2-0 against Barnsley. But the fairytale has ended for Accrington Stanley when they were beaten 2-1 by Colchester in their replay.

The following is a report from the Preston official web-site

Reading 1 PNE 2

Manager Craig Brown's squad is down to the bare bones with just 16 fit players and some major players missing from side including top scorer Ricardo Fuller and skipper Chris Lucketti.Ricardo Fuller suffered a blow to his knee in Saturday's win over West Ham and is unfit, meaning a first start for ten months for George Koumantarakis alongisde Richard Cresswell, David Healy continuing behind them.At the back North End are really suffering. Claude Davis is ruled out after suffering a ligament injury at the weekend and skipper Chris Lucketti is also out after his broken toe ballooned up after the win over the Hammers.Tyrone Mears is the only one of the back three from Saturday still available and with Michael Jackson (suspension) and Marlon Broomes (hamstring) also out Brian O'Neil has to drop back from midfield. He will play alongside Rob Edwards who is forced straight back into the first team after two days of training due to the crisis. Graham Alexander, Dickson Etuhu, Paul McKenna and Michael Keane make up the midfield four.On the bench, Alan McCormack comes into the 16 for the first time this season alongside Pawel Abbott, Eric Skora and Lee Cartwright, as well as substitute keeper Andrew Lonergan.Reading had two worries ahead of the game with Nicky Forster and Steve Sidwell both doubtful. Sidwell makes the bench after recovering from a chest virus but still no place for Forster who has been troubled with a stomach strain.

A fairly tame opening ten minutes with both sides feeling each other out. Murray broke clear after three minutes on the right but was well tackled by Rob Edwards and at the other end good strong work from George Koumantarakis enabled Graham Alexander a site at goal but his shot was well blocked.15 minutes in and Jonathan Gould was stood helpless as Ricky Newman let fly with a right footed effort that sailed just inches wide of the post.Then on 20 minutes an even better chance for the Royals as Gould came for a high 'gary own' cross and failed to get anything on the ball. The ball fell kindly for James Harper on the right of the area but the Reading midfielder volleyed well wide of the post.North End hit back on 22 minutes when Graham Alexander warmed the keeper's hands with a stunning left-footed effort from 25 yards. It fell to the Scotsman on the edge of the edge of the box after Healy had chested down McKenna's cross.Goal!!! Richard Cresswell scores (28)!!! His first strike in 18 games and what a peach of a goal! It came as Murty gave a poor ball across the park and Dickson Etuhu pounced to set off towards goal. The big midfielder layed the ball onto Koumantarakis in the box and the big South African turned the ball onto his left foot and hit a shot that was deflected into the path of Cresswell. The former Sheffield United still had plenty to do but cut in and hit a curling shot from a tight angle that found the top corner!On 36 minutes North End almost grabbed a second. Koumantarakis won a ball on the edge of the box and it bounced towards Healy and as he and the keeper went for the ball the Irishman lifted the ball over Hahnemann's head. Unfortunately the ball landed on top of the net.Just before the break North End had the Royals troubled from two quick corners. Firstly Hahnemann came and missed a Healy corner that was whipped inswinging. Then the second corner only seconds later saw the ball fall to Healy and he chipped across goal but the ball was just too high for Big George to connect with.

Goal!!! With North End's first chance of the second period they score and in comical circumstances (47). It was a long and hopeful ball into the box by Michael Keane from the left and Hahnemann looked to have it covered as he stood under the ball but the ball slipped out of his hands and Koumantarakis was there with the easiest of tap-ins.
The Royals almost hit back five minutes later when Morgan found space in the area and hit a shot that looked destined to creep under the bar before Gould got the faintest of touches and flicked it onto the bar.North End refused to sit back on their lead on on 57 minutes Cresswell could have added to his effort when the Reading defenders left the ball to each other Cressy hesitated with Hahnemann off his line when a lob looked a good option and as the defenders came across he unleashed a shot that was well blocked for a corner.Steve Coppell introduced Steve Sidwell into the action minutes later and the former Arsenal youngster had two great chances to reduce the deficit both almost identical. He picked the ball up on the edge of the box on the left and hit the ball with his right foot but twice the ball spun off his foot and ended up threatening the corner flag.On 65 minutes Michael Keane found himself clean through and in on goal after receiving the ball on the half-way line as Reading piled forwards. The Irishman took the ball to the edge of the box and as Hahnemann came out to block he clipped the ball across goal towards Cresswell but Ingimarsson was there in the nick of time to slice the ball over the bar.Richard Cresswell couldn't believe his luck on 75 minutes. David Healy had done brilliantly to earn a corner on the right and it was his delivery right into the mixer that saw Cressy rise the highest and power a header that had Hahnemann beaten but slammed against the post.With 10 minutes left on the clock Reading should have perhaps had a goal back. It came after Murray had delivered the perfect cross into the box and Goater was there unmarked right in front of goal. But amazingly the Bermudan headed wide.Goal!!!Goater pulled one back with only six minutes left on the clock. It came after a lucky deflection sent the Bermudan clean through on the right and after his first blasted shot was parried by Gould he followed up and chipped the ball over the keeper and into the net despite the efforts of Keane who tried a last gasp diving header.PNE line-up: Gould, Mears, O'Neil, Edwards; McKenna, Etuhu, Keane, Alexander; Healy; Cresswell, Koumantarakis. Subs: Lonergan, Cartwright, Abbott, Skora, McCormack.Reading line-up: Hahnemann, Murty, Shorey, Williams, Ingimarsson, Murray, Newman, Hughes, Harper, Goater, Morgan. Subs: Young, Watson, Sidwell, Salako, Savage.

Roll on the 24th?

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