Reading brought their home Championship campaign to an end with one of their worst displays to date, as Preston somehow needed a last minute goal to win a game in which they should have been out of sight. Stephen Quinn's late rocket looked to have salvaged a draw for Brian McDermottt's side before Dan Johnson's effort gave Preston a fully deserved win.
Team wise, Chris Gunter, Paul McShane and Danny Williams all earned recalls while there were no loanees in the starting lineup for the first time in 2016.
So another different lineup but the first half was another sorry affair as Preston dominated. The visitors could and should have been two or three up, with Jermaine Beckford wasting a glorious chance when put clean through after a Jake Cooper slip. Fortunately for the Reading defender he was bailed out by newly crowned Player of the Season Ali Al-Habsi but McDermott's side were looking a distant second best and Preston should have been well clear at half-time.
Josh Barrett came on for George Evans at the break and initially Reading looked as if they might actually threaten to score, only for hope to be quickly dashed by Jermaine Beckford's opener for Preston. The former Everton striker took advantage of Cooper and Al-Habsi both standing still watching a slow bouncing ball to nip in and tuck past the Royals' keeper.
Reading barely mustered much of a response, although Barrett did look lovely and had a shot just wide but sadly there was an inflatable shark in the East Stand who had more teeth than our front line. Preston were denied at the other end repeatedly by Al-Habsi who was the only Reading player keeping things respectable.
Yet somehow out of nowhere Reading seemed to have snatched a point after Stephen Quinn slammed home from outside the box.
But Preston duly went on to earn three points they fully deserved as Dan Johnson rifled home in the final minute to send the travelling home fans happy and all but a handful of Reading fans heading for the exits well before the lap of appreciation.
1-2 it finished and if tthere's any positive to take from today's game it's that our owners can be under no illusions about the amount of work that needs doing to the squad this summer. We'll have a full report and ratings up a little later and then it's on to Blackburn to bring this wretched season to a close.
Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter, Cooper, McShane, McCleary, Norwood, Evans (Barrett), Quinn, Williams, Rakels, Kermorgant